With the Alaska State Meet returning to the trails of Bartlett yesterday’s meet offered a wonderful opportunity to familiarize runners with the key course for their year. Yes it is only mid-August and many Northwest schools are only now beginning to gear up for the Fall campaign, but Alaska must start early, when conditions are decent. Taking advantage of the situation were Briahna Gerlach of Glennallen and Ty Jordan of Chugiak, who both romped to dominant victories on Saturday. Gerlach, who is the defending State Small School Champion & only a sophomore, earned victory by over half a minute with her time of 19:02. Jill Bowker, a freshman from Colony, began her prep career with a fine second place finish with a time of 19:30, which gave her an eighteen minute margin over her teammate Alex Mathis, who finished second in 3A last fall. Riley Burroughs of Wasilla garnered fourth with a time of 20:10 and Peyton Young of Eagle River earned fifth in 20:26. Sara Hartke of Chugiak came home sixth in 20:38 with Erica Heil of Dimond claiming seventh with a mark of 20:43.
Ty Jordan recorded an even more facile triumph by cruising home in 15:56. The Chugiak junior waited over a minute before second place finisher Michael Todd of Anchorage followed him across the finish line in 17:12. Both runners are hoping to improve on last year’s placements of second for Jordan in the large division & Todd’s seventh place in small. Tracen Knopp of Colony was a distant third with 17:21 and he in turn had a fair margin for error, as the next runner was four seconds further back. There was a wild scramble for fourth with Logan Mowry of Lathrop getting the nod over both his team mate Vance Underwood and Qunicy Fuller of Wasilla, as all three shared versions of 17:25. They in turn had less than a second gap over Hunter Kratz of Seward and Jacob Walsh of Eagle River. Knopp, Mowry and Kratz are only sophomores.
Colony won the girls’ team race with a low of 43 points. Chugiak and Eagle River waged a close duel for second with Chugiak getting the edge by three with a score of 60 points. Wasilla had a fairly easy time of it with 51 points, as Colony was a distant second with 92. Palmer placed third with 103. Rather surprising was the fact the usually powerful Anchorage Christian only had four runners and therefore failed to field a complete team.
The Bartlett meet was disappointing as the state’s top male and female runners were not on hand yesterday. Though both of the winners scored dominant victories one has to wonder how they would have fared against the preseason favorites. Kodiak’s Levi Thomet is the defending champion after his winning time of 15:03 is only three seconds off the course record of Trevor Dunbar. Thomet, of course, added to his laurels by becoming one of the very few runners to ever earn a berth in the Foot Locker National Championship. Thomet placed sixteenth in the nation last year and is one of the top potential returnees this year. Allie Ostrander has been the premier distaff prep in the state the past three years and the defending champion was the only female to break eighteen minutes at state last year, so the Kenai Central senior was keenly missed. Hopefully Allie will finally give the prestigious meet a try at the end this season. Not to be over-looked is the fact that both runners posted fine marks for this early in the season with Jordan looking to be very formidable. It bodes well for the ensuing season.