Haines High School juniors Keegan Sundberg and Zayla Asquith-Heinz posted top-six times at the Sept. 28 regional competition in Sitka to qualify for this weekend’s cross-country state championships.

Sundberg was fifth in the boys’ race among small schools (1A, 2A and 3A), with a time of 18:05. Asquith-Heinz’s time of 21:22 landed her a sixth-place finish in the girls’ race. Asquith-Heinz said she plans to make the trip to Bartlett High School in Anchorage for the state meet, but Sundberg said he won’t attend, citing school commitments.

The top three teams and runners in the top 15 not on a qualifying team earned state berths.

As a team, the Haines boys placed seventh out of 10 full squads in Region V. The Glacier Bears trailed champion Sitka, Mount Edgecumbe, Wrangell, Skagway, Petersburg and Craig, and finished ahead of Yakutat, Klawock and Hydaburg. Athletes from Hoonah, Kake, Metlakatla and Thorne Bay also participated in the meet, but did not factor into overall, team scoring.

Regional runners for the boys included sophomore Neil Little, 24th in 19:22; senior Isaac Wing, 38th in 20:16; senior Zeke Frank, 44th in 20:51; freshman Charlie Bower, 54th in 21:45; senior Chevy Fowler, 55th in 21:52; and freshman Dawson Evenden, 58th in 22:13.

“I ran my hardest,” Wing said. “It was fun. We all had to go all out, because it was the last one we were going to get.”

The Glacier Bear girls trailed champion Petersburg, Mount Edgecumbe, Craig and Sitka in the team race. Hoonah, Kake, Klawock, Metlakatla, Skagway, Thorne Bay, Wrangell and Yakutat did not field full teams.

Senior Libby Jacobson was 30th in 24:43, sophomore Jenae Larson, 31st in 24:44; senior Serena Badgley, 36th in 25:25; junior Natalia Taylor, 45th in 27:13; junior Celia Bower, 47th in 27:34; and senior Rebekah Green, 50th in 28:30.

“It has been a beautiful experience to watch these kids improve through the season and work towards that last race last weekend,” Bicknell said. “They are amazing kids.”

Asquith-Heinz is a three-time state qualifier. “I kind of expected to qualify, but I wasn’t completely sure.”

She said at the state event, there are “a lot more people, and all the people that are there are a lot more serious.”

Sundberg ran at state last year when the Haines boys qualified as a team. This year, he trailed the regional champion, David Wilcox of Sitka, by less than 30 seconds.

“I thought the season was really good,” Sundberg said. “Tara was a great coach and she was really inspirational. I got a lot of personal best times and ran really fast.”