The Steel Bucket Relays by Anchorage Daily News

Northwest XC   Review #1     2016

The 2016  Cross Country season got under way last weekend with a number of meets being held in Alaska.  Given it 's winter Alaska needs to get  rolling early, which makes it an especially  long season for its stars like Trevor Dunbar & Levi Thomet, who extended their campaigns  to qualify for the Foot Locker National Championship in December.  August  to December is a long competitive season after all and only forty runners of each sex can earn a berth, so it  is a select field.

Colony Invite

The honor of hosting the first 5K of the season went to Colony, which held its meet on the trails in Palmer.   There was a three-way battle in the boys' race between Hunter Kratz of Seward, Keith Osowski of Kodiak & Blake Bennett  of Anchorage Christian. Bennett  fell  off the pace  late in the race leaving a duel  down the  home stretch with Kratz squeaking out a   victory with a  time of 16:49.01  to Osowski 's  time of 16:50.90.  Hunter Hayes of Wasilla (home of Sarah Palin, who almost looks like a decent  candidate with Trump now  running) ran 27:38 placing a  distant  fourth with Josh Shuler finishing  fifth three seconds later.  Kratz earned second last  fall in  the State 3A championship & the division's top returnee.  Wasilla won  the boys' team title over Kodiak 41 to 55.

Grace Gannon, a senior  for Grace Christian, made her first cross  country race a victorious on by winning with a time of 10:09.  Her teammate Mazzy Jackson placed second nineteen seconds  late & Allison VanPelt of Houston followed in third  with 20:33.   Jill Bowker of Colony, who has finished fifth & 7th respectively at State as a freshman & sophomore, with a time of 20:46.  Colony's Coleen Geraghty nipped her running mate Elizabeth Bowker by a second by finishing fifth  with a  time of 20:50. The Colony girls edged Grace Christian 38 to 43.

West Valley Invitational    

This race was held at the University of Alaska Fairbanks on its West Ridge Trails at a distance of 3200 meters.    Faith Wildman of West Valley negotiated the course in 13:29 to defeat Delta Junction's  Hailey Williams by  a twelve second margin.  Bailey Roe of West Valley earned third with 13:43. Emma Axelson, a freshman from West Valley, won the Open Girls' race with a time of  13:49.

The West Valley guys took four of the  top five places  with Ti Donaldson taking laurels with 10:51. Logan Mowry  of Lathrop broke up the WV pack by placing second with 11:09. Aaron Bravo of West earned third with 11:11 finishing two seconds ahead of Elliot Kenaston.

Nikiski Class Races

This race was held on Monday at Nikiski High School over a distance of 5K.   Honey Rose Macatuno of Kodiak had the fastest  female time of the day, when she won the Junior - Senior Division with a 5K  time of 11:10.   Alex Moseley of Homer took   second in 22:30 & Arielle Himelbloom of Kodiak finished third in 22:34. Jaycie Calvert of Kenai Central triumphed in the Freshman - Sophomore race with 22:32.  Homer beat Kenai Central 1 to 43. Keith Osowski of Kodiak topped the boys with 17:15 & Jacob Davis of Homer  followed in second with 18:01.  Kodiak won the team race over Homer 23 to 26.

Steel Bucket Relays

Held on Tuesday with a distance of 2K at Kinkaid Park in Anchorage this race is a  tradition.  Finn Walker, who placed third at the 4A State Meet last  fall, repeated as champion in the Steel Bucket Relays with a 2K time of 6:48.  His West Anchorage team mates led  by the second place finish of Brian Britt (6:52) swept the top five place to easily win the team race.   Declan Dammeyer, Luke Jager & Tristan Wiese completed the shut out. The Dimond gals were almost as  dominant as they took the first  four positions in the  girls' race with Kylie Judd leading the way with 8:09. Ruth Cvancara placed second in 8:30  & was  followed into the chute by Ariana & Calee Stark