Dihle ‘Weathers’ Region V XC Championships as JDHS Girls Chase

    This file photo shows TMHS senior Kiah Kihle, right, battling Sitka's Anna Prussian, left, and Clare Mullen, middle, at Sandy Beach.

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The weather that knocked out power in Juneau Friday night also caused havoc on the teams participating in the Region V Cross-Country Championships in Ketchikan on Saturday, delaying races and results through Monday, but not deterring the athletes who made the starting gun at the host’s Ward Lake 5K course.

      “The conditions were really bad for the guys and the first three races,” Thunder Mountain senior Kiah Dihle said. “But for our girls race, we ran at the end of all the races, and we lucked out and it wasn’t that rainy. We missed the hail. There was lightning actually when some of the people were running. But we lucked out.”

      Dihle won her second Region V title in a row with a time of 18 minutes 51 seconds. She said there is a different strategy for running in inclement weather.

      “Definitely had to keep our warmups on until the last minute,” Dihle said. “Stay super warm and then run fast.”

      Only the Division I races were finalized on Saturday due to teams missing the DII and DII starts.

      The Juneau-Douglas Yadaa.at Kalé Crimson Bears girls won their eighth Region V team title in a row and 41st in the past 44 region championship races.

      “Those were the best two-team efforts, combined, that we have had all season from our boys and our girls,” JDHS co-coach Tristan Knutson-Lombardo said. “Our girl’s team looked as solid as can be. They had their standout effort in Palmer a few weeks ago against the state’s top teams and they won that meet, and it just looked like a duplication of that effort again on the course.”

      The top team from the DI girls and boys race and the top 12 individuals in each of the DI girls and boys races move on to the state championships at Anchorage’s Bartlett High School next weekend.

      Dihle will be running in her fourth state meet.

      “It’s exciting,” Dihle said of state. “There are a pack of girls who are pretty close together in times so I think it will be a close race. We’ll see who wins. Whoever is the most prepared, mentally and physically, will ultimately be the winner. So I’m excited to see.”

      Following Dihle across the line to qualify for state were JDHS sophomore Etta Eller in 19:18, JDHS sr. Annika Schwartz in 19:35, JDHS so. Rayna Tuckwood 19:50, JDHS sr. McKenna McNutt 20:03, JDHS sr. Ella Goldstein 20:04, JDHS freshman Ida Meyer 20:10, JDHS sr. Trinity Jackson 20:25, TMHS sr. Grace Sikes 21:13, KTN fr. Carol Frey 21:41, TMHS sr. Abigail Booton 21:43 and KTN sr. Paige Boehlert 21:54.

      “That was a bit of pressure for sure,” Dihle said of the girls chasing her. “I think I lost them in the later half of the race. So it was a lot of running by myself which can be difficult. But it is exciting with people chasing you.”

      Said Knutson-Lombardo, “It was really great to see Etta (Eller) pull away with a solid low 19-minute time to lead that girls team. And then to have our seventh runner Trinity (Jackson) be under 20 minutes 30 seconds, that is a highly competitive girls team. One that we probably haven’t seen since the Leah Francis, Annika Ord, Alice Ottoson-McKeen (2009 graduates) days.”

    Rounding out the DI girls were TMHS junior Mackenzie Olver 22:09, TMHS jr. Aliyah Overturf 22:30, KTN sr. Maggie Boehlert 22:57, KTN fr. Clara Odden 23:06, KTN fr. Trisha Capps 23:20, TMHS so. Sophia Owen 23:49 and KTN fr. Aspen Bauer 24:53.

      The Crimson Bears boys won their 32nd Region V team title in a row and 45th of the past 48 region championship races.

      “On the boys side they really closed the gap from one to seven,” Knutson-Lombardo said. “I think they were about 40 seconds apart from the first runner to the seventh. That is a really strong, solid boys pack, especially considering we don’t really have a standout top runner it is really important that five, six and seven close that gap on our first runners.”

      Ketchikan’s Mickey Lapinski won the boys DI title in 16:49.

      Following Lapinski across the finish and on to the state championships next weekend were JDHS jr. Will Robinson in 17:30, JDHS jr. Eli Crupi 17:32, JDHS sr. Aubrey Hekkers 17:33, TMHS sr. Matthew Johns 17:34, JDHS sr. Samuel Holst 17:42, KTN sr. Kyle Congdon 17:56, JDHS so. Martin Holst 17:56, JDHS sr. Tias Carney 18:04, JDHS fr. Edgar Vera Alvarado 18:05, KTN fr. Casey Styles 18:22 and TMHS sr. Darin Tingey with 18:31.

      Rounding out the DI boys finishers were TMHS jr. Justus Paden in 18:54, KTN sr. Brent Capps 18:55, TMHS sr. Tommy Bowman 19:08, TMHS fr. Sage Janes 19:21, TMHS so. Justin Scussel 19:59.30, KTN jr. Tosh Ratzat 19:59.94, KTN so. Charles Thiede 21:22, TMHS fr. Quinn Quiroga 21:49 and KTN so. Clancy Thomas 26:37.

    “Regionals was an exciting race complete with pouring rain and lightning at one point,” Thunder Mountain co-coach Topaz Shryock said. “We were proud of how all our runners performed there, with the majority of them pleased with their race performance. After Regionals, we have had almost every athlete on the team reach their personal record time. That felt good. Going into Regionals, we had figured that if that if all went well, we could have at least five athletes headed to state, which is what happened. Others were close. We look forward to them having a chance to qualify next year.” 

      The Alaska School Activities Association (ASAA) Cross-Country State Championships will be at Anchorage’s Bartlett High School on Oct. 9.

      “Usually I preview the course pretty thoroughly before,” The Falcons’ Dihle said of her previous three state trips. “Last year it was at Kincaid Park (in Anchorage). I have only raced on Bartlett twice. Those girls have an advantage for sure, they run there often. I am at a bit of a disadvantage but I’ll just preview the course thoroughly and get it as it comes. It’s constant rolling big hills, a real difficult course. I feel a little more comfortable than last season. This year we get to run with more people so it will be easier to see what place I am in as we are running, so I am excited definitely.”

      JDHS co-coach Merry Ellefson said the Crimson Bears approach state without times.

      “It has really been important for Tristan and I and the team this year to kind of get rid of what the word ‘time’ means,” Ellefson said. “Time doesn’t mean anything anymore, it is ‘place’ and our relationship to one another out there. When you look ahead to the next week you think neither team needs to do anything different because what happened is we understood it. That has been one of our goals this year, that the squads understood what it meant to work together with their best individual effort to really coalesce as a team. Given that they closed the gap on one another and stair-stepped so well in the place that they are, they are just poised to go up to Bartlett and utilize everything we have learned this year to have some pretty good outcomes. And for us they are not really related to time, they are related to place.”


    Only one of the two Division II teams, Mt. Edgecumbe, arrived in time to race and opted not to run due to the weather. The Braves and Lady Braves decided to return to Sitka on Sunday and race with their conference rival Sitka High School at Totem Park on Monday at 4:15 p.m. The top team and top 10 individuals (in each boys and girls race) qualify for state.


    Wrangell arrived too late for the Division III races on Saturday and ran by themselves on Sunday and their scores were added to finalize the DIII results.

      The top three teams in each of the girls and boys DIII races (and all team members) and the top 15 individuals in each race qualified for the state championships.

      Girls Team Scores: Haines 27, Klawock 61, Petersburg 70, Wrangell 72. Skagway, Thorne Bay, Kake and Metlakatla did not have enough runners for team scoring.

      Top 15 DIII girls: Ariel Godinez-Long HNS 17:59 HNS, Liana Carney WRG 19:24, Grace Long HNS 19:37, Mamie Crooks KAKE 19:44, Avery Williamson HNS 20:02.14, Kenai Holien KLWK 20:02.45, Kinley Lister PSG 20:17, Lexi Johnson KLWK 20:35, Kyla Jones KLWK 20:43, Avari Getchell HNS 20:46, Mackenzie Dryden HNS 20:47, Alexus Sakamoto Quezor PSG 21:24, Sally Chapell HNS 22:07, Ashlyn Ganey HNS 22:32 and Jillian Jackson KAKE 22:45.

      Next DIII Girls: Kate Thompson PSG 22:55, Della Churchill WRG 22:59, Deirdre Toyomura PSG 23:01, Sierra Ely WRG 23:18, Mia Wiederspohn WRG 24:24, Isabella Hoppe KLWK 25:02, Emma Martinsen WRG 26:17, Katilyn Tronrund SKG 27:00, Rylee Chelette WRG 29:28, KLWK Hailey Hedges 30:51, Clara Pablos TB 30:59, Athena Jordan MET 31:02, Lacey Marsden MET 31:04, Dionna Jackson KAKE 31:35, Lakell Deinhardt PSG 35:30, Jasmine Aceveda KAKE 36:33 and Nicole Mendonsa TB 38:43.

      Boys Team Scores: Haines 37, Petersburg 45, Craig 67, Wrangell 80, Klawock 139, Skagway 155, Metlakatla 174. Kake, Thorne Bay and Gustavus had limited runners.

      Top 15 DIII Boys: Uriah Lucas PSG 17:04, Luke Davis HNS 17:48, Rogan Hanson CRG 17:53, Leo Wald HNS 17:55, Kona Atkins GUST 18:00, Kaleb Jones HNS 18:06; Daniel Harrison WRG 18:08, Michael Durkin PSG 18:10, Marley Kness KLWK 18:15, Daniel Aspery CRG 18:32, Evan Durco GUST 18:38.03, Dominic Ross KAKE 18:38.79, Valon Weathers PSG 18:47, Breiland Willis PSG 19:02 and Eric Gilliam HNS 19:07.

      Next DIII Boys: Keegan Hanson CRG 19:09, Gaelen Allen HNS 19:15, Ethan Blatchley WRG 19:16, Chase Lister PSG 19:18, Devlyn Campbell WRG 19:22, Kieran Cabral PSG 19:47, Sam Bass CRG 20:02, Randy Churchill WRG 20:09, Caleb Lutomsky PSG 20:31, James Shilts WRG 20:38, Colin Rice CRG 20:55, Jake Sager SKG 21:00, Logan Borcik HNS 21:07, Dalton Wyzykowski KLWK 21:08, Ashton McKeehan MET 21:18, Benjamin Burnham SKG 21:40, Jimmy Baggen WRG 21:51, Tyson Messmer WRG 22:14, Joshua Cochran SKG 23:08, John Fisher Kelly GUST 23:33, Ian Owen KLWK 23:39, Nicolas Davis KAKE 23:45, Calvin Miller SKG 23:59, Erick John TB 24:05, Daniel Bohlke GUST 24:16, Gabriel Buxton MET 24:17, Emett Fairbanks KLWK 24:29, Jackson Benson MET 24:31, Kohyn Broncheau MET 25:20, Dakwaneek Crookes KAKE 25:37, Jacob Isaacs KLWK 26:12, Paul Cooper SKG 26:22, Matias Canadas TB 26:34, Miles Nelson MET 26:36, Jasper Booth MET 26:41, Tanner Smith CRG 28:04, Kurt Kohn TB 29:35 and Giovanni Arroyo MET 35:47.




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