Week two of racing produced some notes of validation, while including a fair dose of surprises and even one introduction. The biggest meet of the weekend and one of the major meets of the Alaskan season occurred at the Bartlett Invitational. That meet certainly validated the current credentials of Kyle Hanson of Lathrop and Jenette Northey of Service, who on paper were the top returnees in the large school division from last year’s State meet. Hanson, who won last week’s Twilight Invitational ran 16:27 to easily claim the boys’ victory over Max Romey, tenth at State last year, of Service, who was clocked in 16:48. Mason Minturn of Palmer was not far behind Romey with his third place effort of 16:52, while his Palmer team mate Chris Osiensky came in fourth with a time of 16:58. Kodiak runners Levi Thomas (16:59) and Cole Christiansen (17:00) led their team to a somewhat surprising second place finish behind Lathrop, which also was more formidable than anticipated. Christiansen, incidentally, had been the winner of last week’s Twilight Invitational. Miles Knotek of Seward, who scored in last week’s Nikiski meet, placed seventh with a time of 17:04. Rounding out the top ten individually were Isaac Lammers of Chugiak (17:17), Ryer Kornkven of Lathrop (17:18) and Garth Schulz o f Service (17:18). Finishing in 16th was John Klein of Service, who is the defending State 3A champion. Klein’s time of 17:35 was well off his winning time from last year of 16:44. Placing behind Lathrop & Kodiak in the guys’ team race were Service (89), Palmer (100) and Grace Christian (138).
Jenette Northey of Service made her first race of the year a winning one by racing to the chute in 19:20. Her winning race was not only validation but vindication after being credited with a second place finish in last year’s 4A State meet. Although her victory margin was fifteen seconds, her triumph was not accomplished all that easily, because West Anchorage freshman Lydia Blanchet challenged her early. Grace Graham of East Anchorage earned third with 19:40 and was followed by Megan Edic of Lathrop, who ran 19:42. Edic had won the West Valley Invitational last weekend and was credited with third at State last fall. Amelia Hennessy of Dimond claimed fourth in 19:45 ahead of Twilight Invitational winner Audrey Michaelson of Colony. Sarah Freistone of Dimond placed 7th in 19:56 and was followed by Mariah Burroughs of Wasilla (20:04) & Rachel Roelle of West Anchorage (20:07). Jenna Ford of Wasilla, who placed fifth at State last year, came in tenth with a time of 20:16 and Bailey Meier of Colony garnered 11th. In a rather stunning event Kailey Wilson of Kenny Lake, the three-time defending State champion in the 3A division finished only 18th with a time of 20:43. Elle Arnold of Grace also had one of those days we can all relate to, when she came home 24th in a time of 20:51. Arnold had taken second last week at Nikiski and had been second in last fall’s State meet behind Wilson. The girls’ team scores saw West Anchorage top South Anchorage 85 to 1118 with Wasilla & Eagle River not far behind with 124 & 129 points respectively. Dimond was fifth with 134 and Grace Christian followed with 138.
At the All Schools Invitational held in Fairbanks last weekend Kuba Grzeda of West Valley led the West Valley (Fairbanks) boys to victory over Delta Junction by a 19 to 56 total. Grzeda, who was second to Kyle Hanson in last weekend’s West Valley Invitational, earned the victory over Andrey Ionasku of Delta Junction, who was timed in 15:59. West Valley guys swept the next four places as Peter Noon (16:04), Mikko Sayre, Brandon Kowalski & Max Donaldson placed third through sixth. North Pole’s Joesph Gilmore earned 7th ahead of two more West Valley runners. Eliza Rorabaugh of West Valley made it a sweep of individual titles for the Wolf Pack with her facile victory with a time of 19:42. Kelly Schmitz of North Pole garnered second in a time of 20:24 and Mickey Murtiff of Ben Eilson took third with 20:32. Jill Phillips of West Valley secured fourth for West Valley as the team topped Eilson 19 to 56.
The Homer Invitational saw Fox Michaud of Kenai claim a victory in the event with a time of 17:13. Jonah Theisen of Kenai followed in second with 17:14 & Skyview’s Micah Hibish of Skyview ran 17:15 for third. Allie Ostrander of Kenai earned the girls’ accolades with her time of 19:51. She easily defeated her team mate Bailey Beeson, who placed second. Action next week in Alaska will see numerous team compete at the Skyview Invitational as well as Interior plus the Nome meet.