Nanooks XC runners start season on southern swing
Bartlett Quad meet
Even though the Nome-Beltz school doors were not yet open for business, cross country running class was ready this weekend for a group of Nanook runners traveling south to attend a pair of meets, each featuring five-kilometer courses. On Friday the team ran at Bartlett High School in Anchorage and Saturday the crew drove south to Soldotna.
Head Coach Jeff Collins said he is working with a younger and more inexperienced team than he has had in recent years, especially on the girls side. Of the 10 traveling runners, only one was a senior.
The Friday afternoon boys race presented a contest between 3A schools from Nome, Anchorage Christian, Seward and Kotzebue. ACS scored a paltry 21 points by placing five runners in the first seven spots. Nome ended up in third place behind Seward. Kotzebue was fourth.
Senior Hunter Kratz of Seward won the boys event in a time of 16 minutes, 22.2 seconds. Nome was paced by senior Wilson Hoogendorn who placed sixth out of 36 with a time of 18:49.3. Junior Aaron Rose also cracked the top 10 with a ninth place finish and a time of 19:19.4. He was two seconds behind Kotzebue’s top runner, senior Harry Baldwin. Nome’s Matthew Nielson was the second freshman to cross the line, and grabbed 13th place with a time of 19:51.2.
Seward topped the girl’s field of 20 racers. They were led by junior Ruby Lindquist’s 20:06.0 showing. Nome finished third behind ACS. Kotzebue did not have enough to register as a team, as they traveled with only three girls.
Nanooks Sophomore Starr Erikson grabbed fourth place in the girls division with a time of 23:29.4. Junior Mary Fiskeaux and freshman Mallory Conger found themselves in the top ten with seventh and tenth place finishes, and times of 24:36.9 and 25:24.8 respectively. Conger posted the fastest time among freshman girls.
Other Nanook boy runners were junior Jamie Yi in 18th place with a time of 20:45.6, and junior John Wade in 18th place with a time of 23:00. Rounding out the girls results were freshman Ava Earthman in 13th place with a time of 26:12.4, and sophomore Daynon Medlin who placed 17th in a time of 28:52.0. Kotzebue’s top runner was senior Moira Sheldon who placed 15th with a time of 26:41.1.
“Friday was the testing ground,” said Collins. “It was the first high school meet ever for three of the runners. They had to figure out what a high school cross country running meet is all about. Our freshman looked like runners on Saturday. Completely different people!” He was also pleased the younger runners got to see the course that state qualifiers will use on October 1.
Saturday’s Tsalteshi Invitational in Soldotna represented an even bigger challenge for the Nanooks as they found themselves in races with well over 100, mostly large school, 4A runners. Collins said it was a big test for Nome and Kotzebue to be racing on back-to-back days.
The top boys varsity team at the meet was West Anchorage High School, besting 19 other squads. The top runner was sophomore Finn Walker of West who completed the five-kilometer course in first place with a time of 16:07.
In a field of seventeen teams, the top girls varsity squad was Chugiak High School. Kendall Kramer of West Valley High School was the top girl, crossing the finish line in 19:07.
The “races within a race” pitted Nome against rivals from western Alaska. The Nanooks boys team placed 18th, one spot higher than Bethel, and two above Kotzebue. The Nanook girls ended up in 16th. They too, were one spot above Bethel in the standings. Kotzebue again did not qualify enough runners to register a team score.
The Nanook boys were again led by Hoogendorn who placed 85th out of 140 runners with a time of 18:41. He was followed by Rose, who cracked the top 100 finishing in 100th place in 19:03. Nielson placed 115th in a time of 19:55. Yi came in 121st, crossing the line in 20:34, and Wade finished as the 137th runner to finish, coming across in 23:22.
Baldwin was Kotzebue’s top runner finishing one place and one second ahead of Rose. Bethel’s top runner was junior Hunter Crace who placed 103rd at 19:11.
Starr Erikson turned in the top Nome girls time in Soldotna, finishing in 23:46, which placed her 86th out of 110 runners. Fiskeaux and Conger were in the top 100, with 96th and 98th place finishes. Their times were 24:58 and 25:31, respectively. Earthman finished in 103rd place with a time of 26:10 and Medlin was the 113th to finish, crossing the line in 29:57.
The top runner from Bethel was junior Dorothy Bukowski who took 79th place with a time of 23:15. Sheldon again led Kotzebue. She placed 106th and finished in 26:37.
Anvil Mountain Challenge
The Nome high school runners not traveling south for the weekend took part in the annual 59-minute, 37-second Anvil Mountain Challenge, hosted by Leo Rasmussen. The race was also attended by runners from the junior high squad as well as two members of the community.
The race with the unusual name came about when Rasmussen took his daughter Kristina out to show her that running, or walking, to the top of Anvil Mountain and back was possible. His time 19 years ago, of course, was 59 minutes, 37 seconds.
The challenging course begins at the base of the Anvil Mountain Road, just off the Dexter Bypass Road, and ascends some 800 feet in less than a mile and a half. The race’s main requirement is that participants complete the course in less time than Rasmussen’s inaugural run.
The first to cross the line was Harrison Moore in a time of 22:55. He was followed by Ben Cross and community runner Nils Hahn, who completed the course in 23:46 and 24:58, respectively. The top adult female runner, and eighth overall, was Megan Hahn who posted a time of 31:24. The top junior high athletes were Tobin Hobbs, who finished in 6th place with a time of 26:14, and Kylee Deering, who was the ninth to cross the finish line in 31:15.
Overall results were 1) Harrison Moore, 22:55; 2) Ben Cross, 23:45; 3) Nils Hahn, 24:48; 4) Brayden Bahnke, 26:03; 5) Tobin Hobbs, 26:14; 6) Son Erikson, 26:50; 7) Owen Johanson, 31:15; 8) Megan Hahn, 31:24; 9) Kylee Deering, 32:15; 10) Reese Bahnke, 32:59; 11) Clara Hansen, 35:21; 12) Emelyne Hobbs, 35:36; 13) Alicyn Bahnke, 36:19; 14) Katie Smith, 38.27; 15) Sophia Hobbs, 35:36; 16) Della Medlin, 41:21; 17) Natalie Parker, 41:49; 18) Katie Kelso, 43:33; 19) Sara Wade, 43:34; 20) Lizzy Hahn, 49:55; 21) Lupe Callahan, 58:24, 22) Raina McRae, 59:07.