Trevor Baldwin may have won the boys individual 5-kilometer race in a course-record time of 16 minutes, 15.9 seconds, but it was the work of the entire Kenai team that had Kardinals coach Liz Burck fired up after the race.
"Holy cow, we had a great day," Burck said after her Kenai team placed five runners in the top 15 to take home the boys Kenai Peninsula Borough team title Saturday in Homer.
"We talked a lot about what had to happen as a team. It can't just be Mick (Boyle) and Trevor," she said.
In other meet highlights, Seward junior Whitney Anderson used a strong finish to defeat Soldotna junior Ari Goldstein, while the Soldotna girls scored just 36 points in dominating the girls team event.
Although Boyle and Baldwin have been running out front all season, the rest of the Kenai squad has not fared quite as well. That all changed Saturday, and it didn't take the Kardinals long to show they were ready to work as a unit.
The entire Kenai team Baldwin, Boyle, Chris Amen, Jed McGlasson, Bryan Stocks and Jon Sanchez left the starting gate at the front of the pack. For the first 300 yards, it looked as if the Kardinals were out to sweep the event. However, it didn't take Homer's Monte Garroutte long to part through the red jerseys and move to the front.
As he charged to the front, Garroutte pulled a lead pack of runners with him, including Baldwin, Boyle and Seward's Matt Adams. Garroutte eventually widened his lead to as much as 10 seconds, but as the leaders reached the final downhill portion of the race, it was obvious he was fading fast.
Baldwin said after the race that he was confident he'd catch the speedy Garroutte, who previously held the Homer course record.
"I knew I could catch him," Baldwin said.
Baldwin said he knew he would be strong at the end, thanks to the daily competition he gets from Boyle in practice.
"Me and (Boyle) practice together every day, and we have a little friendly competition," he said.
That competition was won Saturday by Baldwin, although Boyle didn't do too bad for himself either. As Garroutte faded down the stretch, Boyle was able to pass the Homer runner and move into third, just behind Adams, who finished second. Boyle said he felt confident in Kenai's ability to finish strong.
"We have these really long competitive runs, and we come to the end and we're just smoking," he said.
While Baldwin and Boyle were dueling it out up front, Kenai's second-tier runners hung in the next group back. But instead of dropping off the pace as in past events, the Kardinals never moved from their positions near the front of the pack.
Amen eventually finished 10th, McGlasson took 12th and Stocks grabbed 14th to lead the Kards to 40 points and a 19-point victory over Seward for the borough title.
Coach Burck said she simply couldn't be happier with how her runners came through. Now she's hoping the Kards can have a similar performance at the Region III meet next week.
"We've got to do it next week," she said. "But now they know what it feels like to do it as a team," she said.
In the girls race, Seward's Anderson turned what had been a close race into a blowout, when she ran away from Soldotna's Goldstein with 200 yards to go.
Kenai's Lauren Baldwin led until halfway through the first hill climb, but from that point on it was all Goldstein and Anderson.
The race was expected to be tight between two of the state's top female cross country runners, especially after Anderson won the girls small-schools race at the Palmer Invitational last week in a faster time than Goldstein won the large schools 5-kilometer run. However, Goldstein held the Homer course record coming into Saturday's meet.
The two ran together for most of the race, and Anderson said at times it seemed as if it was a duel to see who could hang on to the underdog tag.
"It seemed like she wanted to stay behind me, but I was trying to get behind her, because it kind of puts the pressure on to be in front," she said.
As the runners began the second hill climb, Goldstein stumbled and fell on a bridge crossing a small stream. Instead of pulling away, however, Anderson looked back and appeared to slow down as the SoHi runner regained her footing and continued on.
The two remained locked together until they entered the finish area at the Homer football stadium, but when Anderson kicked it into high gear, Goldstein was unable to follow.
"My teammates were yelling for me, and so I just went," she said. "I've never ran that fast in the last 200 meters of a race."
Anderson's kick was good enough to put 15 seconds between her and Goldstein by the time the dust had settled, besting Goldstein's previous course record by more than 40 seconds, finishing with a time of 18:00.1.
However, it wasn't all bad for the Stars, who placed five runners in the top 11 spots to easily claim the girls title over second-place Homer. In addition to Goldstein, Katie Franzmann was fourth, Jessica Weimer was ninth, Katy Pankoski was 10th and Rachel McCarten was 11th.
The SoHi girls and Kenai boys will look to carry the momentum of team victories into the 4A portion of the Region III races next week in Anchorage, while Anderson will try for another win in the small-schools division.
KENAI PENINSULA BOROUGH MEET
At Homer High School
Team scores: 1. Soldotna Stars, 36; 2. Homer Mariners, 68; 3. Seward Seahawks, 74; 4. Kenai Kardinals, 81; 5. Skyview Panthers, 92; Ninilchik Wolverines, 150.
Individual 5-kilometer results
1. Whitney Anderson, Sew, 18 minutes, 00.1 seconds; 2. Ari Goldstein, Sol, 18:15.3; 3. Aleta Phelps, Hom, 19:13.2; 4. Katie Franzmann, Sol, 19:13.5; 5. Lauren Baldwin, Ken, 19:38.4; 6. Marci Mohler, Sky, 20:08.9; 7. Synneva Hagen-Lillevik, Ken, 20:16.1; 8. Ariel Barker, Sky, 20:31.5; 9. Jessica Weimer, Sol, 20:31.8; 10. Katy Pankoski, Sol, 20:37.3; 11. Rachel McCarten, Sol, 20:39.3; 12. Elena Bird, Ken, 20:49.4; 13. Jolie Glaser, Sew, 21:04.2; 14. Megan Mahan, Hom, 21:15.9; 15. Sarah Hermann, Sew, 21:22.7; 16. Melanie Mach, Hom, 21:27.6; 17. Erika Klaar, Hom, 21:29.5; 18. Hannah Harrison, Hom, 21:31.6; 19. Sierra Williams, Sol, 21:38.6; 20. Katie Moerlein, Nin, 21:39.6; 21. Kendra Merkes, Sky, 21:41.7; 22. Anna Clock, Sew, 21:44.8; 23. Whitney Hitchcock, Nik, 21:48.6; 24. Laura Rooper, Nik, 21:59.5; 25. Sarah Glaser, Sew, 22:08.5; 26. Kendra Moerlein, Nin, 22:24.9; 27. Katie Sela, Sew, 22:26.1; 28. Michelle Oberg, Ken, 22:43.9; 29. Katie Arsenault, Hom, 22:53.4; 30. Michelle Trumpler, Sky, 23:02.8; 31. Brittany Sebastain, Sky, 23:05.2; 32. Tess Caswell, Sol, 23:10.6; 33. Larissa Cochran, Ken, 23:20.7; 34. Elsa Gaule, Sew, 23:39.5; 35. Angela Doty, Nik, 23:43.4; 36. Angela Singh, Nin, 23:52.6; 37. Amanda Skinner, Sky, 24:07.1; 38. Audrey Coon, Ken, 25:23.8; 39. Amanda Matson, Nin, 25:32.9; 40. Madison Moe, Nin, 25:38.2; 41. Courtney Schnabl, Nin, 27:59.1; 42. Ramona Baker, Nik, 29:00.7; 43. Krista Leman, Nin, NF; 44. Katie Thornton, Sky, NF.
Team scores: 1. Kenai, 40; 2. Seward, 59; 3. Soldotna, 61; 4. Homer, 87; 5. Skyview, 102; 6. Nikiski, 150.
Individual 5-kilometer results
1. Trevor Baldwin, Ken, 16:15.9; 2. Matt Adams, Sew, 16:26.9; 3. Mick Boyle, Ken, 16:34.2; 4. Monte Garroutte, Hom, 16:46.9; 5. Ryan Walton, Sol, 16:53.6; 6. Tom Blair, Sew, 17:16.7; 7. Eli Hutchison, Sky, 17:21.6; 8. Elliott Gauthier, Sky, 17:37.7; 9. Caleb Chase, Sol, 17:40.8; 10. Chris Amen, Ken, 17:50.7; 11. Alex Hundertmark, Sol, 17:56.5; 12. Jed McGlasson, Ken, 17:56.7; 13. Matthew Blair, Sew, 17:57.8; 14. Bryan Stocks, Ken, 18:06.0; 15. Mike Farrens, Hom, 18:06.8; 16. Morgan Jones, Hom, 18:08.9; 17. Levi Sutton, Sol, 18:10.0; 18. Walter Moore, Sew, 18:10.3; 19. Matt Habermann, Sol, 18:17.5; 20. David Apperson, Sew, 18:29.7; 21. Nate Buchanan, Sew, 18:36.9; 22. Leif Bardarson, Sew, 19:04.6; 23. Kyle Dudley, Sky, 19:06.5; 24. Colin McArthur, Hom, 19:13.1; 25. Ole Nyhuis, Sol, 19:14.1; 26. Robert Doty, Nik, 19:23.2; 27. Jason Schollenberg, Nin, 19:23.8; 28. Ben Kellie, Nik, 19:24.1; 29. Travis Hines, Hom, 19:28.3; 30. Jacob Gauthier, Sky, 19:58.1; 31. Paul Morin, Nik, 20:16.5; 32. Simeon Daigle, Hom, 20:17.4; 33. Rob Glaves, Sol, 20:21.9; 34. Mike Wicker, Nik, 20:22.2; 35. Ben Quesnal, Nik, 20:30.8; 36. Dale Leach, Sky, 20:36.6; 37. Jon Sanchez, Ken, 20:52.5; 38. Damon Haynes, Sky, 21:28.0; 39. John Paul Russo, Nin, 21:57.7; 40. Brendan Cuffe, Nin, 23:18.1; 41. Jesse Leman, Nin, 24:43.4; 42. Paul Kendall, Nik, 25:19.9; 43. Garrett Hoanin, Hom, NF; 44. Connor Cooper, Nin, NF.
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