Junior-senior girls win team title for Mariners at Nikiski Class Races

Before she burst out of the forest and onto the football field for her finishing kick at the Nikiski Class Races on Monday at Nikiski, Soldotna senior Olivia Hutchings actually had to run under a spectator who had strung a hammock from a tree on each side of the trail.

One would think Hutchings would remember that, but it’s an indication of how hard she ran — and how hard Nikiski’s roller-coaster course is — that the last thing she recalls in the 5-kilometer race is looking at her watch and seeing she had run 3.8 kilometers.

“I was so worn out,” Hutchings said. “I was just playing the stupid game — right, left, right, left, pick your foot up and put it down.”

Hutchings collapsed at the finish line, but had victory in the junior-senior girls race in hand with a time of 21:10.

Homer’s Megan Pitzman was second at 22:13, while Homer’s Audrey Rosencrans was third at 22:37. The Mariners, the defending Class 1-2-3A champs, also won the team title in the junior-senior girls race. 

The team title is determined by adding the places of each team’s top three finishers.

It took Hutchings a few minutes to steady herself after the race, but the experience didn’t dim her enthusiasm.

“I love the sport,” she said. “I’m just so happy to be racing with my team again. I’m glad my teammates were there to help me at the end.”

Hutchings’ teammates also made quite the statement at the meet by winning the team title in the freshman-sophomore boys and junior-senior boys race.

In the freshman-sophomore boys race, Homer sophomore Charlie Menke ran 18:50 to hold off Soldotna sophomore Koby Vinson by two seconds. SoHi’s Josh Shuler (19:25) and David Michael (19:27) were next across the line to clinch the team title.

Menke was running in his first cross-country race. He came out for the team this season to get in shape for hockey in the winter and soccer in the spring.

Does winning his first race change Menke’s perception of the sport to more than something used for physical fitness?

“Not really. Those are still my sports,” he said of hockey and soccer. “I just wanted to do what I could to help my team.”

Menke opened up a bit of a gap on the last few hills, then hung on as Vinson nearly stole the victory with a sprint on the football field.

“He just got too much of a gap on me,” Vinson said. “I’m usually pretty good at the end, but I let him go too much.”

In the junior-senior boys race, Soldotna senior Aaron Swedberg used a midrace spurt to open up the winning gap on Homer’s Jared Brant. Swedberg finished in 18:19, while Brant was at 19:10.

Last season, Swedberg qualified for state as an individual, but this season he is hoping to take his team with him. The Stars boys haven’t been to state since 2008, but SoHi showed off its potential Saturday by taking second at the Colony Invite.

“It feels really good,” Swedberg said. “The SoHi boys haven’t done much in a while. To go and get second at the Colony Invite gives us confidence.”

The Stars also have senior Levi Michael, who didn’t have enough practices to run in a timed race. Michael instead did the community race and finished second to Homer’s Jacob Davis.

The Kenai girls finished third at state last season, but lost two of their scoring runners. The Kards showed they will be able to reload a bit when freshman Jaycie Calvert took the freshman-sophomore girls race in 21:47, with Kenai sophomore Addy Gibson right behind at 22:11 to help the Kards to the team title in the race. Homer’s Alex Mosley was third.

Kenai also had the top two girls high school finishers in the community race in sophomores Riana Boonstra and Ithaca Bergholtz.

“We’re close, we’re young, and we’re really excited,” Calvert said of her team.

Calvert said she likes running hills, so going beyond the mile and a half contested in middle school was not a problem for her.

“I didn’t really know what to expect,” she said. “I was just looking to go hard.”

 

2015 Nikiski Class Races

 

Freshmen-sophomore girls

Team winner: Kenai Central.

Homer/Voznesenka individual results — 3. Alex Mosley, Hom, 22:21; 4. Katie Davis, Hom, 24:18; 7. Ali McCarron, Hom, 26:22; 9. Brenna McCarron, Hom, 28:16; 11. Sophia Ivanov, Voz, 28:50; 12. Samantha Martin, Hom, 29:30; 14. Sarah Wolf, Hom, 29:41.

Freshmen-sophomore boys

Team winner: Soldotna.

Homer individual results: 1. Charlie Menke, Hom, 18:50; 5. Luca Fasulo, Hom, 19:29; 7. Denver Waclawski, Hom, 19:45; 8. Elan Carroll, Hom, 20:25; 9. Dexter Lowe, Hom, 20:30; 11. Caleb Rausch, Hom, 21:09; 13. Wayne Newman, Hom, 21:29; 20. Andy Super, Hom, 24:41; 23. Cody Bond, Hom, 29:12.

Junior-senior girls

Team winner: Homer

Homer individual results: 2. Megan Pitzman, Hom, 22:13; 3. Audrey Rosencrans, Hom, 22:37; 5. Ziza Shemet Pitcher, Hom, 22:53; 7. Lauren Evarts, Hom, 23:19; 

Junior-senior boys

Team winner: Soldotna

Homer individual results: 2. Jared Brant, Hom, 19:10.


Watch the Mariners play

Saturday

XC Running @ Tsalteshi Trails 

      noon

JV and Varsity Volleyball Jamboree
9 a.m.

Voz Football vs. Monroe 

      10 a.m.

JV and Varsity Football vs. Eielson
     1 p.m., 4 p.m.


More in Sports

Reeling ‘Em In: Fishing Hole snagarama ends today

The Spit’s Fishing Hole has been sort of drag lately. In fact,… Continue reading

Alaska State Parks logo. (Image courtesy Alaska State Parks)
Kachemak Bay State Park trails report

The trails report is provided by Park Specialist Eric Clarke. General information… Continue reading

Yearling brown bear cubs near the Russian River Ferry recently. (Photo by Matt Conner/Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)
Refuge Notebook: Tales of a federal wildlife officer — Brown bears at Russian River

The opening of this year’s sockeye fishery at the Kenai/Russian River confluence… Continue reading

The view of Seward, Alaska from the top of Mt. Marathon was a cloudy one on Thursday, June 18, 2020. (Photo by Kat Sorensen)
Tangled Up in Blue: Shifting clouds

Every cloudy day is different. On a bluebird day, from the window… Continue reading

Alaska State Parks logo. (Image courtesy Alaska State Parks)
Kachemak Bay State Park trails report

The trails report is provided by Park Specialist Eric Clarke. General information… Continue reading

Reeling ‘Em In: Nick offers tips on catching those Fishin’ Hole kings

Last Sunday, around o-dark-thirty, the action heated up at the Spit’s fishing… Continue reading

A finished portion of the Sterling Fuel Break completed by a masticator machine. (Photo provided by Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)
Refuge Notebook: Kenai fuel break will extend protection of communities

It’s no secret that wildfires play a significant ecological role in Alaska’s… Continue reading

Activities return to district facilities

The Soldotna High School football team has won 12 of the last… Continue reading

Student Julia Merculief in St. Paul, Alaska, explores refuge islands using virtual reality headsets. (Photo by Kendra Bush/USFWS)
Refuge Notebook: Visiting remote refuge wilderness from a classroom desk

As the education specialist for the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, it… Continue reading

Most Read