Eagle River girls make school history
Eagle River’s girls cross country team has made history.
Led by senior Evy Hail’s seventh-place finish, the Wolves finished third as a team at the Cook Inlet Conference Championships on Saturday, Sept. 24 at Kincaid Park to earn the school’s first team berth at the state meet.
The top four teams and top 15 individuals automatically make it to the state meet, which will be held at Bartlett on Saturday, Oct. 1.
“I’m super proud of the girls,” Eagle River head coach Jacob Bera said. “Every one of them needed to run their best race. Today, they all just pushed.”
West Anchorage’s Lydia Blanchet took first in 18 minutes, 54 seconds, helping her team to a first-place finish.
Jenette Northey of Service came in eight seconds behind Blanchet in second. Dimond’s Sarah Freistone placed third.
South Anchorage finished second as a team.
Making it to state has been the team’s goal all season, said junior Hannah Stevens, who finished 13th.
“We made our goal,” she said. “It feels amazing.”
Nikki Boggs placed 14th, Sierra Richardson was 22nd and Shayna Wolery was 33rd for the Wolves.
The team’s selfless attitude has led to success this season, Bera said. All the girls support one another, he said.
The trip to state will be the first for Hail, who ran a time of 19:47. An illness two years ago and an ankle injury last year resulted in subpar performances in the past two CIC meets, Hail said, which prevented her from making state.
“Finally, as a senior I made it,” Hail said.
Making it to state has been on Hail’s mind all year, Bera said.
“She came in on a mission this season,” he said.
Hail said her performance surprised her.
“I didn’t think I would do this good,” she said. “I don’t really know what I was hoping for. I just wanted to make state.
“It was just a good race,” Hail said.
Hail said she felt prepared for the meet. Her coach agreed.
“She was dialed in,” Bera said.
Joining Eagle River will be Chugiak’s Sam Hartke. After a season plagued by shin splints, Hartke finished 12th in just her third complete race of the year.
“It felt really good to run,” Hartke said. “I hadn’t run all week until warm-ups.”
Hartke said her nagging injury kept her from reaching top race form for this time in the season. Last year, Hartke finished second at the CIC meet and eighth at state.
“I just felt really slow,” she said. “It’s just frustrating.”
Hartke said she plans on running this week, but will be careful not to over do it prior to state.
And as for her injury?
“My legs feel fine,” she said.
Contact Mike Nesper at 830-6632 or firstname.lastname@example.org