BARTLETT RELAYS: Kodiak runner finishes strong after he's stripped of all finesse at the water hazard.
Trevor Dunbar gave a new twist to going commando Saturday at the Bartlett Relays.
The Kodiak High junior tripped on a hay bale and lurched forward into the water pit, a popular viewing spot where runners leap over an obstacle and splash into cold water before dashing to the finish line.
As Dunbar emerged from the two-foot deep pool, his shorts slipped partway off. He wasn't wearing anything underneath.
I'll probably never be able to live this down, he said with a resigned laugh.
At least the slip didn't slow him down much. Dunbar's strong third leg on the hilly and obstacle-filled two-mile course put Kodiak ahead for good. Teammate Abby Reed ran anchor for the mixed, four-person relay as Kodiak edged West for the title.
Like a lot of runners, Dunbar wanted to try something original off the hay bale. Over the years, runners have flipped, twisted, kicked a leg out, or tried all sorts of goofy aerial tricks before splashing into the plastic-lined pit filled with chilly water.
Dunbar wanted to kick a leg out and land cleanly in the water on one foot. Instead, he tripped and did a Superman dive.
I don't know how I messed up, he said. I didn't get a very good foot plant. I did kind of a weak jump and fell forward.
The water pit has always been the highlight of this meet, a tradition started in 1989 by Trevor's father and coach, Marcus Dunbar, when he and Joe Alward coached at Bartlett.
Dunbar, now coach at Kodiak, said he and Alward were inspired after participating in an Ekiden relay in New York. In the relay, teammates tag off by passing along a sash over a marathon-length course.
At the time, Anchorage's cross-country running schedule consisted of only dual meets, the regional meet and then state. It got kind of boring.
Dunbar said obstacles such as hay bales and water hazards are features of European cross-country races.
The water pit used to feature a log wedged between two trees. But that log was removed in 2004 when nearby Elmendorf Air Force Base expanded its housing and built a new security fence that cut off trails.
Alward, now the West coach, said runners leaped high off of the log, doing flips and 360-degree spins. It was becoming a safety issue, so when the water pit was rebuilt, hay bales replaced the log.
Alward said there are no rules governing the jump into the water pit.
I don't even address it. I just let them go experience it, he said. If I tell them about it, they'll just get nervous.
Bartlett coach Eric Lowman gave his runners simple advice for the water pit.
Have fun and get wet, he said.
Homer's Garrett McCarthy did that, although he didn't pull off his planned trick inspired by snowboarding.
He planned on twisting 720 degrees off the hay bale and landing on his belly. Instead, he stepped on the bale, it collapsed, and he spun 540 degrees and landed in the water flat on his back.
I landed fine, no pain, said McCarthy, a sophomore. It's really refreshing.
(Note Trevor Dunbar is the defending Alskan State Champion, while Aaron Fletcher placed 2nd at State last year)
Team results --
1) Kodiak A 44:18.3
2) West Anchorage 44:49.2
3) ACS A 45:14.1
4) West Valley A 45:39.2
5) Grace A 45:53.2
6) West B 46:18.0
7) East Anchorae A 46:51.4
8) Palmer A 46:57.3
9) Service A 47:18.1
10) South Anchorage A 47:23.6
11) Chugiak A 47:40.5
12) Kodiak B 47:41.5
13) West Anchorage C 47:44.0
14) Bartlett A 47:49.8
15) Chugiak B 47:50.1
16) Grace B 47:50.4
17) West Anchorage D 48:00.0
18) Eagle River A 48:11.4
19) Lathrop A 48:27.3
20) Dimond A 48:34.7
21) Service B 49:08.6
22) East B 49:13.0
23) West Valley B 49:55.4
24) Service C 49:56.4
25) South C 49:56.7
26) Chugiak C 49:59.4
27) Grace C 50:14.7
28) Bartlett B 50:25.3
29) Kodiak C 50:39.4
30) Su Valley D 51:01.6
Individual lap times
1) Aurora Bowers West Valley 10:52.8
2) Crystal Pitney West Valley 11:22.1
3) Shoshana Keegan West Anchorage 11:35.2
4) Letitia Luch West Anchorage 11:43.4
5) Nychele Fischetti ACS 11:55.8
6) Marcelyn Luch West Anchorage 11:57.4
7) Esther Kennedy Service 11:58.5
8) Abby Reed Kodiak 11:59.4
9) Jaime Bronga East Anchorage 12:02.4
10) Delia Luch West Anchorage 12:10.1
11) Jennifer Renteria Chugiak 12:13.2
12) Nick Jordan Eagle River 12:18.2
13) Jacob Richey Eagle River 12:19.3
14) Anna Dalton W est Anchorage 12:26.0
15) Mariah Applegate Grace 12:27.6
16) Danielle Gerik West Anchorage 12:28.2
17) Heather Edic Lathrop 12:29.2
18) Chloe Ivanoff Kodiak 12:32.6
19) Brianna Gibbs Kodiak 12:32.9
20) Marjie Dupea Grace 12:33.8
1) Trevor Dunbar Kodiak 9:20.6
2) Mike Miller ACS 9:43.1
3) Aaron Fletcher South Anchorage 9:49.0
4) Jake Parisien Palmer 10:04.6
5) Ryan Hanley Dimond 10:09.9
6) Caleb Cotter Grace 10:18.6
7) Werner Hoefler West Valley 10:22.9
8) Sam Salus Kodiak 10:25.7
9) Benny Garcia Kodiak 10:32.4
10) Leif Karlberg Grace 10:33.2
11) Brent Luch West Anchorage 10:34.7
12) Ryan Cox Grace 10:36.2
13) Drew Edwards Grace 10:38.3
13) Kendall Murphy South Anchorage 10:38.3
15) Josh Baker ACS 10:38.7
16) Kevin Smith Palmer 10:40.1
17) Kevin Coriano ACS 10:44.6
18) Derek Kalbfleisch Bartlett 10:46.2
19) Colton Cubbage Kodiak 10:50.1
20) Josh Tanner West Valley 10:51.0
A Chugiak High runner hurries out of the Bartlett Relays water hazard Aug. 18, 2007,. Over the years, runners have flipped, twisted, kicked a leg out, or tried all sorts of aerial tricks before splashing into the plastic-lined pit filled with water. MARC LESTER / Anchorage Daily