XC teams battle fog and terrain at State Championships

Over the past weekend, highschool cross country teams from across Alaska traveled to Palmer to compete in the last competition of the season, the ASAA State Championships.

A dad celebrates as his child crosses the finish line on Saturday.

At the end of September (Sep. 30), the Nanooks cross-country team traveled to Bethel to compete in the 3A Big West Meet. The results revealed AwaLuk Nichols, Lauren Kingstrom, Orson Hoogendorn, Benjamin Milton, Son Erickson, and Deacon Callahan qualified for ASAA Cross Country State Championships. 

Orson Hoogendorn, a junior at Nome-Beltz,  placed first at the 3A Big West Meet last weekend in Bethel. Going into the race, Hoogendorn said he focused on speed, distance and endurance. He hoped to place in the top ten. Hoogendorn placed eighth (17:29) in the Division II boys race. 

At the State Championships, Milton, Erickson, and Callahan ran faster than they had at the 3A Big West Meet. Milton ran over two minutes faster than last weekend (20:39), completing the course in 18:21. Erickson also shaved off over two minutes between the 3A Meet (21:34) and State Championships (19:29). Callahan’s time was more than a minute and a half difference from last weekend (22:03) and this weekend (20:15).

Callahan leads down the trail, with William Roberts of Kenai Central and William Douglas of Delta Junction not far behind him. (Photo by Tara Warren, KNOM)

The Lady Nanooks ran substantially faster than the weekend prior. Lauren Kingstrom finished seventh (21:32), and AwaLuk Nichols finished ninth (21:50). Going into the race, the ladies said they didn’t fear the course, and felt prepared. Nichols mentioned that this course has a large hill, but said it’s what her team has trained for. 

Six students from the Bering Straits School District traveled to Palmer to compete in the championships. All BSSD participants were in the Division III category.

BSSD School District Results Division III Boys:

  • 13th- Seth Paniptchuk, Shaktoolik (19:13)
  • 24th- Norman Stenek, Shishmaref (20:01)
  • 32nd- Ethan Fagerstrom, Golovin (20:26)

BSSD School District Results Division III Girls:

  • 1st- Ourea Busk, Unalakleet (19:38)
  • 10th- Violet Jack, Unalakleet (23:37)
  • 51st- Autumn Curtis, Shaktoolik (25:59)
Ourea Busk celebrates with assistant coach after placing first in the Division 3 girls race. Busk took over a minute off her time at the State Championships, running a time of 19:38. Her teammate, Violet Jack, placed tenth.

All results from the State Championship can be found online.

Photo at top: Orson Hoogendorn taking in his victory after the race while talking to his coach, Ryan Fox.