Running like the wind
Led by a sixth-place finish from junior David McPhetres and a breakout showing by a pair of freshmen, the Chugiak boys cross country team is heading to state.
“They all put it out there,” said Mustangs head coach Tina McPhetres, whose boys team finished third at the Region IV championships on Sept. 22 at a gusty Kincaid Park to grab one of four automatic team berths at state. Freshman Ty Jordan was 10th for Chugiak, while fellow frosh Roan Hall was 15th.
Coach McPhetres said she knew Jordan and Hall — both standouts at the middle school level — were ready for a big race.
“I knew they could do it,” she said.
Tim Sorensen was 18th for Chugiak and Chris Kveseth was 30th.
The Chugiak boys weren’t the only ones to extend their seasons on Saturday. Also earning automatic state berths by finishing in the individual top-15 in the girls race were Eagle River senior Hannah Stevens (3rd) and Sierra Richardson (12th), along with Chugiak’s Hartke sisters — senior Sam was 7th eights spots of freshman Sara in 14th.
Stevens battled with the lead pack all race and narrowly lost a battle at the line with East’s Grace Graham for second. But she was all smiles after improving 10 spots from last year’s finish.
“I get to stand on the podium!” Stevens squealed as she entered the Kincaid bunker for the post-race awards ceremony.
Stevens said the windy conditions were challenging.
“In the woods it wasn’t that bad, and then it just hit you,” she said.
After taking a couple weeks off from racing, Stevens said she wasn’t sure where she’d stack up against the CIC’s best on Saturday.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” she said.
After proving to herself and her competition that she’s more than ready to challenge Alaska’s best prep runners, Stevens said she can’t wait for state.
“I’m definitely happy,” she said.
Nikki Boggs was 29th for the Eagle River girls, Summer Frazier was 31st and Amber Lopez was 33rd.
McKenna Mitchell (35th), Terra Holayter (43rd) and Hali Young (47th) rounded out Chugiak’s top five. The Mustangs were without top runners Sarissa Lammers and Hannah Booher, who each missed the race due to illness.
East’s John Farr won the boys race in 16:58.2, leading a pack of four Service Cougars across the line. Service easily won the boys’ team title; Eagle River was seventh. Rachel Roelle of West won the girls race in 19:40.7 to lead the Eagles to the team championship. Eagle River’s girls were sixth, one spot ahead of Chugiak.
“The competition was really tough this season,” said Wolves’ coach Jacob Bera.
Bera said he’s looking forward to seeing how Stevens and Richardson fare next weekend at Bartlett.
“It should be fun,” he said.
Ben Smith was Eagle River’s top male athlete in 29th, followed by Jacob Walsh (31st), Alec Smith (32nd), Matthew Eggert (37th) and Bryce Wolery (43rd).
For complete results, visit www.athletic.net.