Bear harriers run loop in Wrangell
After a long ferry trip, Haines High School cross-country runners settled into the routine of Wrangell’s course last weekend.
“The course was three laps around a park loop, which, for people who joined cross-country to run cross-country, can be more repetitive than they’re looking for,” said coach Tara Bicknell. “But it was a nice, flat course, which gave us a chance to get some good times.”
Juniors Zayla Asquith-Heinz and Keegan Sundberg again set the pace for their respective teams. Asquith-Heinz was 20th in the girls’ race with a time of 22:44. Sundberg placed 17th for the boys in 18:38.
Overall, the Haines boys placed seventh among 15 teams, behind Juneau-Douglas, Thunder Mountain, Ketchikan, Sitka, Mount Edgecumbe and Skagway. The Glacier Bears topped Wrangell, Craig, Klawock and Petersburg, as well as teams made up of additional runners from Ketchikan, Sitka, JDHS and Thunder Mountain.
Tallying points for the boys along with Sundberg were sophomore Neil Little, 27th in 19:21; senior Kai Sato-Franks, 52nd in 20:31; freshman Dawson Evenden, 64th in 21:06; and senior Chevy Fowler, 81st in 21:38. Freshman Mori Hays trailed Fowler by only a second.
Freshmen Charlie Bower and Ketch Jacobson, senior James Morgan and exchange student Marvin Steinmeister also ran for the Glacier Bears.
Evenden admits he’s “not a big runner,” but the freshman has found cross-country to be enjoyable. “It’s a good sport, and it gets kids out running.” Evenden said he focuses on keeping a steady pace throughout the race, setting himself up for a strong finish.
The Glacier Bear girls finished eighth out of nine teams, besting a second JDHS squad. Thunder Mountain won the meet, followed by JDHS, Petersburg, Craig, Ketchikan, Sitka and Mount Edgecumbe.
Senior Libby Jacobson was the first Glacier Bear to finish after Asquith-Heinz, tallying a time of 25:11 for 45th place. Other Haines runners scoring for the team were sophomore Jenae Larson, 48th in 25:46; freshman Shaye Otton, 52nd in 26:26; and junior Natalia Taylor, 64th in 28:43, one place ahead of Haines senior Rebekah Green. Junior Celia Bower and seniors Serena Badgley and Isobel Smith also completed the course.
Sophomore Larson is a team rookie. She said her friends were involved, so she gave it a try. Larson said she was nervous at the start of the season-opening meet in Haines until she passed several runners near the finish. “The first race I did, people were sprinting ahead and I was like ‘I’m going to lose.’”
Larson also had concerns about the Wrangell course, thinking she would struggle “seeing the same thing over and over again,” but memorizing the loop provided extra motivation when she knew she was near the end of a lap.
Haines has a meet in Juneau this weekend, and then will head to Sitka for the regional competition.
“We’re embarking on our hardest training week of the season this week, but it’s one that will really count for regionals,” Bicknell said. “It’s a short season, but the kids have really worked hard.”