Seward twins Rubye and Denali Foldager lead Soldotna's Kahlia McDermott-Johnson through a puddle near the beginning of Saturday's race. Denali won the event while her sister took second 32 seconds later.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
Though the steady rain of the past few days had finally let up by the time racing started, it was still a day for mudders at Saturday's Kenai Peninsula Borough Cross Country Championships at Tsalteshi Trails.
"I had fun with the puddles," said Denali Foldager of Seward, who splashed her way around the 5-kilometer course to win the girls race in 21 minutes, 4.7 seconds. "We were having a contest to see who could get the muddiest."
While Foldager might not have won that contest, she was excited to win her first borough title and led the Seward girls to the team championship.
In the boys competition, Soldotna's Patrick Lybrand churned through the puddles to lead the Stars to the team title, edging out Seward. After hanging with the frontrunners for the first half of the race, Lybrand was able to pull away and win the race in 18:13.7, 20.5 seconds ahead of Seward's David Apperson and 25 seconds in front of Soldotna teammate Rob Navarro.
Boys slog through a large puddle near the middle of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Cross Country Championships at Tsalteshi Trails Saturday afternoon. Recent rains left much of the trail wet and muddy.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
"The trails were a little harder (to run on) but I think I accomplished what I was supposed to," Lybrand said.
Lybrand said he tried to use the wet conditions to his advantage, speeding up through the puddles and pushing hard on the climbs in the second half of the race. From there, he was able to cruise to the finish.
"The puddles weren't too bad, but all that mud, you had to push harder and kick harder to get through it without slowing down," Lybrand said.
Lybrand said his team knew their times from previous races matched up well with times Seward runners have posted.
"The whole team was trying to beat Seward kids," Lybrand said.
Soldotna and Seward dominated the top 10, with Seward's Apperson in second, Travis Price in fifth and Matt Nyholm in seventh while the Stars' Caleb Chase was eighth and Alex Stone was ninth, joining Lybrand and Navarro on the awards podium.
"Our team really wanted to win, but we knew there was a lot of good competition and we had our work cut out for us," Apperson said. "My goal was to win, but (Lybrand) had a really good race. For the finish, I decided I had to second and I wouldn't settle for third."
Kenai Central placed a pair of runners in the top ten as Levi Sutton was fourth and Trent Semmens was sixth, and the Kardinals were third in the team standings.
Soldotna's Patrick Lybrand kicks to a first-place finish in the Kenai Peninsula Borough Cross Country Championships Saturday.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
The fourth-place Homer mariners were led by Garrett Hoanin in 11th place while Skyview's Mike Moerlein was 10th as the Panthers finished fifth in the team standings.
Foldager led a trio of girls runners that pulled away near the start of the race and included her sister Rubye as well as Kenai's Alee Rowley. Denali was able to put some space between herself and Rubye and Rowley midway through the race, and Rubye Foldager pushed ahead of Rowley late in the race to take second.
"I knew that they'd take first and second," Rowley said of the Foldagers. "My goal was to get third place and to stay with them as long as I could."
Foldager said her goal was to win, but also wanted to prove that last year's finish at the 1-2-3A state championships Denali was runner-up to Rubye in that race was no freshman fluke.
"I wanted to prove I could win a race pretty good. I'm pretty pleased," Denali Foldager said.
Skyview placed a pair of runners in the top 10 as Ariel Barker was fourth and Michaela Hutchison was fifth.
"The conditions, they were yucky, but it made it fun," Barker said, adding that she was pleased with her finish.
Soldotna's Brittany Osland was sixth and Kahlia McDermott-Johnson was 10th, and Homer's Tia Halpin placed seventh while teammate Katie Arsenault was ninth to lead the Mariners to a surprise second-place team finish.
"That was a surprise to us," Halpin said.
Nikiski's Laura Rooper also had a top-10 finish, placing eighth.
Individual results 1. Denali Foldager, Sew, 21 minutes, 4.7 seconds; 2. Rubye Foldager, Sew, 21:37.0; 3. Alee Rowley, Ken, 21:53.9; 4. Ariel Barker, Sky, 22:22.8; 5. Michaela Hutchison, Sky, 22:33.7; 6. Brittany Osland, Sol, 22:41.4; 7. Tia Halpin, Hom, 22:49.8; 8. Laura Rooper, Nik, 22:55.4; 9. Katie Arsenault, Hom, 22:58.0; 10. Kahlia McDermott-Johnson, Sol, 23:08.8; 11. Sarah Glaser, Sew, 23:19.2; 12. Tekla Backlund, Sew, 23:25.0; 13. Julie Seneff, Homer, 23:33.4; 14. Lauren Baldwin, Ken, 23:37.3; 15. Emily Laukitis, Hom, 23:43.3; 16. Amanda Millay, Sky, 23:43.8; 17. Claire Laukitis, Hom, 24:00.5; 18. Kendra Oldow, Sew, 24:29.0; 19. Juno Prochazka, Sew, 24:29.3; 20. Kendra Merkes, Sky, 24:30.5; 21. Kristen VanTrease, Hom, 24:48.7; 22. Heather Roesing, Sky, 25:20.7; 23. Hannah Chase, Sol, 25:28.6; 24. Sarah Walton, Sol, 25:40.5; 25. Claudia Meder, Ken, 25:52.5; 26. Donica Severs, Sol, 26:47.5; 27. Stephanie Clausen, Sew, 26:54.7; 28. Samara Wasson, Hom, 27:02.5; 29. Gerrica Moore, Ken, 29:04.7; 30. Kim Kurzendoerfer, Ken, 30:16.8.
Individual results 1. Patrick Lybrand, Sol, 18:13.7; 2. David Apperson, Sew, 18:34.2; 3. Rob Navarro, Sol, 18:38.7; 4. Levi Sutton, Ken, 18:45.2; 5. Travis Price, Sew, 18:47.4; 6. Trent Semmens, Ken, 18:50.0; 7. Matt Nyholm, Sew, 18:54.2; 8. Caleb Chase, Sol, 18:56.5; 9. Alex Stone, Sol, 18:57.8; 10. Mike Moerlein, Sky, 19:00.6; 11. Garrett Hoanin, Hom, 19:03.4; 12. Kris Larson, Ken, 19:04.3; 13. Johnny Cook, Sky, 19:37.1; 14. Beto Casio, Hom, 19:41.3; 15. Ben Hawkins, Hom, 19:49.1; 16. Lucas Thein, Sky, 19:51.7; 17. Sean Twohy, Sol, 20:00.7; 18. Kipp Dixon, Sew, 20:01.4; 19. Mark Chase, Sew, 20:02.5; 20. Anton Weissenberg, Sol, 20:14.9; 21. Jonathan Seneff, Hom, 20:14.9; 22. Mike Wicker, Nik, 20:23.7; 23. Tommy Honer, Sky, 20:24.6; 24. Brad Denesen, Ken, 20:29.5; 25. Patrick Schneider, Hom, 20:30.2; 26. Jordan Merkes, Sky, 20:37.2; 27. Colin McArthur, Hom, 20:37.4; 28. Scott Begins, Sky, 20:40.2; 29. Kevin Talens, Sew, 20:45.6; 30. Corey Rainey, Ken, 20:55.5; 31. Jed Smith, Hom, 20:56.0; 32. Aaron Chase, Sol, 21:13.8; 33. Nate Buchanan, Sew, 21:14.1; 34. Ryan McMilin, Sky, 21:48.0; 35. Antoine Fluck, Ken, 23:36.5; 36. Aaron Agosti, Ken, 23:36.8.
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