SoHi girls come up golden; Kenai boys make state

Posted: Sunday, September 22, 2002

Five Kenai Peninsula high school cross country teams earned an invitation to state at Palmer High School next Saturday with the Soldotna girls leading the way.

The Stars took first place in the girls Class 4A race Saturday at the Region III Cross Country Championships at Tsalteshi Trails behind Skyview. Homer's girls grabbed third place behind runner-up Colony.

Kenai Central took third in the boys 4A race, finishing behind Kodiak and Palmer and earning a chance to compete with the state's best for the first time in at least six years.

Seward collected two state bids Saturday in 3A competition, with the Seahawks boys finishing runner-up to Valdez and the girls finishing third behind Grace and Valdez, respectively.

Soldotna coach Mark Devenney, in his 10th year at the helm, led his fifth cross country team to the state finals in as many years. He said his contribution to the Stars' success over that period has been minimal in comparison to the caliber of athletes he's had a chance to work with.

"I learned a long time ago, nobody ever won the Kentucky Derby riding a mule," Devenney said. "I knew we were going to be good, but not this good."

The Stars spaced themselves from their competition in team scoring by nearly half of Colony's points. In scoring where the lowest score wins and teams collect more points the higher their runners place, Soldotna put five finishers in the top 15 places to earn 39 points to the second-place Knights' 76 points.

Devenney said two younger runners of the five surprised him.

"We had a couple of kids that came through for us that I didn't expect to," he said of sophomore Katie Franzmann, who finished sixth, and freshman Sarah Jensen, who crossed the finish line 14th.

He said his team was under a lot of pressure because of the high expectations placed on them.

"I think this was hard on them because everybody was picking them to win," Devenney said. "But we got there."

He said a genuine team dynamic and unselfish attitude is what has ultimately contributed to the five consecutive state appearances.

"It sounds like a cliche, but this is a team effort," Devenney said. "All they care about is how the team did.

"When Jessica (Weimer) finished and I went to talk to her, the first thing she asked was, 'Did we win?' That's all everybody was asking. With kids like that, it's not hard to coach."

Top Soldotna finisher Weimer took second place to Colony senior Dominique Colberg, who defended her region title. Weimer completed her race with a time of 19 minutes, 28 seconds, behind Colberg's 19:19 finish. Skyview's Marci Mohler trailed Weimer for third with a 19:49 finish, and still qualified for state by virtue of finishing in the top 15.

 

Kenai's Mick Boyle crosses the finish line Saturday at 17.28. He led the Kards to third place and a trip to state next weekend.

Photo by M. Scott Moon

Although the final times indicate some distance among the three, they said they ran much of race together.

"We were back and forth," Weimer said. "It was nice that we kept pushing one another. But she (Colberg) pulled away at the end of the second lap. I tried to chase her but she kept going."

Colberg said the strongest part of the race was the last kilometer of the 5-kilometer race where a steep hill gave her the advantage. Were it not for that incline, she said, she might have been caught by her co-leaders.

"Hills have always been my strength," Colberg said. "I knew I didn't have enough kick to beat them otherwise."

Mohler said she got weak at the end of the race, after a strong start and a competitive run through the forest trail. She said she was unhappy with her time and would fare better against Weimer and Colberg in Palmer.

"It's not what I wanted it to be," she said of her time. "I had cramps right before the hill. I've beat both of them before. Hopefully, I'll do better at state."

Homer's Aleta Phelps finished a state-qualifying fourth, with a 20:27. Although she said she was out of the race for first through third place, she said she had a struggle of her own to overtake Soldotna's Ari Goldstein and keep that position.

"I was pretty sure I wasn't going to get up there with Marci," Phelps said. "When I caught Ari, I knew we would be battling it out for fourth. But my biggest hope (was) that the girls team (could) go to state."

Goldstein finished seventh.

Mariners coach Daryl Farrens said his girls' second-place showing at the borough meet last week showed the rest of the field, as well as his team, what Homer was capable of doing.

"We surprised a couple of folks at the boroughs last week," Farrens said. "That kind of surprised us, too. We knew there were going to be four or five teams in the hunt.

"These girls ran a good race and they all cut time off their last Skyview times. For state, we'll do a little bit of speed work the first couple of days and then ease off. Then, we'll go up there and try to catch Colony and Soldotna."

Palmer brothers Aaron and Drew Dickson finished first and second in the boys 4A race with times of 16:44 and 16:53, respectively. Stig Yngve followed them with a time of 16:58. The top peninsula finisher, Kenai's Mick Boyle, placed sixth behind Palmer's Rory Egelus. He said his time of 17:26 was close to his goal for the race, but he said he felt he could have run harder at the end.

"My time this race was about 20 seconds faster than my best finish at Skyview," he said. "I'm kind of disappointed, though. I had a little too much left at the end. Next week, I'm going to just pick it up and make sure I leave everything out there."

Boyle was one of two Kenai runners, along with Trevor Baldwin, to finish in the top 15. But the team score of 83 points was enough to beat Colony's 87 points and earn the Kardinals third place and their first state boys cross country bid in at least as long as coach Liz Burck has been at the helm.

 

Skyview's Marci Mohler, Colony's Dominique Colberg and Soldotna's Jessica Weimer run together near the half-way point of Saturday's race.

Photo by M. Scott Moon

"The boys team has really come a long way," Burck said. "Since I've been coaching -- for six years -- we haven't had a team at state. I'm really excited. Only because I knew it was going to be really close. The ultimate goal was for them to do their best. And they did that."

Homer's Monte Garroutte finished 10th with a time of 17:45. He said his legs gave out early in the race.

"This is like my worst race," he said. "I felt good for the first kilometer. But then I kind of died. I usually run up from behind people and today they were passing me."

Farrens said Garroutte would put his best foot forward in Palmer, however.

"He's saving it for state," Farrens said.

Other peninsula state qualifiers include Soldotna runner Ryan Walton, who finished 13th in the boys 4A race, and Kenai's Synneva Hagen-Lillevik, who was fifth for girls 4A.

In addition to the Seward girls team, Nikiski's Liz Lettington placed ninth to earn a state berth.

In addition to the Seward boys team, three boys from Nikiski will head to state. John Rooper was ninth, Brad Harrison was 10th and Miles Jorgensen was 13th.

REGION III CROSS COUNTRY MEET

At Tsalteshi Trails at Skyview

Saturday

GIRLS 3A

Team scores: 1. Grace, 29; 2. Valdez, 56; 3. Seward, 70; 4. Nikiski, 92; 5. Houston, 109.

Individual five-kilometer results

1. Linnea Pudwill, Hou, 20.54; 2. Nadine Fischetti, ACS, 21:19; 3. Sarah Hermann, Sew, 21.27; 4. Sarah Martinez, Grace, 21.28; 5. Rachel Daly, Grace, 22.14; 6. Ali Fisher, Val, 22.29; 7. Ondrea Barker, Grace, 22.35; 8. Shawna Hickel, Grace, 22.42; 9. Liz Lettington, Nik, 22.53; 10. Rachel Weber, Grace, 22.59; 11. Katie Miller, Val, 23.03; 12. Leah Thomas, Val, 23.05; 13. Kesa Banner, Val, 23.06; 14. Katie Sela, Sew, 23.07; 15. Katrina Davis, Grace, 23.10; 16. Katie Floyd, Nik, 23.10; 17. Brittney Sawyer, Sew, 23.37; 18. Ruth Frost, Grace, 23.39; 19. Alice Miller, Val, 23.47; 20. Anna Clock, Sew, 24.04; 21. Libby Plevka, Sew, 24.12; 22. Elsa Gaule, Sew, 24.14; 23. Carin Tauriainen, Nik, 24.17; 25. Laura Rooper, Nik, 24.26.

Other peninsula finishers

34. Willow Hetrick, Sew, 27.15.

GIRLS CLASS 4A

Team scores: 1. Soldotna, 39; 2. Colony, 76; 3. Homer, 83; 4. Kodiak, 106; 5. Palmer, 116; 6. Kenai, 125; 7. Skyview, 163; 8. Wasilla, 210.

Individual five-kilometer results

1. Dominique Colberg, Col, 19 minutes, 19 seconds; 2. Jessical Weimer, Sol, 19:28; 3. Marci Mohler, 19:49; 4. Aleta Phelps, Hom, 20:27; 5. Synneva Hagen-Lillevik, Ken, 20:44; 6. Katie Franzmann, Sol, 20:45; 7. Ari Goldstein, Sol, 20:50; 8. Renee Foster, Col, 20:54; 9. Melanie Mach, Hom, 21:02; 10. Rachel Goldstein, Sol, 21:06; 11. Kathleen LaFrance, Pal, 21:19; 12. Aisha Brown, Kod, 21:21; 13. Natalie Beach, Col, 21:22; 14. Sarah Jensen, Sol, 21:38; 15. Molly Miller, Kod, 21:45; 16. Claire Warren, Was, 21:55; 17. Hannah Homer, Hom, 21.56; 18. Elena Bird, Ken, 22.01; 19. Emily Bolling, Pal, 22.05; 20. Megan Mahan, Hom, 22.08; 21. Rachel McCarten, Sol, 22.12; 22. Krista Cowley, Kod, 22.21; 23. Roxanna Wilcox, Ken, 22.28; 24. Mary Brown, Pal, 22.32; 25. Katie Cunningham, Pal, 22.32

Other peninsula finishers

31. Sierra Williams, Sol, 22.48; 32. Michelle Trupler, Sky, 22.56; Rose Sunnhuber, Hom, 23.02; 35. Lela Wiley, Sky, 23.26; 39. Hayley Mishler, Ken, 23.41; 40. Larissa Cochran, Ken, 23.52; 41. Sara Wood, Ken, 23.52; 44. Samangha Hlpin, Hom, 24.21; 46. Stephanie Lambe, Sky, 24.50; 47. Katie, Thornton, Sky, 25.23; 48. Kayo Toyoda, Hom, 25.32; Karlyn Rmsen, Ken, 25.54; 50. Brittany Sebastian, Sky, 26.33.

BOYS CLASS 3A

Team scores: 1. Valdez, 55; 2. Seward, 61; 3. ACS, 65 (6th place = 28); 4. Grace, 65 (6th place = 30), 5. Nikiski, 87.

Individual five-kilometer results

1. David Tamura, Val, 17.22; 2. Jake Moe, ACS, 17.29; 3. Zack Davison, Grace, 17.49; 4. Matt Adams, Sew, 17.56; 5. Seth Price, Sew, 18.05; 6. Auston Ellis, Val, 18.19; 7. Joseph Gugel, Grae, 19.21; 8. Johathan Moyer, ACS, 18.25; 9. Hohn Rooper, Nik, 18.37; 10. Brad Harrison, Nik, 18.38; 11. Tommy Blair, Sew, 18.40; 12. Bart Dengel, Val, 18.42; 13. Miles Jorgensen, Nik, 18.49; 14. CJ Doyal, ACS, 18.50; 15. Ian Stewar, Val, 19.06; 16. Leif Bardarson, Sew, 19.09; 17. Paul Horstkoetter, Grace, 19.11; 18. Steven Booher, Grace, 19.12; 19. Jesse Moe, ACS, 19.16; 20. Justin Hickel, Grace, 19.17; 21. Casey Graika, Val, 19.18; 22. Jeff Scantlin, ACS, 19.22; 23. Spencer Heston, Val, 19.25; 24. Jani Lemmityinen, Nik, 19.28; 25. Walter Moore, Sew, 19.41

Other peninsula finishers

26. Nathan Buchanan, Sew, 19.45; 29. Josh Coots, Sew, 19.55; 31. Anthony Lroenzo, Nik, 20.09; 35. Lance Penhale, Nik, 20.29; 37. Paul Morin, Nik, 22.25.

BOYS CLASS 4A

Team scores: 1. Kodiak, 44; 2. Palmer, 54; 3. Kenai, 83; 4. Colony, 87; 5. Soldotna, 108; 6. Skyview, 158; 7. Homer, 201; 8. Wasilla, 217.

Individual five-kilometer results

1. Aaron Dickson, Pal, 16.44; 2. Drew Dickson, Pal, 16.53; 3. Stig Yngve, Kod, 16.58; 4. Peter Doner, Col, 17.13; 5. Rory Egelus, Pal, 17.23; 6. Mick Boyle, Ken, 17.28; 7. Bryce Lund, Kod, 17.35; 8. Sean Costello, Kod, 17.37; 9. Trevor Baldwin, Ken, 17.41; 10. Monte Garroutte, Hom, 17.45; 11. Ross Wise, Col, 17.47; 12. Jeamy Young, Kod, 17.49; 13. Ryan Walton, Sol, 17.49; 14. Chad Mortenson, Kod, 17.51; 15. Steven Guana, Kod, 17.58; 16. Daniel Harro, So, 18.05; 17. David Hernandez, Sol, 18.17; 18. Ryan Snyder, Col, 18.23; 19. Morgan Saltenberger, Ken, 18.29; 20. Ryan Ford, Pal, 18.33; 21. James Hilbish, Sky, 18.35; 22. Bryan Stocks, Ken, 18.39; 23. Chad Huggins, Col, 18.39; 24. Teo Viloria, Kod, 18.41; 25. Elliott Gauthier, Sky, 18.42.

Other peninsula finishers

27. Chris Amen, Ken, 18.47; 28. John McGlasson, Ken, 18.51; 30. Spener Litzenberger, Sol, 18.55; 32. Caleb Chase, Sol, 19.11; 34. Alex Hundertmark, Sol, 19.28; 25. Jacob Gauthier, Sky, 19.29; 36. Tyler Thornton, Sky, 19.34; 38. Cliford Cochran, Ken, 19.38; 39. Joe Blanchard, Sol, 19.41; 41. Keith Massey, Sky, 19.47; 45. David Thornton, Sky, 20.15; 49. Travis Hines, Hom, 20.31; 40. Brian Hibberd, Sky, 20.48; 52. Cody Smith, Hom, 21.07.



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