NOME INVITE XC RACE—Jeremiah Aukongak, from Golovin, leads Middle School cross-country racers from Unalakleet, Kotzebue, Shaktoolik, Wales, Brevig Mission and Nome down Anvil Mountain.

Nome-Beltz hosts biggest cross-country meet in a decade

By Peter Loewi
Racers flocked to the Nome Invite last weekend, with student athletes from Utqiagvik, Tikigaq, Kotzebue, Wales, Teller, Brevig Mission, White Mountain, Golovin, Koyuk, Shaktoolik, Unalakleet, and Saint Michael competing over a 5,000-meter course starting behind the Nome-Beltz campus, rounding Moonlight Springs and down Glacier Creek Road. The rain held off for the day with a cool, grey morning – perfect running conditions – and the sun even came out at the end of the competition to see what all the excitement was.
With over 150 participants entering the Elementary, Middle School, High School, or open races, it was the largest meet in Nome since the state restructured cross-country competitions in 2012.
Upon crossing the finish line first with a time of 18 minutes and 32 seconds, in the Varsity Men’s race, Nome-Beltz’s Orson Hoogendorn vented “Oh my god, that so hard.” But Unalakleet’s Ourea Busk, who cruised to victory in the Women’s Varsity race, wasn’t so sure. She shrugged, and sheepishly admitted it was a lot easier than her last race, in Soldotna. Her run time was 21 minutes and seven seconds.
Both Busk and Hoogendorn are said to have set course records, which some people were happy about. “I didn’t want the course record. I wanted girls to grow up and be faster than me,” said former course record holder and NBHS alumni Rosa Wright. Wilson Hoogendorn, however, laced up some fast shoes to try and take the course record back from Orson during the open race later that day. Orson won again, and upon crossing the line, he headed straight for this reporter. “Oh my god, that was so easy,” he grinned.
Many family members as well as racers were out cheering everyone on. Coach Jeff Collins explained that he’s been working to reintroduce kids to the sport after the pandemic. Cross-country is a sport that is done both individually and as a team but is ultimately about setting up a healthy lifestyle. “That’s the goal,” he said.
“It’s really neat to have this much interest in it,” Collins said. “It brings people together.”
This season, Nome has two returning regional champions in Hoogendorn and AwaLuk Nichols, who are “both in great shape,” Collins said.
The Varsity Men are also the returning regional champions.
After the Soldotna meet in mid-August, there was a race in Teller, and now the Nome Invite. Next week they head to Kotzebue, before traveling to another meet in Chugiak.
Collins said that he likes to book end the season with races in the Anchorage area so that students get to see how well they progressed in a different environment from the one they’re used to.
On October 1, the Big West Conference Meet will be held in Nome, before the State Championships the following weekend.
For full results, visit
The Top 10 in each category:

Varsity Men: 1. Orson Hoogendorn, 18:32, Nome-Beltz; 2. Benjamin Milton, 19:17, Nome-Beltz; 3. Son Erikson, 19:33, Nome-Beltz; 4. Young Erikson, 19:41, Nome-Beltz; 5. Ethan Fagerstrom, 19:45, Golovin; 6. Duke McGuffy, 19:51, Nome-Beltz; 7. Zach Roetman, 19:54, Kotzebue; 8. Derrick Smith, 20:58, Teller; 9. Ben Marcus, 21:11, Kotzebue; 10. Tristen Hobbs, 21:15, Nome-Beltz.

Varsity Women: 1. Ourea Busk, 21:07, Unalakleet; 2. Xiimara Salazar, 22:50, Kotzebue; 3. AwaLuk Nichols, 24:01, Nome-Beltz; 4. Lauren Kingstrom, 24:44, Nome-Beltz; 5. Kiara Burnell, 25:32, Utqiagvik; 6. Kimberly Wolgemuth, 25:32, Utqiagvik; 7. Cedar Busk, 25:50, Unalakleet; 8. Natallie Tobuk, 25:54, Nome-Beltz; 9. Julianna Hernandez, 25:54, Kotzebue; 10. Hailey Oktollik-Nashookpuk, 26:16, Tikigaq.

Middle School Men: 1. Satori Huxel, 22:23, Saint Michael; 2. Jeremiah Aukongak, 23:08, Golovin; 3. Chase Katchatag, 23:19, Shaktoolik; 4. Seth Paniptchuk, 23:28, Shaktoolik; 5. Teyler Johnson, 23:43, Unalakleet; 6. Ryder McGuffy, 25:47, Nome-Beltz; 7. Isaac Prentice, 29:55, Koyuk; 8. Alex Topkok, 32:31, Teller; 9. Leonard Mokiyuk, 33:37, Koyuk; 10. Jesse Moses, 36:59, Golovin; 11. Sam Ahmasuk, 38:43, Nome-Beltz. (Middle School results are incomplete because of an issue with the number tags.)

Middle School Women: 1. Sunny Dutton, 23:46, Kotzebue; 2. Kirra Salazar, 24:03, Kotzebue; 3. Isabella Eller, 25:24, Unalakleet; 4. Loleta Hannon, 25:44, Koyuk; 5. Turi Busk, 26:55, Unalakleet; 6. Hazel Nanouk, 27:23, Kotzebue; 7. Lana Ashenfelter, 27:50, White Mountain; 8. Renee Brown, 28:17, Nome-Beltz; 9. Peyton Lewis, 28:56, Nome-Beltz; 10. Xevera Shanigan, 29:02, White Mountain.

Grades 3-5 Boys: 1. James Shanigan, White Mountain; 2. Momoki Huxel, Saint Michael; 3. Howard Gregg, White Mountain; 4. Max Pardee; 5. Roman Ivanoff, White Mountain; 6. Dallas Ahmasuk; 7. Silas Ventress; 8. Tyrone Southhall, Brevig; 9. Levi Alston, Brevig; 10. Harry Barr, White Mountain; 11. Zulu Nichols.

Grades 3-5 Girls: 1. Ella Hubert; 2. Emma Takak; 3. Sophia Piscoya; 4. Chanel West; 5. Mia Weiyanna, Teller; 6. Starlet Seppilu, Teller; 7. Demi Pantelis, Nome; 8. Violet Fagundes, White Mountain; 9. Cimmi Nichols; 10. Madison Ione, White Mountain.

Grades K-2 Boys: 1. Ryder Pardee; 2. Miles Collins; 3. Canon Lewis; 4. Charles Hubert; 5. Theodore Ventress; 6. Amos Collins; 7. Ethan Piscoya; 8. Logan Tobuk; 9. Fitz Piscoya. Place not recorded for David Chan, Owen Twaddle, and Howard Gregg IV, White Mountain.

Grades K-2 Girls: 1. Joetta Hubert; 2. Kinley Krift; 3. Dalli Nichols; 4. Olivia Katongan, White Mountain; 5. Roya Tobuk; 6. Iza Phan; 7. Jasmine; 8. Paige Savok; 9. Mercedes Ventress; 10. Amelia Twaddle. Place not recorded for June Ventress, Ali Smithhisler, and Ellie Twaddle.

Open: 1. Orson Hoogendorn, 19:37; 2. Wilson Hoogendorn, 20:28; 3. Daniel Hobbs, 29:08; 4. Lori Nassuk, 31:01; 5. Troy Walker, 31:12; 6. Anna Moore, 31:52; 7. Sophia Hobbs, 32:42; 8. Emelyne Shahzad, 34:59; 9. Rowan Moore, 38:09.


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Nome, Alaska 99762

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