Kenai Central senior Mick Boyle made good on a goal to finish in the top 10 in the Class 4A boys race at the state cross country championships in Palmer Saturday.
And, it should go without saying for area cross country fans, Kardinals junior Trevor Baldwin also accomplished his mission of a top-10 finish at the sun-splashed Michael Janecek Running Trails.
See, when it comes to running, the Kardinals teammates have done nearly everything within a few paces of each other this season.
Boyle finished sixth with a time of 16 minutes, 37 seconds, while Baldwin was seventh in 16:38. Kenai was the only Class 4A boys team to place two runners in the top 10, but Juneau-Douglas won the Class 4A boys crown for the first time in school history.
In other peninsula highlights in the boys races at state, Homer senior Monte Garroutte finished eighth in the Class 4A race while Seward's Matt Adams and Cook Inlet Academy's Brian Beeson and Thomas Minelga were all in the top 10 in the Class 123A race.
In the Class 123A team race, the runner-up Seahawks finished two points behind Valdez as the Buccaneers took their third straight team title.
Kenai's Boyle and Baldwin developed their affinity for finishing together by training together.
"We live really close to each other, so in the summer we end up running a lot together," Boyle said. "We're always going out and pushing each other in practice."
Added Baldwin, who unsurprisingly had quickly joined the Boyle interview: "We do mile relays in practice, and he'll push me on one lap, while I'll push him on the next lap."
Saturday, it was Boyle doing most of the pushing. He had finished sixth at state last year, and was in fifth one-third of the way though the 5-kilometer race. Meanwhile, Baldwin was in seventh.
"I was just working really hard at holding my position," Boyle said. "I figured (Baldwin) would come up and join me eventually."
Boyle was happy to finish sixth at state again because he said the race was much more competitive this year. His time this year was about six seconds faster than last year's.
Baldwin, meanwhile, improved on a 13th-place effort from last year. With with three juniors placing ahead of him, including champion Jesse Cherry of Chugiak, Baldwin has plenty to look forward to next year.
"Hopefully, (Boyle) will have a nice college training plan over the summer that we can do," Baldwin said. "I don't know what I'll do during the school season when I'm by myself."
Right behind Boyle and Baldwin was Homer's Garroutte, who made up for a 43rd-place finish at state last season after finishing sixth in the state as a sophomore.
"Last season was not what I wanted, and I expected to turn it up at state and couldn't," Garroutte said. "My finish today wasn't an ideal utopia, but I feel pretty good about it."
In the Class 123A boys race, Adams and his Seward teammates used a patient strategy for success.
"Everyone starts too hard at state because they get excited," Adams said. "Our coach (Dan Marshall) told us not to start too hard.
"After the first (of three laps), I was in the back third of the pack."
Then Adams and his teammates began to rapidly pick off runners, especially on the course's short downhills. The ploy worked as Adams finished third.
"We're one of the only teams that don't rest on the downhills," said Adams, who was eighth at state last year. "We push hard."
Among the runners Adams caught was CIA's Beeson and Minelga, who led the Eagles to a third-place team finish. Beeson, who matched his fourth-place finish at state last year, broke out in a lead pack with champion David Tamura of Valdez and runner-up Tomas Paniataaq of Nome.
"They pushed me pretty hard, and I was having a hard time keeping up," Beeson said. "The second pack was coming up behind me, but I dug deep and pulled it out."
Beeson was pumped up about the ninth-place finish of Minelga, because Beeson will be looking for a training partner next summer in hopes of catching juniors Paniataaq and Adams.
123A individual results 1. Tamura, David, Val, 16:42.67; 2. Paniataaq, Tomas, Nom, 16:46.53; 3. Adams, Matt, Sew, 17:00.69; 4. Beeson, Brian, CIA, 17:20.31; 5. Ferguson, Casey, Che, 17:23.33; 6. Gugel, Joseph, Gra, 17:24.95; 7. Eversman, Chris, Eie, 17:27.28; 8. Ellis, Auston, Val, 17:28.51; 9. Minelga, Thomas, CIA, 17:34.96; 10. Moyer, Jonathan, ACS, 17:36.84; 11. Blair, Tom, Sew, 17:39.13; 12. Stewart, Ian, Val, 17:43.13; 13. Bynum, Cameron, Del, 17:46.59; 14. Blair, Matthew, Sew, 17:47.02; 15. James, Kyle, ME, 17:48.77; 16. Howard, Boone, SuV, 17:57.16; 17. Moe, Jesse, ACS, 18:02.67; 18. Mulvihill, Kyle, Skagway, 18:13.83; 19. Carpluk, Rodney, Monroe, 18:16.22; 20. Moore, Walter, Sew, 18:17.85; 21. Graika, Skylar, Val, 18:19.28; 22. Howell, Mike, Wra, 18:20.25; 23. Knight, Casey, Pet, 18:20.52; 24. Apperson, David, Sew, 18:21.03; 25. Brown, Greg, CIA, 18:21.72.
Other peninsula finishers 32. Bardarson, Leif, Sew, 18:29.63; 44. Hall, Andy, CIA, 18:43.51; 57. Alsworth, Trapper, CIA, 18:59.97; 61. Buchanan, Nate, Sew, 19:01.91; 77. Forsi, John, CIA, 19:22.43; 96. Brown, Marcus, CIA, 23:06.48.
4A team results 1. Juneau-Douglas, 67; 2. Chugiak, 78; 3. Dimond, 86; 4. West Valley, 135; 5. East, 137; 6. Kodiak, 138; 7. Lathrop, 146; 8. Colony, 154; 9. Soldotna, 205; 10. Sitka, 274.
4A individual results 1. Cherry, Jesse, Chu, 15:48.45; 2. McDowell, Devin, Lat, 15:50.38; 3. Quickel, Jeff, Dim, 16:02.61; 4. Doner, Peter, Col, 16:21.87; 5. Knutson-Lombardo, Tristan, Jun, 16:28.75; 6. Boyle, Mick, Ken, 16:37.87; 7. Baldwin, Trevor, Ken, 16:38.43; 8. Garroutte, Monte, Hom, 16:46.93; 9. Yngve, Stig, Kod, 16:48.23; 10. Tomsich, Tony, WV, 16:54.66; 11. Singleton, Justin, Chu, 16:56.15; 12. Murphy, John, Chu, 17:00.64; 13. Pitt, Ryan, Eas, 17:02.19; 14. Dinnan, Tyler, Jun, 17:06.54; 15. Costello, Sean, Kod, 17:08.21; 16. Donahue, Ryan, Dim, 17:09.85; 17. Walton, Ryan, Sol, 17:10.58; 18. Ryan, Orin, Lat, 17:10.95; 19. Dinnan, Wesley, Jun, 17:12.84; 20. Huebschen, Ray, Jun, 17:14.45; 21. Milligan, Isaac, Jun, 17:18.00; 22. Davin, Tim, Jun, 17:19.76; 23. Steiner-Bailey, Kael, Dim, 17:23.08; 24. Wise, Ross, Col, 17:24.74; 25. Clark, Dan, Eas, 17:25.37.
Other peninsula finishers 33. Navarro, Rob, Sol, 17:36.73; 45. Gauthier, Elliott, Sky, 17:50.38; 46. Hutchinson, Eli, Sky, 17:50.64; 57. Chase, Caleb, Sol, 18:04.67; 74. Hundertmark, Alex, Sol, 18:41.66; 78. Sutton, Levi, Sol, 19:01.01; 80. Haberman, Matt, Sol, 19:08.18; 85. Vaissenberg, Anton, Sol, 21:30.53.
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