Chugiak’s McPhetres takes 10th at Palmer
Hail leads Eagle River’s girls to 6th place finish
Chugiak sophomore David McPhetres (118) rounds a corner during the Palmer Invitational on Sept. 10 in Palmer. McPhetres was the top local varsity finisher with a 10th place performance in the boys 5-kilometer race.
STAR PHOTO BY MIKE NESPER
Once the dust literally settled following the Palmer Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 10, David McPhetres was all smiles. The Chugiak High sophomore finished 10th overall in a time of 16 minutes, 39 seconds, reaching one of his goals of cracking the top 10 this season.
“I’ve been trying to get up there,” said McPhetres, who finished 13th at the Skyview Invitational and 14th at the Bartlett Invitational. “I was pretty happy about that.”
Palmer’s dusty five-kilometer trail made breathing difficult and impaired runners’ vision, McPhetres said.
“You literally had a layer of dust on the roof of your mouth,” he said.
The reaction of McPhetres’ head coach and mom, Tina, depends on which hat she’s wearing.
“As a coach, I won’t comment,” she said with a smile. “As a mom, that was so cool. My stomach hurt.”
Aside from familiarizing himself with the course prior to the race, David McPhetres said he didn’t have a set strategy.
“I kind of let it come to me during the race,” he said.
David McPhetres said he pushed himself to “keep it going” throughout the race.
David was the top Chugiak-Eagle River runner and helped lead Chugiak’s boys to a seventh place finish. Eagle River — led by Brandon King’s 18th place finish — finished 15th. McPhetres and King (16:59) were the only local runners to finish in less than 17 minutes.
Coach McPhetres said her entire team (varsity, junior varsity and open) performed well.
“They all ran amazing races,” she said.
Chugiak’s tight-knit group of boys has helped them this season, David McPhetres said.
“We’re close, so it works out really well,” he said. “We’ve got a strong team.”
Coach McPhetres agreed.
“They work really well together,” she said. “They always run as a team.”
Chugiak’s girls team finished 14th.
Eagle River’s Evy Hail led all area girls with an 18th place finish. The Wolves had five runners in the top 50 (Hail, Nikole Boggs, Hannah Stevens, Sierra Richardson and Shayna Wolery), which earned them a sixth-place finish.
“The girls had a real strong race,” Wolves head coach Jacob Bera said. “There were a lot of (personal records) today.
“It was a very positive race for us,” Bera said.
Hail said there was no sign of the illness that kept her from running the Big 8 Preview on Sept. 2.
“I definitely felt good,” she said.
Having missed the race two weeks ago, Hail said she wanted to run all-out at Palmer.
“This race, I can just push it,” said Hail, who posted a time of 19:30 to finish 10 seconds ahead of Boggs. “Kill the hills, run the flat parts and just finish strong.”
Palmer’s flat, fast course was made even more enjoyable by the throng of encouraging fans, Hail said.
“It’s spectator friendly,” she said of the course. “A lot of people cheer for you. It was a really fun race.”
Both teams used the race as preparation for the Sept. 24 Cook Inlet Conference meet.
A healed Mustangs team is looking forward to the challenge, coach McPhetres said.
“Everybody is getting healthy again,” she said. “They’ll definitely be ready for regions.”
Eagle River freshman Benjamin Hall won the open race with a time of 18 minutes, 23 seconds. Hall has been recovering all season after injuring his ankle at the Class Race — the first race of the season — on Aug. 13 at Chugiak.
Hall’s injury wasn’t a factor at Palmer.
“I just went after it,” he said. “My ankle is feeling good.
“I didn’t really have a strategy,” Hall said. “I just went out there and ran my hardest.”
Hall has shown determination all season, Bera said.
“That’s just a good example of perseverance,” he said. “He’ll be bumping back up to varsity next week.”