The Juneau-Douglas: Yadaat.at Kalé boys continued their upward trend at the state cross country meet on Saturday.
A year after moving up in the standings to sixth place, the Crimson Bears took fourth (out of 10 teams) on Saturday afternoon in the Division I race on the Bartlett High School Recreation Trails in Anchorage, marking their highest finish in over five years.
“We have such a good future for this team,” said JDHS freshman Will Robinson, who finished fourth among ninth graders in the meet. “It’s just nice knowing that we’re this fast now and that we’re just going to keep getting faster.”
Dimond High School, which boasted individual winner Santiago Prosser (15:14), scored 36 points to capture its second-consecutive state title, Chugiak was the runner-up with 74 points, West Valley was third with 83 points and JDHS had 102 points.
Juniors Finn Morley and Tim Degener raced to ninth and 12th place showings, respectively, crossing the finish line just seconds apart from each other. Morley finished in 16:45, Degener in 16:48.
“I started out a little slower and just tried to work my way up and get in that 10th spot,” Morley said. “This kid, yellow shirt (West Valley sophomore Daniel Abramowicz), we were just trading off the whole race. He pulled me so much. If that guy wasn’t there right next to me, right on my shoulder or right in front of me, I don’t think I could’ve done it.”
Seniors Ambrose Bucy (21st, 17:06), of JDHS, Tucker Kelly (33rd, 17:28), of Thunder Mountain High School, and Koby Goldstein (34th, 17:29), of JDHS, rounded out the top-five Juneau finishes.
“I had a rough season with an injury,” said Kelly, referring to a hip injury he suffered this fall. “I felt no injuries today. I thought I put together a pretty good race considering with all that happened.”
Goldstein also reflected positively on his outing. The Crimson Bear grimaced with his eyes shut as he legged out the final 200 meters to fend off Service’s Mitchell Guyer and West Anchorage’s Kelly Martin.
“I just put everything behind me and sprinted as hard as I could,” he said.
The remaining Juneau runners finished the race in this order: Robinson (40th, 17:39), Matthew Johns (43rd, 17:38), Sam Holst (47th, 17:39), Aubrey Hekkers (54th, 17:48) and Tommy Bowman (67th, 18:16).
Robinson, one of just nine freshmen that suited up, picked off several runners near the finish line.
“Those hills were just so hard and we got to the end and I was like, ‘I don’t know if I’m going to be able to go any faster,” Robinson said. “But somehow I did and passed a couple of people.”
Team Scores — 1) Dimond 36; 2) Chugiak 74; 3) West Valley 83; 4) JDHS 102; 5) Service 112; 6) West Anchorage 140; 7) Kodiak 169; 8) Lathrop 213; 9) Colony 251; 10) Soldotna 288.
• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or firstname.lastname@example.org.