Seward's Denali Foldager runs elbow-to-elbow with Anchorage Christian's Nychele Fischetti at the 3-kilometer mark of Saturday's 1-2-3A state championship cross country race at Tsalteshi Trails. Foldager beat Fischetti by two seconds to win the race.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
It was a day for new faces on the top step of the awards podium at Skyview High School as four first-time state champions were crowned at the state cross country championships Saturday at Tsalteshi Trails.
"It's crazy," said Anchorage Christian School's Hollis Troxel after surprising himself with a victory in the Class 1-2-3A boys race.
Tyler Dinnan of Juneau-Douglas edged Palmer's Jake Parisien to take the boys 4A title, West Valley's Crystal Pitney ran away from the field to win the girls 4A title, and Seward's Denali Foldager kept the girls 1-2-3A title in the family by winning her duel with Anchorage Christian's Nychele Fischetti.
"That was hard. Nychele is a very good runner. We were together the whole way," Foldager said after pulling away over the final 100 yards to beat Fischetti by two seconds.
Foldager didn't push to the front of the 5-kilometer race from the start, but gradually worked her way there over the first kilometer, and found herself shoulder to shoulder with Fischetti for the rest of the race.
Cook Inlet Academy's Holly Kopp approaches the finish line to finish 11th in the 1-2-3A state championship. She finished with a time of 21:12.8.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
"I was just thinking, 'How am I going to pass her?'" Foldager said. "If one of us got ahead of the other, it was just for a second, then we were back together."
Foldager said her plan had been to hang back just a little at the beginning of the race, then see what she could do at the finish.
"I love to sprint. After the last little hill, she got ahead of me, but I just kept telling myself, 'I've got the downhill,'" Foldager said.
Foldager was a step ahead at the bottom of the long angle hill, then found another gear and pulled away from Fischetti as the two raced to the finish. Foldager finished in 19 minutes, 51.9 seconds.
Foldager said she was trying to keep her twin sister, 2004 champion Rubye, up front with her, but she and Fischetti were locked in their own battle.
"Rubye had it last year, it's me this year. Who knows who'll get it next year?" Foldager said.
Cook Inlet Academy's John Forsi runs near the beginning of the 1-2-3A boys race Saturday.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
Rubye Foldager finished seventh and Cook Inlet Academy's Holly Kopp was 11th in her first state championship.
"The hills were hard, and there were a lot of fast runners out there, some really good people to compete with," Kopp said.
Kopp said she was hoping for a top 10 finish but was happy with what she got, and added that Saturday's race gave her some motivation to train hard for next year.
Nikiski's Laura Rooper was 41st, 3:17.4 behind the winner.
Grace Christian, led by Casey and Sarah Martinez in fourth and sixth, respectively, picked up the 1-2-3A girls team title.
West Valley's Pitney had a healthy lead 3 kilometers into the girls 4A race and won in 18:57.0, 26 seconds ahead of West's Shoshana Keegan.
"It was fun. This is one of the best courses," said Pitney, last year's runner-up. "The transitions are nice. I like the second lap being shorter it makes it easy to pace."
The Wolfpack also placed four runners in the top eight to claim the team title.
Kenai's Alee Rowley finished 28th, 2:07.5 behind the winner.
"It was a fast race. Everyone was really fast. I was pretty close, but I didn't quite get my goal," Rowley said.
Rowley said she wanted to catch a few more runners late in the race.
"I picked off a few, but not too many, I guess," Rowley said, adding that she was happy with the way her senior season went.
Skyview's Ariel Barker was 41st and Michaela Hutchison was 65th.
"There's a lot of fast girls in this state," Hutchison said.
The 1-2-3A boys set a blistering pace at the start, with Chevak's Casey Ferguson leading the way early. Troxel said he got a burst of energy coming up the last big hill and was able to move to the front of the pack. He hung on to win in 17:26.5.
"(My plan) was to go after whoever was in front of me. Then I just kept going I was scared of everybody behind me," Troxel said. "There's a lot of good runners a lot."
The only thing missing from his win, said an emotional Troxel, was his father, who was recently deployed to Iraq.
Troxel edged Grace Christian's Elliot Gauthier by 3.8 seconds.
"I love this course. I used to train on it when I went to Skyview," Gauthier said.
Gauthier said the pace was fast at the start.
"Just with the pressure of the state tournament, they start at too fast a pace," Gauthier said. "I hung back and tried to work my way up and save enough for the last lap."
"It was really, really fast," said Cook Inlet Academy's John Forsi. "We've been practicing here for the last two weeks, and today just seemed more muddy, more hilly and more difficult."
Lars Arneson led the Eagles with his 54th-place finish while Seward, led by David Apperson in 16th, took third in the team standings behind team champion Anchorage Christian and runner-up Grace.
The boys 4A race was a little more conservative at the start but certainly finished fast.
"I definitely wanted to go out easy," said Dinnan, the winner from Juneau-Douglas. "I know how hilly the course is, and a conservative start is a better bet."
Dinnan said he tried to break away over the final two kilometers, but Parisien stayed right with him. Both runners said they were nervous running against the other since they hadn't been at the same race since last year's state championships.
"I didn't know if I was going to be up with them," Parisien said.
Dinnan won in 16:45.2 while Parisien was just eight-tenths of a second behind.
Soldotna's Patrick Lybrand was 17th while Kenai's Levi Sutton was 43rd.
"I just went out there to run my hardest and have fun," Lybrand said. "I'm pretty pleased with how I did. I wanted to stay close around the Kodiak kids and get in around 15th, which I came pretty close to."
"Over the last kilometer, I felt good. I just wish I could've picked off a few more people at the end," Sutton said.
ASAA/First National Bank Alaska State Cross Country Championships
Saturday at Tsalteshi Trails
1-2-3A team results 1. Grace Christian, 70; 2. Haines, 94; 3. Seward, 97; 4. Anchorage Christian, 103; 5. Bethel, 151; 6. Craig, 161; 7. Susitna Valley, 164; 8. Delta Junction, 166; 9. Nome-Beltz, 178; 10. Cook Inlet Academy, 210.
1-2-3A individual results 1. Denali Foldager, Sew, 19:51.9; 2. Nychele Fischetti, ACS, 19:53.9; 3. Joanna Lende, Hai, 20:02.2; 4. Casey Martinez, Gra, 20:26.3; 5. Stoli Lende, Hai, 20:37.4; 6. Sarah Martinez, Gra, 20:44.9; 7. Rubye Foldager, Sew, 20:50.9; 8. Maggie Embick, Val, 20:51.1; 9. Christine Hansen, Hai, 20:54.0; 10. Hilldie Wilt, Una, 21:06.5; 11. Holly Kopp, CIA, 21:12.8; 12. Kayti Krepel, SuV, 21:15.0; 13. Courtney Talerico, Tri, 21:19.5; 14. Maggie Miller, ACS, 21:21.6; 15. Camy Dengel, Cal, 21:34.5.
Other peninsula finishers 32. Tekla Backlund, Sew, 22:32.6; 34. Sara Glaser, Sew, 22:34.6; 41. Laura Rooper, Nik, 23:09.3; 43. Brooke Forsi, CIA, 23:16.2; 58. Juno Prochazka, Sew, 23:58.8; 61. Kendra Oldow, Sew, 24:07.0; 78. Sara Wood, CIA, 24:58.8; 79. Chelsea Hardcastle, CIA, 25:29.7; 86. Stephanie Clausen, Sew, 27:12.2; 87. Kaitlin White, CIA, 28:16.4.
4A team results 1. West Valley, 37; 2. West, 70; 3. Service, 83; 4. South Anchorage, 85; 5. Juneau-Douglas, 125; 6. East, 144; 7. Kodiak, 180; 8. Lathrop, 213; 9. Wasilla, 269; 10. Palmer, 286; 11. Sitka, 310.
4A individual results 1. Crystal Pitney, WV, 18:57.0; 2. Shoshana Keegan, Wes, 19:23.0; 3. Jackie Holt, Ser, 19:29.4; 4. Becca Rorabaugh, WV, 19:30.9; 5. Katie Krchlik, JD, 19:42.5; 6. Ariel Roclle, Wes, 19:43.6; 7. Kayla Teslow, WV, 19:44.2; 8. Maggie Callahan, WV, 19:59.6; 9. Stephanie Wettin, SA, 20:12.5; 10. Simone Girst, Ser, 20:19.8; 11. Abby Reed, Kod, 20:27.1; 12. Jassima Wortelkamp, NP, 20:29.2; 13. Kendra Kennedy, Ser, 20:31.2; 14. Josie Roberts, Wes, 20:34.1; 15. Julie McMahon, Wes, 20:34.9.
Other peninsula finishers 28. Alee Rowley, Ken, 21:04.5; 41. Ariel Barker, Sky, 21:36.3; 65. Michaela Hutchison, Sky, 22:17.8; 66. Tia Halpin, Hom, 22:18.8; 69. Katie Arsenault, Hom, 22:39.8.
1-2-3A team results 1. Anchorage Christian, 45; 2. Grace Christian, 50; 3. Seward, 101; 4. Susitna Valley, 131; 5. Chevak, 152; 6. Wrangell, 153; 7. Haines, 162; 8. Eielson, 169; 9. Cook Inlet Academy, 230; 10. Kotzebue, 232.
1-2-3A individual results 1. Hollis Troxel, ACS, 17:26.5; 2. Elliott Gauthier, Gra, 17:30.3; 3. Chandler Kemp, Hai, 17:33.4; 4. Carlos Arias, ACS, 17:34.5; 5. Casey Ferguson, Che, 17:37.7; 6. Jareth Boyscout, Che, 17:57.3; 7. Josh Baker, ACS, 17:59.5; 8. Boone Howard, SuV, 18:04.7; 9. Leif Karlberg, 18:04.9; 10. Kyle Knight, Pet, 18:06.3; 11. Drew Edwards, Gra, 18:06.5; 12. Logan Stople, Pet, 18:09.0; 13. Scott Hatter, Gra, 18:10.1; 14. Ben Bachand, ACS, 18:15.4; 15. Travis Eveland, Kia, 18:24.0.
Other peninsula finishers 16. David Apperson, Sew, 18:25.1; 18. Matt Nyholm, Sew, 18:27.6; 22. Travis Price, Sew, 18:32.3; 43. Mark Chase, Sew, 19:29.9; 45. Matthew Blair, Sew, 19:34.1; 54. Lars Arneson, CIA, 19:57.2; 64. John Forsi, CIA, 20:16.8; 68. Kevin Talens, Sew, 20:23.8; 70. Chuck Kopp, CIA, 20:26.7; 80. Scott Litchfield, CIA, 20:40.6; 83. Kipp Dixon, Sew, 20:56.7; 98. Marcus Brown, CIA, 22:31.9; 99. Mark Beeson, CIA, 22:35.9.
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