Mariners run strong in Palmer

Getting one step closer to state, Homer Mariner varsity girls cross country team raced into second place at the Palmer Invite on Saturday, with a total 100 points. Soldotna claimed first place, with 78 points, and Grace Christian trailed Homer with 102.

The invite was an opportunity for Homer and Grace Christian, both 3A schools, to test themselves against the larger 4A schools, said Bill Steyer, Homer’s head coach.

“We’re in the top five. It’s going to be a battle with Grace,” said Steyer. “The other teams are good, but that’s why we wanted to compete 4A, because we have pretty strong teams.”

With a field of 72 varsity girls running, Homer’s Aurora Waclawski finished 14th, Molly Mitchell followed in 15th and Megan Pitzman was one second later in 16th place.  Aziza Shemet Pitcher crossed the finish line in 28th place, with Lauren Evarts in 36th Pam Jantzi in 46th and Shenandoah Lush in 47th.

The Homer varsity boys cross country team finished third in the 3A competition with 78 points. Anchorage Christian took first place with 47 and Seward was in second with 62.

Mariner’s Pedro Ochoa was the fourth of 83 varsity boys to cross the finish line, Josh Vantrease was eighth, Brandon Beachy was in 17th place, Elias Graham was 27th, Jared Brant was 32nd, August Kilcher was 45th and Dakota Alward was 46th

“It was an awesome performance,” said Steyer.

Sixty runners competed in the junior varsity girls race, including Homer runners Melanie Mastolier and Audrey Rosencrans in second and third place, respectively, and Mattea Peters in ninth. Nikolaevsk runner Megan Hickman finished in 17th place.

In the junior varsity boys race, with 88 competing, Nikolaevsk runner Greg Trail finished 20th, Homer runner Calvin Johnson finished 28th, Nikolaevsk runner Jonah Fefelov finished 33rd, his teammate Nicetas Lasiter finished 43rd, and Homer runners Nahoa Jette finished 48th, Marley McGuire 73rd and Kyle Carrol 86th.

This week, the Mariner cross country teams head to Seward for the Seward Invite on Friday, followed by boroughs at Kenai on Tuesday.

McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at


Palmer Invite

Saturday at Palmer High School

Varsity results for southern peninsula schools

4A GIRLS TEAM RESULTS (TOP 5): (1) Soldotna, 78; (2) Homer, 100; (3) Grace Christian, 102; (4) Wasilla, 109; (5) Lathrop, 116. 

GIRLS INDIVIDUAL RESULTS: (14) Aurora Waclawski, 20:24.7; (15) Molly Mitchell, 20:42.0; (16) Megan Pitzman, 20:43.0; (28) Aziza Shemet Pitcher, 21:20.7; (36) Lauren Evarts, 21:57.8; (46) Pam Jantzi, 22:19.7; (47) Shenandoah Lush, 22:25.2.

3A BOYS TEAM RESULTS: (1) Anchorage Christian, 47; (2) Seward, 62; (3) Homer, 78; (4) Skyview, 96.

BOYS INDIVIDUAL RESULTS: (4) Pedro Ochoa, 17:15.1; (8) Josh Vantrease, 18:01.07; (17) Brandon Beachy, 18:31.6; (27) Elias Graham, 18:53.5; (32) Jared Brant, 19:04.9; (45) August Kilcher, 20:00.0; (46) Dakota Alward, 20:05.3.