Boonstra captures title at regions

Kenai Central junior Jayna Boonstra led a bunch of state-qualifying performances from the Kenai Peninsula by winning the Division II girls race at the Region 3 meet in blustery Kodiak on Saturday.

In the Division I meet, the Soldotna girls qualified for the state meet Saturday at Bartlett in Anchorage by taking third.

In the Division II girls race, Homer took second and the Kardinals took third as both qualified their full teams for state. Seward’s Hailey Ingalls also qualified by taking ninth in the 5K race.

In the Division II boys race, Kenai was third and Homer was fourth as both qualified full teams to state.

Kenai coach Todd Boonstra and Soldotna coach Krista Arthur said the weather was tough in Kodiak, with increasing snow in the air throughout the day and gusts that got up to 30 mph.

“I told the team going in we’re not worried about times,” Boonstra said. “It’s every place that counts. They did a super job of finishing ahead of runners near them and we qualified both teams.”

Jayna Boonstra, the defending Division II state champion, won at 20 minutes, 49 seconds, while Grace’s Megan Nelson was at 20:50 and Grace’s Kai Waythomas was at 21:07.

Todd Boonstra said the three ran a tactical race, with Nelson surging with 800 meters to go. That left Waythomas behind, but Boonstra and Nelson sprinted all the way to the finish.

“I didn’t know which way it would go,” Todd Boonstra said. “I was down 400 yards from the finish screaming my head off.”

Also for the Kenai girls, Leah Fallon was seventh in 22:19, Summer Foster was 14th in 22:50, Gabriella Tews was 22nd in 24:25, Mya Taylor was 27th in 25:48, Lynnea Hack was 35th in 28:48 and Brooke Summers was 36th in 30:24.

For Homer, Eryn Field was fifth in 22:09, Frida Renner was sixth in 22:10, Elena Badajos was 10th in 22:27, Adelyn McCorison was 13th in 22:45, Bea McDonough was 20th in 24:13, McKenna Black was 29th in 26:25 and Leah Dunn was 31st in 27:13.

Also for Seward, Aly Guernsey was 23rd in 24:31, Natalie Sieminski was 25th in 25:16, Stella Dow was 28th in 25:56 and Addison Lemme was 32nd in 27:45.

Putting the Kenai boys at third were Gregory Fallon in ninth at 17:40, Jack Laker in 12th at 18:20, Joe Hamilton in 14th at 18:47, Tyler Hippchen in 16th at 18:52, Armands Veksejs in 24th at 19:41, Nathan Haakenson in 26th at 20:22 and George Wright in 29th at 20:46.

“Joe had a really good race,” Boonstra said. “He finished like he was on fire, with his red hair. He passed like three people.”

Getting Homer its fourth were Seamus McDonough in 11th at 17:57, Damon Weisser in 13th at 18:45, Jody Goodrich in 18th at 18:58, Lance Seneff in 21st at 19:14, Adams Veldstra in 22nd at 19:27, Brook Barth in 25th at 19:44 and Aiden Brost in 28th at 20:40.

For Seward, Trevor Guernsey was in 23rd at 19:40.

The Soldotna girls were able to qualify despite missing one team member due to illness and another to COVID close contact. Colony won with 32 but the next three were close, with Kodiak at 66, SoHi at 70 and Palmer at 75.

For the Stars, Jordan Strausbaugh was third at 21:15, Jordan Ruffner was fourth at 21:29, Kaidence Shaeffer was 20th at 24:12, Kaytlin McAnelly was 21st at 24:31, Avery Ciufo was 22nd at 24:43, Carson Dement was 24th at 24:54 and Adele Tacey was 26th at 25:00.

“Jordan Ruffner — she just really came on and it was awesome,” Arthur said. “She always comes on at the end of the season, but not like this.”

In Division I boys, Colony snapped Kodiak’s long run atop Region III.

For Soldotna, Jonathan Gordon was 18th at 18:53, Avery Willets was 22nd at 19:14, Nathanael Johnson was 25th at 19:34, Levi Mickelson was 26th at 19:46, Quinn Cox was 27th at 19:50, Andrew Cox was 31st at 20:24 and Trenton Boots was 33rd at 20:24.

All the Kenai Peninsula teams had to fly to Kodiak, due to the ferry not running there. The last-minute scramble to get plane tickets meant JV runners couldn’t make it. The runners didn’t find out until after the borough race in Seward.

“It was a really big bummer,” Arthur said. “We were planning to do this with them, then it was, ‘Oh, sorry guys, your season is over.’”

Trail wins Region II race

Nikolaevsk’s Justin Trail won the boys race at the Region II meet on Saturday at Kenny Lake High School.

Trail ran 5 kilometer in 19:06 for the victory, while Kyler Kangas of Effie Kokrine Charter was next at 21:42.

Trail qualifies for the Division III state race Saturday at Bartlett High School.