Wolves hungry heading into CIC

King ready to run; girls have a shot at history


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Eagle River’s Brandon King leads teammate Ben Smith and a pack of runners around one of the opening turns during the Eagle River vs. West Duals on Friday, Sept. 16.

STAR PHOTO BY MATT TUNSETH

Eagle River coach Jacob Bera issued a warning to his rising girls varsity cross country team following the Wolves lone home meet of the season Sept. 16.

“There’s a lot of teams that are really getting it dialed in right now,” Bera said.

Bera then challenged his squad to have its best week of practice in anticipation of the Cook Inlet Conference meet, where mere seconds could make or break the Wolves’ season.

“It’s going to be close, I guarantee it,” told the team.

Bera thinks his girls team has a legitimate shot at making the state meet as a team — something no squad, boys or girls, has ever done at Eagle River.

“The way it’s looking, we’re going to be trying to compete and be in that hunt,” he said.

Hannah Stevens was Eagle River’s top performer at the dual in third place, followed closely by Evy Hail in fourth. West’s Lydia Blanchett won the race in 19 minutes, 38 seconds. Eagle River’s Nikki Boggs was seventh, Sierra Richardson was 11th and Shayna Wolery finished 12th.

If the Eagle River girls do make the state meet — either by placing in the top four at the CIC meet as a team or in the top 15 as individuals — it’s a good bet they’ll be joining Brandon King there.

King, a junior, won the boys individual race in 17:26, beating West’s Konnor Petersen across the line by nearly 20 seconds. Ben Hall set a personal course best of 18:15 to place eighth for the Wolves, Ben Smith was 11th, William Hail was 12th and Bryce Wolery finished 14th.

After reaching the state meet last year as a sophomore, King said he now feels like a veteran who’s not just trying to reach state, but trying to be among the conference’s elite.

“I want to contend,” he said.

King said he’s looking forward to the next couple weeks of competition. He said most of the runners in the conference are good friends off the course who are fierce competitors once the gun goes off.

“We’re enemies once we get out on the course,” King said.

However, he also noted that success at the conference and state meets won’t necessarily be based on where he finishes, but on how he performs against the clock.

“I’m much more content being a lesser place with a better time,” he said.

The Cook Inlet Conference meet begins Saturday, Sept. 24 at 11 a.m. at Kincaid Park in Anchorage. Eagle River vs West Duals

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