Soldotna High School's Ari Goldstein runs through the finish chute at Skyview High School Saturday afternoon on her way to a second state championship.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
Ari Goldstein reigned in the rain Saturday, once again dominating the field to repeat as the state class 4A cross country champion.
"Our whole team, we're tough," Goldstein said of running in 38-degree temperatures on a wet and windy day. "We train in this. We were ready for anything."
Goldstein took her place out in front of the field from the start and finished the 5-kilometer Tsalteshi Trails course in 19 minutes, 1 second, nine seconds better than second-place Crystal Pitney of West Valley. Soldotna's Katie Franzmann was third in 19:16 after battling with Pitney throughout the race.
Chugiak's Jesse Cherry also was dominant in the boys 4A race, winning in 16:35, nine seconds better than Juneau-Douglas' Tristan Knutson-Lombardo.
"Coach (Mark) Devenney and I talked about the race, and he said to just go out and go for it," Goldstein said of her race strategy.
Soldotna finished fifth overall in the team standings, and while Goldstein said she was excited to repeat as state champion, she was quick to share her pride in her teammates.
"Our team really came out and ran great today. We all pulled it together today and went out with a bang," Goldstein, one of five seniors running for Soldotna, said. "We came out here and just hung tough. We did as well as we could. We left it all on the course."
"Our team did so good -- I'm just so sad that this is my last time running with them, but I think it was a good one," said Franzmann, also a senior. "I ran as hard as I could. That West Valley girl (Pitney), it was her day today."
Led by Pitney and with three runners in the top 10, West Valley won the girls 4A title with 41 points, beating out Juneau-Douglas and East.
After Goldstein and Franzmann, Skyview's Ariel Barker posted the peninsula's next best finish, crossing the line in 29th place. Kenai's Synneva Hagen-Lillevik had a good race to finish 33rd, and Homer's Melanie Mach was 38th.
"Coach (Daryl Farrens) set two goals for me," Mach said. "One was to get my fastest time -- I was a minute off of that -- and the other one was to beat a certain girl, and I beat her, so at least I did that."
In the boys race, Cherry worked his way to the front of the pack coming up the first hill and never looked back. Juneau-Douglas placed three runners in the top 10 to take first in the team standings, ahead of West Valley and Anchorage's West High.
Trevor Baldwin was the peninsula's top finisher, crossing the line in ninth, though he said he was disappointed with his performance.
"I was really shooting for top five. I went out a little too hard and that killed me in the long run," Baldwin said.
After that, Baldwin said, it became a mental race as he tried to keep pushing himself the rest of the way.
"All in all, I feel pretty good about the season, but I really wanted it to be here that I peaked," Baldwin said.
Skyview's Elliott Gauthier was 18th, finishing five places ahead of teammate Eli Hutchison.
"It was a hard day to race, but now I look at this number (he was handed a slip of paper denoting his 18th-place finish after crossing the line), it makes it all worthwhile," Gauthier said. "It helps having this course to train on every day."
Levi Sutton was 24th for Kenai, and Soldotna's Patrick Lybrand and Rob Navarro got a taste of state championship competition with their respective 34th- and 50th-place finishes.
"We got to see how it felt. We'll be here as a team next year. I'm looking forward to that," Lybrand said.
While the young Soldotna boys team is looking forward, Saturday was emotional for the Soldotna girls. The five seniors on the team wrap up their careers with three top-six finishes in state competition. The team also was awarded the 2004 sportsmanship award at the meet.
Goldstein said that even when she's all alone out in front of the pack, it's her team that's pushing her forward.
"I think of (Katie Franzmann) when I'm out there and everybody else. Whenever we get tired, we think of the team and that helps us through," Goldstein said.
Goldstein and her teammates also credited their coach with pushing them to excel.
"It's really Coach Devenney. He's the one who put us together and got us through this," Goldstein said. "I'm just happy to be part of this team. This kind of thing doesn't happen very often. I feel happy to be a part of it."
First National Bank Alaska/Alaska School Activities Association 2004 State Cross Country Running Championships
Saturday at Tsalteshi Trails
4A team standings -- 1. West Valley, 41; 2. Juneau-Douglas, 64; 3. East, 68; 4. Service, 135; 5. Soldotna, 144; 6. Dimond, 148; 7. Kodiak, 169; 8. Lathrop, 188; 9. Kenai, 205; 10. Sitka, 263.
Top 15 individual 4A finishers -- 1. Ari Goldstein, Sol, 19:01; 2. Crystal Pitney, WV, 19:10; 3. Katie Franzmann, Sol, 19:16; 4. Soshana Keegan, Wes, 20:02; 5. Becca Rorabaugh, WV, 20:08; 6. Lexi Garvey, JD, 20:15; 7. Maggie Callahan, WV, 20:27; 8. Kendra Kennedy, Ser, 20:30; 9. Feona Yancey, Bar, 20:32; 10. Minato Teraoka, Eas, 20:32; 11. Sarah Gollub, Eas, 20:34; 12. Ariel Roelle, Eas, 20:42; 13. Katie Krehlik, JD, 20:45; 14. Christina Gillis, WV, 20:47; 15. Megan Bush, JD, 20:53.
Other peninsula finishers -- 29. Ariel Barker, Sky, 21:25; 33. Synneva Hagen-Lillevik, Ken, 21:34; 38. Melanie Mach, Hom, 21:46; 39. Lauren Baldwin, Ken, 21:46; 49. Elena Bird, Ken, 22:04; 54. Katy Pankoski, Sol, 22:19; 55. Rachel McCartan, Sol, 22:23; 58. Brittany Osland, Sol, 22:30; 59. Alee Rowley, Ken, 22:44; 65. Michelle Oberg, Ken, 23:32; 71. Amanda Boll, Sol, 24:23; 72. Leana Purruggannon, Sol, 24:34; 79. Jessica Summer, Ken, 25:56; 80. Anina Stauffacher, Ken, 27:32.
4A team standings -- 1. Juneau-Douglas, 54; 2. West Valley, 91; 3. West, 104; 4. Dimond, 107; 5. Lathrop, 133; 6. Chugiak, 144; 7. Kodiak, 146; 8. Kenai, 168; 9. Palmer, 180; 10. Sitka, 259.
Top 15 individual 4A finishers -- 1. Jesse Cherry, Chu, 16:35; 2. Tristan Knutson Lombardo, JD, 16:44; 3. Tyler Dinnan, JD, 16:45; 4. Tony Tomsich, WV, 16:56; 5. Rory Egelus, Pal, 17:01; 6. John Murphy, Chu, 17:11; 7. Wesley Dinnan, JD, 17:13; 8. Anders Gillis, WV, 19:19; 9. Trevor Baldwin, Ken, 17:24; 10. Ryan Donahue, Dim, 17:27; 11. Jacob Parisien, Pal, 17:30; 12. Peter Donor, Col, 17:34; 13. Kyle Hall, Wes, 17:35; 14. Tony Quickel, Dim, 17:37; 15. Ray Huebschen, JD, 17:40.
Other peninsula finishers -- 18. Elliott Gauthier, Sky, 17:47; 23. Eli Hutchison, Sky, 17:55; 24. Levi Sutton, Ken, 17:58; 34. Patrick Lybrand, Sol, 18:12; 38. Jed McGlasson, Ken, 18:20; 50. Rob Navarro, Sol, 18:35; 61. John McGlasson, Ken, 18:50; 64. Chris Amen, Ken, 18:53; 72. Kris Larson, Ken, 19:21.
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