The Crimson Bears girls are now the team to beat in Southeast cross country as a shot of young blood has helped the team to their second win in two meets.
After three freshmen girls crashed the top ten for JDHS last week, Sadie Tuckwood, Anna Iverson and Eva Goering built on that stellar performance this week, finishing first, third and ninth respectively at a sun-drenched Petersburg Invitational to help capture the meet for the Crimson Bears.
Tuckwood finished more than a minute and a half in front of any other female racer, blasting past Thunder Mountain junior Erin Wallace with an 18 minutes, 28.76 seconds time. Tuckwood beat her time from the Ketchikan meet by nearly a minute and a half.
“Everybody just upped their game,” coach Merry Ellefson said after the race. “Sadie really ran her race and took it out hard today.”
JDHS finished five girls in the top 10 with senior Elizabeth Ramseth finishing seventh overall at 22:01.22 and senior captain Gillian Smith tenth at 22:12.13.
“It’s really exciting. Everyone came in close together,” Iverson said.
With sophomore Arne Ellefson-Carnes leading the way, the Crimson Bears boys finished second as a team. Ellefson-Carnes placed second at the meet, pacing two runners from the state champion Sitka Wolves until a photo finish divided the three by less than a second.
Chasing Sitka is hard to do when half the varsity is running sub 18 minute 5Ks but Ellefson-Carnes has proven his ability to hang with the Wolves’ pack leaders.
The Thunder Mountain High School girls, who beat Petersburg by just one point last week, fell to the Vikings on their home turf this week. Wallace, a state medalist distance runner in track, led the Falcons again this week, finishing second at 20:02.71. Four of the Falcons girls logged personal records at the meet.
The boys were again led by junior Jonah Penrose at 17:31.66, good for fourth place and Penrose’s highest placing in an invitational meet.
Falcons coach Scott May said his young team looks promising after finishing third out of 13 on both the girls and boys sides.
“Our first-year athletes are trying different approaches and starting to figure out what works in these early season races,” May said.
Petersburg cross country debuted a new course this year, a hilly, two-lap route that coach Ellefson described as a “true cross country course.” The JDHS team is used to training on hills; Ellefson and coach Tristan Knudson-Lombardo make sure of that.
“We’ve done a lot of training on hills,” Iverson said. “Usually the coaches take us up the avalanche shoot [on Thane Road] or Perseverance Trail. They tell us to use our arms and give us advice on how to run hills.”
JDHS’ outstanding freshmen, a humble group, don’t seem to know how exceptional their young careers have been. Senior captain Gillian Smith, who’s known to fire up her team with pre-meet pep talks, wouldn’t have it any other way.
“All these freshmen are really super motivated people, even in their first year as high school runners. They’re not afraid to make bold choices and stick with runners who are faster than them,” said Smith. “We’re building confidence not only as individuals but as a team. We really know how to work together in packs and overtake other competitors. If we keep on working hard on that, we’ll continue to win races.”
Petersburg/Jack Eddy Invitational:
GIRLS TEAM SCORES:
1 JDHS, 30; 2. Petersburg, 54; 3. TMHS, 62; 4. Ketchikan, 103; 5. Wrangell, 136.
BOYS TEAM SCORES:
1. Sitka, 24; 2. JDHS, 45; 3. TMHS 67; 4. Ketchikan 103; 5. Petersburg 180.
(place, name, school, time):
1. Tuckwood, Sadie. JDHS 18:28.76
2. Wallace, Erin. TMHS 20:02.71
3. Iverson. Anna. JDHS 20:44.58
4. Hutten, Ryen. Wrangell 21:26.65
5. Eddy, Kayleigh. Petersburg 21:55.39
6. Cook, Shyla. Petersburg 22:00.68
7. Ramseth, Elizabeth. JDHS 22:01.22
8. Bleakley, Reece. TMHS 22:04.64
9. Goering, Eva. JDHS 22:10.26
10. Smith, Gillian. JDHS 22:12.13
11. Chase, Melanie. Petersburg 22:16.64
12. Thompson, Sally. TMHS 22:26.22
13. Pfundt, Erin. Petersburg 22:42.91
14. Seley, Tori L. Ketchikan 22:46.30
15. McNeilley, Ayla. Sitka 23:03.44
16. Lubin, Ella. Sitka 23:07.82
17. Borromeo, Lillian. Hydaburg 23:13.70
18. Knight, Elizabeth. Ketchikan 23:16.16
19. Salter, Veronica. TMHS 23:17.77
20. York, Maddie. JDHS 23:25.68
(place, name, school, time):
1. Wilcox, David. Sitka 16:58.68
2. Ellefson-Cames, Arne. JDHS 16:58.96
3. Baciocco, Collin. Sitka 16:59.21
4. Penrose, Jonah. TMHS 17:31.66
5. Pate, Joseph. Sitka 17:39.81
6. Taylor-Roth, Clem. JDHS 17:52.58
7. Baciocco, Dominic. Sitka 18:16.74
8. McIntyre, Skyler. Sitka 18:17.11
9. Allmendinger, Paul D. Ketchikan 18:20.45
10. McKenna, Tim. JDHS 18:24.92
11. Sleppy, Justin. TMHS 18:31.72
12. Buxton, Connor. Sitka 18:32.97
13. White, Jack. JDHS 18:33.30
14. Stitz, Shadrach. JDHS 18:33.50
15. Burger, James. TMHS 18:34.37
16. Norman, Connor. TMHS 18:34.67
17. Lenhard, Nathaniel. Petersburg 18:37.53
18. Coss, John G. Ketchikan 18:46.83
19. Collins, Max E. Ketchikan 18:50.09
20. Knudsen, Bryce. Kake 18:56.40
• Contact Sports and Outdoors reporter Kevin Gullufsen at 523-2228 or email@example.com.