Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The Juneau-Douglas Yadaa.at Kalé girls cross-country team topped 18 schools to win the George Plumley Invite at Palmer on Saturday with sophomore Rayna Tuckwood leading the Crimson Bears runners by placing seventh in 20 minutes 1.41 seconds.
“It’s always good to be up here especially because we get to take on a lot of teams and toe up to a lot of other racers,” JDHS co-coach Merry Ellefson said. “This year we had it worked out where we could bring two squads of boys and girls, JV and varsity. We’ve been doing a lot of squad work. We’re strong as we work together.”
Chugiak junior Campbell Peterson won the race in 19:39. Following Tuckwood for the Crimson Bears were sophomore Etta Eller placing 11th in 20:18, freshman Ida Meyer 17th in 20:41, seniors Annika Schwartz and Ella Goldstein 19th and 20th in 20:44 and 20:46, respectively, and senior McKenna McNutt 28th in 20:59.
“Honestly I was so nervous for this race,” Tuckwood said. “I was thinking I would just stay with my team and stay with all the other people. I was kind of worried I would have to run alone but there were so many girls you were never alone. You always had at least one person to pace with. It was really nice. It was a fun course, too.”
Tuckwood said she needed to work on a few things.
“Maybe start off faster,” she said. “Definitely work on my ending because by the end of races I am always dead and never have enough energy to sprint.”
The team placings had JDHS with 71 points, South Anchorage 79, Chugiak 114, West Anchorage 122, West Valley 133, Colony 200, Service 204, Kenai 228, Grace Christian 248, Lathrop 284, Homer 285, Soldotna 344, Palmer 361, East Anchorage 361, Kodiak 363, Glennallen 372, Monroe Catholic 379 and Bethel 511.
The top 20 (out of 157) individual girl finishes were: 1. jr Campbell Peterson 19:39 CHG; 2. sr Gloria Bailey 19:47-SR WV; 3. jr Elliana Zock 19:47 SA; 4. sr Payton Smith 19:54 WA; 5. sr Abigail Haas 19:56 LATH; 6. jr Robyn Miller 19:59 SA; 7. so Rayna Tuckwood 20:01.41 JD; 8. fr Ella Hopkins 20:01.44 COL; 9. Kai Waythomas 20:05 GC; 10. jr Meredith Schwartz 20:13 SER; 11. so Etta Eller 20:18 JD; 12. jr Addison Capozzi 20:21.73 CHG; 13. so Skyler Belmear 20:21.80 CHG; 14. so Ava Trembath 20:24 ER; 15. jr Jayna Boonstra 20:25 KEN; 16. fr Ava Murphy 20:35 SA; 17. fr Ida Meyer 20:41 JD; 18. fr Zoe Rodgers 20:42 WA; 19. sr Annika Schwartz 20:44 JD; 20. sr Ella Goldstein 20:46 JD.
“I was proud particularly with our varsity girls and our JV girls and our JV boys that they just showed up and they ran the races that they have been running this season,” Juneau co-coach Tristan Knutson-Lombardo said. “The big message before this meet was that this is not really any different than any other race you have run, there is just going to be more people there and to go out and run the pace that you know you need to run to be successful. And they really did that. They really came through their first kilometer, they were fast for what they have been running but they just moved up from there. They just picked people off, by and large our entire squad, and they really ran smart. I think that smart running is what I am most proud of.”
On the boys side JDHS placed sixth in the team standings with 201 points. Grace Christian won with 63.
West Valley senior Daniel Abramowicz was the top boys runner in 16:18. JDHS senior Aubrey Hekkers was the top Crimson Bears runner, finishing 29th in 17:50, junior Will Robinson placed 31st in 17:54, junior Eli Crupi 44th in 18:20, sophomore Wilder Dillingham 54th in 18:32, senior Samuel Holst 63rd in 18:46 and sophomore Malachi Peimann 81st in 19:10.
“It was really great because we didn’t have the option to travel last year except for regions and state,” Dillingham said. “It was a well-put-together race. It had a lot of the stuff cross-country courses need. It did funnel quickly at the start and it was hard to pass people but the course was really nice.”
Team placings had Grace 63, West Anchorage 120, West Valley 120, Lathrop 170, Kodiak 177, Juneau 201, Chugiak 203, Colony 220, South 234, Service 244, Kenai 260, Palmer 313, Homer 336, East 352, Soldotna 388, Wasilla 414, Bethel 503, Galena 550, Dillingham 562, Unalaska 571, North Pole 587, Delta Junction 619, Cordova 672, Aniak 678.
The top 20 (out of 180) individual boy finishes were: 1. sr Daniel Abramowicz 16:18 WV; 2. jr Shane Fisher 16:30 WV; 3. jr David Sliwinski 16:39 GC; 4. so Fischer Adams 16:49 PAL; 5. sr Micah Fields 17:05 KOD; 6. jr Aaron Power 17:09 SER; 7. sr Benjamin Pilon 17:09 LATH; 8. jr Preston Merchant 17:09 AC; 9. jr Henry Michener 17:09 ER; 10. so Tobin Miller 17:17.02 PAL; 11. sr Asher James 17:17.35 LATH; 12. so Tobias Buchanan 17:17.49; 13. jr Seamus McDonough 17:20 HMR; 14. sr Preston Wethington 17:21 GC; 15. fr Robbie Annett 17:22 GC; 16. sr Isaac Main 17:23.61 WA; 17. jr Ethan Eski 17:23.68 WA; 18. sr Ben Thatcher 17:24.47 GC; 19. sr Will Gerlach 17:24.50 CHG; 20. jr Ethan Howe 17:24.99 EA.
The JDHS junior varsity girls won the JV team title over 10 teams and 83 individual runners. The top junior varsity runner was West Anchorage senior Natalie Hood in 20:37 with Grace Christian junior Megan Nelson second in 20:50, JDHS sophomore Maisy Morley third in 21:21 and senior Trinity Jackson fourth in 21:26. Sophomore Ruby Rivas was sixth in 22:10, senior Celia Wheeler seventh in 22:19 and junior Skylar Tuckwood 11th in 22:41.
“I thought it was a good race and a really good course,” Morley said. “I felt very confident throughout the race and I trusted myself and my team to pull me along throughout the whole course. I know I can trust myself and my team and we work together really well and can do really well.”
The JDHS junior varsity boys placed second behind West Anchorage in a field of 16 teams and 113 individual runners. The top junior varsity runner was West Anchorage senior Quinn Smith in 17:38.
JDHS senior Tias Carney led the Crimson Bears JV with a 12th place time of 18:37, sophomore Martin Holst was 14th in 18:45, sophomore Edgar Vera Alvarado 17th in 18:46, sophomore Leif St. Clair 22nd in 18:58 and junior Finn Kesey 24th in 19:06.
“I really enjoyed how there were so many runners, such a big pack, and so many people around you compared to running in Southeast,” Carney said. “And how much easier it is to run with such a big group of boys. I’m going to use what I learned, the pace I ran, and improve upon it and just take away what it was like to run on a different course and a different environment. The season is going really great. It has been fun running with the team.”
Above - Juneau-Douglas Yadaa.at Kalé sophomore Edgar Vera Alvarado, left, and senior Tias Carney, race, shown in a race earlier this season at Sandy Beach, had strong runs at the George Plumley Invitational on Saturday at Palmer. (Klas Stolpe)