Homer’s Eryn Field outsprints Seward’s Maranatha Brueckner to the finish at the Region III/Southern Division meet Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020, at Tsalteshi Trails near Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Homer’s Eryn Field outsprints Seward’s Maranatha Brueckner to the finish at the Region III/Southern Division meet Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020, at Tsalteshi Trails near Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai’s Boonstra, Dunham take region titles

Peninsula runners secure state berths

Kenai Central sophomore Jayna Boonstra overcame non-COVID illness to win the Region III/Southern Division cross-country meet Saturday at Tsalteshi Trails just outside of Soldotna.

Kardinals senior Maison Dunham did Boonstra one better. He overcame that same illness to win the Kenai Peninsula Borough meet last week, then overcame a Friday car crash to win at regions Saturday.

The race, featuring all peninsula schools, was one of two events held to determine the state qualifiers from Region III. The Northern Division held its meet at Palmer High School.

Kodiak also held Region III time trials, but the Bears have announced they will not be traveling to the state meet.

No full teams qualify for the state meet. In Division II, the top eight girls and boys in the Northern and Southern divisions qualified.

For the Southern Division boys, the qualifiers in order of finish are Dunham, Seward’s Max Pfeiffenberger, Kenai’s Joe Hamilton, Homer’s Seamus McDonough, Kenai’s Gregory Fallon, Homer’s Lance Seneff, Kenai’s Jack Laker and Seward’s Levi Deboard.

For the Southern Division girls, the top qualifiers in order of finish are Boonstra, Seward’s Hailey Ingalls, Seward’s Lena Jagielski, Homer’s Eryn Field, Seward’s Maranatha Brueckner, Homer’s Frida Renner, Kenai’s Emilee Wilson and Homer’s Elena Badajos.

Soldotna was the only Division I school at the Southern Division meet. The top two Stars in each race automatically qualified — meaning Nathanael Johnson and Maleda Denbrock in the boys race and Jordan Strausbaugh and Erika Arthur in the girls race.

With Kodiak opting out of state, an additional two girls and two boys spots opened up. Times and courses were compared from the Southern and Northern races. SoHi picked up an additional two girls spots with Katie Delker and Jordan Ruffner.

In the Southern Division, the Division I and II races were run together.

In the girls race, Boonstra won at 20 minutes, 5 seconds, while Strausbaugh was second at 20:39. The Seward girls put three in the top five to take the Division II team title, scoring 32 points to Kenai’s 44 and Homer’s 45.

Boonstra said she was back at 100% coming off the illness.

“I was going for the 19s and got 20:05,” she said. “I’m pretty happy with it.”

Boonstra finished fourth in the Division II state meet as a freshman. She’s not sure what to expect this year after racing only peninsula runners thus far.

“It’s going to be pretty different,” Boonstra said. “I’ll go out and make the best of it and see how I do.”

Strausbaugh improved her time from last week’s borough meet by about nine seconds on the same course. She said she used to like courses with hills, but after two weeks of success on Tsalteshi’s flattest offering, Strausbaugh said flatter courses are growing on her.

She also was sure to be happy about two additional teammates being announced to the state squad later in the day.

“We were all hoping to be there as a full team,” Strausbaugh said. “It’s such a fun race for everyone to experience.”

Dunham said he was driving to practice Friday when he was in a minor car accident. He said there were not injuries, but the experience left him shaken.

“I was not feeling it today,” he said.

The pack did not make it easy for Dunham. He would win at 17:14, with Pfeiffenberger coming in at 17:20, but a group of leaders ticked off the first kilometer at 3:08.

Dunham said he never entirely broke away from that pack.

“My lead was 5 to 10 meters all race,” he said. “There was always somebody there.”

Dunham said he was really tired in the last 1,000 meters and was glad Pfeiffenberger didn’t pass him, because Dunham wasn’t looking forward to an all-out sprint to the finish.

Pfeiffenberger didn’t get to race last week after possible coronavirus transmission at Seward Elementary shut down Seward sports for the weekend.

“It felt like it had been awhile since I raced,” he said. “It was nice to have a good day.”

Pfeiffenberger said Dunham was in range, but the dramatic finish didn’t quite happen.

“I would have liked to see what I could have done in the chute,” he said.

Kenai won the boys team title with 28 points, while Seward had 45 and Homer had 51.

Dunham and Boonstra were named the most valuable runners in the Southern Division. Coach of the Year honors went to Homer’s Bob Ostrom for the boys and Soldotna’s Krista Arthur for the girls.

Region III/Southern Division Meet

BOYS

Division II

Team scores: 1. Kenai Central, 27; 2. Seward, 45; 3. Homer, 51.

Individual 5-kilometer results

1. Maison Dunham, Ken, 17:14; 2. Max Pfeiffenberger, Sew, 17:20; 3. Joe Hamilton, Ken, 17:32; 4. Seamus McDonough, Hom, 17:36; 5. Gregory Fallon, Ken, 17:45; 6. Lance Seneff, Hom, 18:02; 7. Jack Laker, Ken, 18:03; 8. Levi Deboard, Sew, 18:09; 9. Samuel Koster, Sew, 18:15; 10. Trey Ingalls, Sew, 18:18; 11. Tyler Hippchen, Ken, 18:25; 12. Austin Cline, Hom, 18:33; 13. Ky Calvert, Ken, 19:09; 14. Damon Weisser, Hom, 19:15; 15. Adams Veldstra, Hom, 19:23; 16. Clayton Petersen, Sew, 19:33; 17. Trevor Guernsey, Sew, 19:40; 18. Cody Bryden, Sew, 19:55; 19. Nathan Haakenson, Ken, 19:56; 20. Jonah Mershon, Hom, 20:07; 21. Garrett Briscoe, Hom, 23:57; 22. Boden Quiner, Nik, 25:46.

Division I

Team scores: 1. Soldotna, 15.

Individual 5-kilometer results

1. Nathanael Johnson, Sol, 17:37; 2. Maleda Denbrock, Sol, 17:54; 3. Jeren Nash, Sol, 18:20; 4. Avery Willets, Sol, 18:22; 5. Quinn Cox, Sol, 18:55; 6. Tytus Gilbert, Sol, 19:10; 7. Sean Babitt, Sol, 19:30.

GIRLS

Division II

Team scores: 1. Seward, 32; 2. Kenai, 44; 3. Homer, 45.

Individual 5-kilometer results

1. Jayna Boonstra, Ken, 20:05; 2. Hailey Ingalls, Sew, 21:11; 3. Lena Jagielski, Sew, 21:32; 4. Eryn Field, Hom, 21:34; 5. Maranatha Brueckner, Sew, 21:35; 6. Frida Renner, Hom, 21:58; 7. Emilee Wilson, Ken, 22:00; 8. Elena Badajos, Hom, 22:28; 9. Gariella Tews, Ken, 22:40; 10. Hana Cooney, Sew, 22:46; 11. Leah Fallon, Ken, 22:47; 12. Aly Guernsey, Sew, 23:15; 13. Kara Super, Hom, 23:21; 14. Adelyn McCorison, Hom, 23:21; 15. Alexi Walker, Sew, 23:29; 16. Summer Foster, Ken, 23:31; 17. Emily Moss, Ken, 23:42; 18. Syliva Clemens, Hom, 23:46; 19. Keira Schrock, Sew, 23:58; 20. Maddox Berg, Hom, 24:01; 21. Lynnea Hack, Ken, 24:06; 22. Emily Hufford, Nik, 29:40.

Division I

Team scores: 1. Soldotna, 15.

Individual 5-kilometer results

1. Jordan Strausbaugh, Sol, 20:39; 2. Erika Arthur, Sol, 21:22; 3. Katie Delker, Sol, 21:39; 4. Jordan Ruffner, Sol, 21:43; 5. Sonia Montague, Sol, 22:37; 6. Lucy Dammeyer, Sol, 22:51; 7. Kaidence Schaeffer, Sol, 23:59.

Homer’s Lance Seneff leads the pack in the first kilometer of the Region III/Southern Division boys race Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020, at Tsalteshi Trails just outside of Soldotna, Alaska. Race champion Maison Dunham of Kenai Central is at far right. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Homer’s Lance Seneff leads the pack in the first kilometer of the Region III/Southern Division boys race Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020, at Tsalteshi Trails just outside of Soldotna, Alaska. Race champion Maison Dunham of Kenai Central is at far right. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Central's Jayna Boonstra runs to victory at the Region III/Southern Division meet Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020, at Tsalteshi Trails near Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Homer’s Lance Seneff leads the pack in the first kilometer of the Region III/Southern Division boys race Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020, at Tsalteshi Trails just outside of Soldotna, Alaska. Race champion Maison Dunham of Kenai Central is at far right. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

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