Kenai boys, Soldotna girls take first in Homer Invite

The Homer Invite attracted athletes from 15 schools on and off the Kenai Peninsula Friday and Saturday. In the boys’ competition, Kenai Central took first place, with Soldotna first for the girls. The Homer Mariner boys took fifth place and the Mariner girls were in sixth.

“This was our second year hosting the invite and I’m just excited that that many teams wanted to come down,” said Mariner Head Coach Bill Steyer. 

Schools that made the trek to the end of the road included Kenai Central, Wasilla, Anchorage Christian, Palmer, Skyview, Nikiski, Glennallen, Soldotna, Grace Christian, Valdez, Cook Inlet Academy, Kenny Lake, Ninilchik and Susan B. English in Seldovia.

“I’m happy the teams came down from the valley. Wasilla has always had a strong girls team. Soldotna’s team is strong this year. Glennallen’s got some distance runners and is a pretty good team,” said Steyer. He also noted the “good programs” in Homer’s smaller neighbors, Ninilchik and Seldovia.

Of Homer’s performance, this early in the season Steyer is still looking at the best events for the athletes based on their strengths.

“We’re still working on getting into shape,” he said.

On the Mariner girls team, senior Tayla Cabana is one athlete who “can do everything. Long jump, sprint, run the 800, run the 300 hurdles, she’s on the 4×400 team and she’s a good shot-put thrower. If someone ever got a javelin in her hand, I’m sure she could do good. She’s got a lot of power,” said Steyer.

Cabana placed first in the 100-meter, 33-inch hurdles; was on Homer’s 4×400 meter relay team that placed second; and the 4×100 meter relay team that placed seventh. She also came in eighth in the 100-meter dash.

“A rising star” is how Steyer described Homer freshman Lauren Evarts, who placed third in the 100 meter, 33-inch hurdles and was on the Mariner team that placed seventh in the 4×100 relay. “She’s a really excellent athlete. You’ll be hearing her name quite a bit.”

Freshman Audrey Rosencrans scored a personal best with a 5:55.93 finish in the 1600-meter event. That time gave her a 10th-place finish.

 “She’s one of the stars,” Steyer said of Rosencrans.

Sophomore Molly Mitchell’s speed in the 1600 meter put her in fourth place, with a finish time of 5:32.97. That event was won by Kenai’s Allie Ostrander, who crossed the finish line in 4:55.32.

“She’s doing good,” Steyer said of Mitchell.

Mitchell also was on Homer’s second-place 4×400 relay team, along with Cabana and sophomores Ziza Shemet Pitcher and Aurora Waclawski.

“That’s a really strong team,” said Steyer.

Mariner Pedro Ochoa, a senior, faced some tough competition from juniors Jonah and Jordan Theisen of Kenai Central. In the 1600 meter, Jonah Theisen was first across the finish line in 4:27.93, Jordan Theisen in 4:27.98 and Ochoa on their heels in 4:43.50. It was a similar scenario in the 3200 meter, with Jonah Theisen finishing in 9:49.10, Jordan Theisen in 9:51.97 and Ochoa following close behind in 10:02.56.

“He was racing against two of the fastest guys,” said Steyer. “The 3200 was his best time.”

Steyer also recognized sophomore Les Crane, who finished the boys 1600-meter event in 18th-place with a time of 5:13.18.

“He’s new to the sport and we’re going to try to get him under five minutes by the end of the year,” said Steyer.

In the boys 4×200 relay, Homer’s team of junior Connor Seay, seniors Joseph Cardoza and Ryan Navrot and sophomore Tyeler Cooper-Day claimed second place with a time of 1:42.19. Palmer finished first in 1:39.73 and Skyview was third, in 1:45.37.

“That was pretty awesome,” said Steyer. 

This Friday and Saturday the Mariner track and field team heads to Kenai for the Skyview Invite. For a schedule of upcoming meets, results and team news, follow the Mariner Track and Field team on Facebook.

McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at

Homer Invitational

April 18-19 – Homer High School 


1. Kenai Central, 94; 2. Wasilla, 80; 3. Anchorage Christian, 79; 4. Palmer, 53; 5. Homer, 45; 6. Skyview, 43; 7. Nikiski, 39; 8. Glennallen, 25; 8. Soldotna, 25; 10. Grace Christian, 18; 11. Valdez, 17; 12. Cook Inlet Academy, 4; 13. Ninilchik, 1.


800 meters: 4. Pedro Ochoa, 2:06.99

1600 meters: 3. Pedro Ochoa, Homer, 4:43.50; 18. Les Crane, Homer, 5:13.18; 21. Tyler Thorne, Ninilchik, 5:20.07; 28. Aidan Philpot, Susan B. English, 5:33.21; 30. Devin Chissus, Susan B. English, 5:59.96.

3200 meters: 3. Pedro Ochoa, Homer, 10:02.56; 9. Tyler Thorne, Ninilchik, 11:20.15.

110 meter hurdles, 39-inch: 6. Sam Mireles, Ninilchik, 20:09.

300 meter hurdles, 36-inch: 1. Connor Seay, Homer, 43:50.

4×100 relay: 4. Joseph Cardoza, Tyeler Cooper-Day, Ian Lowe and Andrew Doughty, Homer, 48:73.

4×200 relay: 2. Connor Seay, Joseph Cardoza, Ryan Navrot, Tyeler Cooper-Day, Homer, 1:42.19.

4×400 relay: 6. Ryan Navrot, Connor Seay, Andrew Doughty, Miles Catlin, Homer, 4:00.06.

4×800 relay: 3. Ryan Navrot, Les Crane, John Sarmiento, Jared Brant, Homer, 9:59.97.

Shot put, 12 lb.: 19. Devin Chissus, Susan B. English,
30-04.50; 26. Jake Richter, Homer, 27.01.50.

Discus, 1.6 kg: 20. Miles Catlin, Homer, 74-07; 22. Jake Richter, Homer, 71-03; 23. Reme Nagle, Homer, 70-07; 28. Sam Mireles, Homer, 58-02; 30. Nolan Bunting, Homer, 53-07.

Long jump: 9. John Shank, Homer, 17-03.75; 10. August Kilcher, Homer, 16-05.00; 12. Joseph Cardoza, Homer, 16-02.00; 14. Sam Mireles, Ninilchik, 15-05.75; 15. Souleymane Sidibe, Susan B. English, 15-05.25; 19. Les Crane, Homer, 14-11.75.

Triple jump: 7. John Shank, Homer, 34-08.50; 11. Souleymane Sidibe, Susan B. English, 33-10.50.


1. Soldotna, 95; 2. Anchorage Christian, 63; 3. Kenai Central, 61; 4. Wasilla, 57; 5. Skyview, 46; 6. Homer, 45; 7. Grace Christian, 44; 8. Glennallen, 33; 9. Palmer, 30; 9. Valdez, 30; 11. Nikiski, 20.


100 meters: 6. Angie Cardoza, Homer, 13.78; 8. Tayla Cabana, Homer, 13.90.

200 meters: 7. Aurora Waclawski, Homer, 28.99.

400 meters: 4. Aurora Waclawski, Homer, 1:04.46; 5. Ziza Shemet Pitcher, Homer, 1:04.81.

800 meters: 7. Molly Mitchell, Homer, 2:34.25.

1600 meters: 4. Molly Mitchell, Homer, 5:32.97; 10. Audrey Rosencrans, Homer, 5:55.93; 20. Olivia Turner, Susan B. English, 6:25.82; 21. Audrey Russell, Homer, 6:26.94; 25. Sakota Mitchell, Homer, 7:07.14; 28. Naomi Hess, Ninilchik, 7:44.35.

100 meter hurdles, 33-inches: 1. Tayla Cabana, Homer, 16.86; 3. Lauren Evarts, Homer, 17.81.

300 meter hurdles, 30-inches: 5. Lauren Jones, Homer, 56.32.

4×100 relay: 7. Crystal Crane, Angie Cardoza, Lauren Evarts and Tayla Cabana, Homer, 56.94; 9. Hannah Soplanda, Mikayla Clark, Naomi Hess and Aurora Dell, Ninilchik, 1:05.55.

4×400 relay: 2. Tayla Cabana, Ziza Shemet Pitcher, Molly Mitchell and Aurora Waclawski, Homer, 4:28.64.

4×800 relay: 4. Lauren Jones, Audrey Russell, Sakota Mitchell and Audrey Rosencrans, Homer, 12:16.14.

Shot put, 4 kg: 13. Mikayla Clark, Ninilchik, 25-05.75; 23. Jenna Crosby, Susan b. English, 22-05.50; 26. Heather Harrington, Homer, 21-03.00; 29. Olivia Turner, Susan B. English, 20-00.00.

Discus, 1 kg: 19. Mikayla Clark, Ninilchik, 60-10; 24. Heather Harrington, Homer, 51-11.

High jump: 5. Crystal Crane, Homer, 4-04.00.

Long jump: 5. Crystal Crane, Homer, 13-11.50; 16. Angie Cardoza, Homer, 12-07.5022. Aurora Dell, Ninilchik, 11-10.50; 27. Hannah Soplanda, Ninilchik, 9-09.50; 28. Naomi Hess, Ninilchik, 8-05.75.

Homer’s Lauren Jones takes flight in the girls 300-meter, 30-inch hurdles. She placed fifth with a time of 56:32.-Photo by McKibben Jackinsky, Homer News

Homer’s Lauren Jones takes flight in the girls 300-meter, 30-inch hurdles. She placed fifth with a time of 56:32.-Photo by McKibben Jackinsky, Homer News