Vermont man, Colorado woman win Wolverine Mountain Run

Posted: Monday, June 10, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Outsiders out-climbed the best of Alaska in Sunday's inaugural Wolverine Mountain Run.

''Basically, the Alaskans got their butts whipped,'' said Brad Precosky of Anchorage.

Eric Morse of Vermont and Anita Ortiz of Colorado picked up overall titles in the all-uphill race that covered 5.5 miles and gained 3,600 feet. Together, they beat a large men's and women's field made up mostly of Alaskans who were racing on their home turf.

The victory qualified Morse and Ortiz each for the U.S. team which will compete this fall at the world championships in Austria. Both American runners already had met qualifying standards and needed only victories in the Wolverine race to claim official spots on the national team.

Jerry Ross of Anchorage was fourth to lead all Alaska men, and Olympic cross-country skier Nina Kemppel of Anchorage finished second to pace the Alaska women. Times were not reported.

Considered by many to be the best in the nation, Morse last year was named mountain runner of the year by Trail Magazine. Precosky certainly was convinced after racing against him and watching Morse attack Wolverine Peak.

''The pace was furious going out,'' said Precosky, who competed in the men's race. ''Most of us were doing all we could to hold back and save some (energy) for the climb. By then, we had lost a couple of minutes to (Morse).''

The men's runner-up was Dave Dunham of Massachusetts, a national-class marathon runner, and the third-place finisher was Scott Elliott of Colorado, a multiple winner of the Pikes Peak Ascent.

Ortiz made her victory seem easy. She won by nearly five minutes over Kemppel, the reigning Mount Marathon women's champion and one of the country's greatest Nordic skiers.

''She really attacked the climb. She ran the entire course,'' Precosky said.

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