In spite of a saturated course at the Frank Dieckgraeff Invitational meet in Seward, the Mariner girls varsity XC team claimed second place. Running varsity were Ziza Shemet Pitcher, Audrey Rosencrans, Megan Pitzman, Molly Mitchell, Alex Mosely, Lauren Evarts, Aurora Waclawski.  -Photo provided

In spite of a saturated course at the Frank Dieckgraeff Invitational meet in Seward, the Mariner girls varsity XC team claimed second place. Running varsity were Ziza Shemet Pitcher, Audrey Rosencrans, Megan Pitzman, Molly Mitchell, Alex Mosely, Lauren Evarts, Aurora Waclawski. -Photo provided

Girls, boys race to second at XC boroughs

Traveling to Nikiski for the boroughs cross-country competition on Tuesday, the Mariners varsity girls and boys each claimed a second-place finish in competition that saw Soldotna first in the girls competition and the Kenai boys in first. 

“It was awesome,” was Head Coach Bill Steyer’s one-word wrap-up of the event. “The girls came in second in a really, really close race against very evenly matched teams and our boys did exceptionally. They had a really good race.”

Team scores had Soldotna girls with 42 points and Homer with 47. In the boys competition, Kenai’s 35 points gave them their first-place finish and Homer had 55.

“We had Denver Waclawski back and that helped out,” said Steyer of Waclawski’s brief absence from competition. “For the girls, Megan (Pitzman) came in third and Molly (Mitchell) was right behind her.”

Running varsity for Nikolaevsk was Megan Hickman, finishing in 26th place, and, in the boys competition, Greg Trial, finishing 16th, and Jonah Fefelov, finishing 26th

The borough competition came just days after the Sept. 12 Frank Dieckgraeff Invitational meet in Seward. Homer’s varsity girls took third place overall and the boys came in seventh.

“It was a slow race because of conditions. Muddy and wet,” said Bill Steyer. “The rain never let up. It wasn’t cold. It wasn’t windy. Just saturated.”

With more than 70 girls competing in the Seward meet, Allie Ostrander of Kenai took first place with a time of 17:46.64. Homer’s Megan Pitzman was the first Mariner to complete the course, finishing in 20:16.66.  In the boys competition, Kenai’s Jonah Theisen was the first of 75 finishers with a time of 17:22.68. Homer’s Jared Brant was the first Mariner finisher, crossing the finish line in 18:24.95.

Giving a stand-out performance for the Mariners boys varsity team was senior and team captain Brandon Beachy, who placed 35th, finishing in 19:12.68.

“He had a phenomenal race,” said Steyer. “The guys that are running underneath him are all freshmen and sophomores. He’s the glue that keeps it together. He’s terrific.”

Strengthening the Mariner girls team is the team’s depth.

“We have eight, nine strong girls that can run varsity. They’re really close. Of course, Megan (Pitzman) and Molly (Mitchell) are the strongest. Aurora (Waclawski) is consistently coming in third. And then there are six, seven runners that could trade off every week,” said Steyer. “We’re not quite there on the boys side.”

The Nikolaevsk Warriors were represented in the junior varsity competition.

“I had three runners that ran in the rain and all three had season-best times. What a surprise,” said Head Coach Steve Klaich. “Greg Trail took second place after leading most of the race.”

Competing against 136 junior varsity boy runners, Trail’s finish time was 18:49.18. His teammate Jonah Fefelov crossed the finish line in 44th place, with a time of 20:45.16. Megan Hickman finished 17 of 65 junior varsity girl athletes with a time of 24:11.07. 

This weekend, Homer is the site of a 5K time trial that begins near the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon and finishes at the base of the Spit.

“Soldotna will be here and Nikolaevsk, Voznesenka, Kachemak Selo and Homer,” said Steyer.

The girls race begins at noon; the boys race begins as 12:45 p.m.

McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at


Boroughs XC competition

Sept. 16 – Nikiski

Varsity team results (girls): 

1. Soldotna, 42; 2. Homer, 47; 3. Kenai, 52

Individual varsity results (girls, southern Kenai Peninsula): 

3. Megan Pitzman, Homer, 11.42; 4. Molly Mitchell, Homer, 11.48; 11. Aurora Waclawski, Homer, 12.18; 14. Alex Mosley, Homer, 12.35; 15. Ziza Shemet Pitcher, Homer, 12.36; 16. Lauren Evarts, Homer, 12.5; 20. Haley Knott, Homer, 13.24; 26. Megan Hickman, Nikolaevsk, 15.1  

Varsity team results (boys): 

1. Kenai, 35; 2. Homer, 55; 3. Soldotna, 60; 4. Seward, 78  

Individual varsity results (boys, southern Kenai Peninsula): 

6. Jordan Beachy, Homer, 10.34; 7. Jared Brant, Homer, 10.35; 11. Brandon Beachy, Homer, 10.54; 12. Jacob Davis, Homer, 10.55; 16. Greg Trail, Nikolaevsk, 11.09; 19. Denver Waclawski, Homer, 11.21; 23. Jaime Rios, Homer, 11.37; 26. Jonah Fefelov, Nikolaevsk, 12.14; 27. John Sarmiento, Homer, 12.26


Frank Dieckgraeff Invitational

Sept. 12 – Seward

Varsity team results (girls): 

1. Colony, 66; 2. Kenai Central, 72; 3. Homer, 79; 4. Soldotna, 81; 5. Seward, 139; 6. Grace Christian, 172; 7. Wasilla, 191; 8. Palmer, 197; 9. Juneau-Douglas, 217; 10. Anchorage Christian, 256; 11. Bethel, 291.

Individual varsity results (girls, Homer): 

6. Megan Pitzman, 20:16.66; 10. Molly Mitchell, 20:41.67; 18. Aurora Waclawski, 21:16.04; 23. Ziza Shemet Pitcher, 21:39.14; 27. Alex Mosley, 21:57.77; 28. Lauren Evarts, Homer, 21:59.52; 37. Audrey Rosencrans, 22:40.08; 

Varsity team results (boys): 

1. Wasilla, 61; 2. Juneau-Douglas, 76; 3. Kenai Central, 98; 4. Colony, 121; 5. Grace Christian, 130; 6. Seward, 138; 7. Homer, 185; 8. Palmer, 191; 9. Soldotna, 195; 10. Anchorage Christian, 215.

Individual varsity results (boys, Homer): 

22. Jared Brant, 18:24.95; 34. Jordan Beachy, 19:01.64; 35. Brandon Beachy, 19:12.68; 36. Jacob Davis, 19:13.34; 63. Jaime Rios, 20:50.32; 64. Elan Carroll, 20:53.05; 67. John Sarmiento, 21:23.21; 

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