Chugiak cross country running full of youth

Wednesday, August 22, 2012 - 12:26
McPhetres leads local athletes at Bartlett Invite
Chugiak’s Sam Hartke races during the Bartlett Invite on Aug. 18. Hartke paced the Chugiak girls with a 25th place finish.

Chugiak High has 34 runners out for its cross country team this year — and every one of them is ready to go to work.

“They all want to be there,” Mustangs’ head coach Tina McPhetres said. “That’s all I want.”

Chugiak’s biggest loss is 2012 graduate Isaac Lammers, who is running and skiing for the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Lammers finished 11th at last year’s state meet to lead all local male runners.

Three of the five boys that made up Chugiak’s second-place team at last year’s Cook Inlet Conference Championships and earned a state berth are back. Those include David McPhetres, Tim Sorensen and Chris Kveseth.

David McPhetres, who finished 13th at state in 2011, led all local runners with a 15th-place finish in a time of 16 minutes, 59 seconds at the Bartlett Invitational on Saturday, Aug. 18. Sorensen was 42nd in 17:40.

Kodiak’s Levi Thomet won the boys race in 16:01 and West Valley won the team title.

Kenai’s Allie Ostrander won the girls race in 17:58 with Wasilla winning the team title.

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Much of Chugiak is made up of newcomers to the varsity program, coach McPhetres said.

“We have a lot of freshmen this year,” she said.

Two of those freshmen — Ty Jordan and Roan Hall — will likely be in Chugiak’s top five. As an eighth grader at Mirror Lake, Jordan won the 2011 Anchorage School District Middle School Cross Country Championships and won the 1,600-meter and 800-meter runs at the 2012 ASD City Track and Field Championships.

On Saturday, Jordan finished 60th in 18:03 and Hall — a fellow Coyote who was fourth at the middle school championships last year — came in just one second behind Jordan in 62nd.

Both are acclimating to high school competition well, coach McPhetres said.

“They’re where they’re supposed to be,” she said. “We don’t want them to peak until late.”

The jump from middle school to high school is not an easy transition, coach McPhetres said.

“It is a shocker for them,” she said. “It’s tough to go from a 3K to a 5K.”

Chugiak didn’t lose anyone on the girls’ side, coach McPhetres said.

One of the key returners is Sam Hartke, the Mustangs’ lone runner at state last year. Hartke, who was plagued by shin splints last season, finished 25th in 20:20 in the girls’ race at Bartlett.

Hartke’s younger sister, Sara, a freshman, had the Mustangs’ second-best performance in 21:59 to finish 54th. Last year, Sara Hartke finished sixth at the middle school cross country championships for Mirror Lake.

Early in the season, coach McPhetres said her goal is to keep her team healthy. The Bartlett Invite was a good start, she said, and the Mustangs will continue to get stronger as the season progresses.

“We’re not there yet because we’re just starting,” coach McPhetres said. “They will definitely be faster, and they should be.”


Contact Mike Nesper at 694-2727 or [email protected].

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