West Valley headlines Region VI Cross Country Championships

Published: Sep. 29, 2020 at 7:44 PM AKDT
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A short time ago, the idea of a high school cross country state meet seemed infeasible. As the leaves changed, so did the protocols and guidelines implemented by the Alaska School Activities Association for competing in high-risk, or red zones regarding COVID-19. With just two meets prior, the Region VI championships went off without a hitch on Saturday at the Fairbanks Golf Course, sending several runners from Interior, Alaska to the state meet, which is scheduled for October 10 at the Kincaid Park Trails in Anchorage. The top six runners of the 5-kilometer race from Division I (West Valley, Lathrop, North Pole) and the top 10 runners from Division II (Hutchison, Monroe Catholic, Valdez, Eielson) from each the boys and girls events advanced to the state meet. There are no team qualifiers or championships at state as in years past, only individual runners. Complete results of the Region VI Championships can be found here.

DI Girls

A race that has dominated by former West Valley and current Alaska Nanook runner Kendall Kramer had a passing of the torch this year. With Kramer’s graduation, former teammate Naomi Bailey snatched the crown when she completed the course in 17 minutes and 48.6 seconds, over two minutes faster than the next competitor.

“This year, I have started a different method of racing I guess you could say,” said the Region VI DI Girl’s Champion. "Basically, I want my running to be an extension of my life and so I go all out, it is all or nothing. I just expect, like in life and in races, when my strength fails, God is going to be there. So when I hit that two-mile mark, I was like, ‘I can’t do this anymore’, and he helps me push and then my coach is there for me training me physically for that, that’s the truth.”

*1. Naomi Bailey — 17:48.6 — West Valley

*2. Riga Grubis — 19:52.0 — West Valley

*3. Madeline Castillo — 19:52.4 — North Pole

*4. Gloria Bailey — 19:55.0 — West Valley

*5. Lia Castillo — 20:18.4 — North Pole

*6. Abigail Haas — 20:34.6 — Lathrop

7. Danika Dawley — 21:01.8 — North Pole

8. Amy Pilon — 21:05.9 — Lathrop

9. Ariana Duran — 21:27.4 — West Valley

10. Sage Personett — 21:32.9 — West Valley

*Qualified for state

DI Boys

West Valley junior Daniel Abramowicz defended his Region VI title from last year, completing the course in 16:40.7 for first place. The top six runners were split between West Valley and Lathrop, as the Malemutes were paced by Jonathan Ebel. West Valley has a history of cross country success, much in part to their coaching staff.

“Our coaches are amazing," said Abramowicz. "We had a coach switch this year, from Dan [Callahan] to Mr. [Hannibal] Grubis and it just went really smoothly. It shows it wasn’t just Dan doing it, he was an amazing coach, but it is the succession in coaches that really helps our team.”

*1. Daniel Abramowicz — 16:40.7 — West Valley

*2. Shane Fisher — 16:57.8 — West Valley

*3. Jonathan Ebel — 17:28.4 — Lathrop

*4. Benjamin Pilon — 17:30.5 — Lathrop

*5. Asher James — 17:34.7 — Lathrop

*6. Josh Baurick — 17:36.2 — West Valley

7. Tucker Sarkisian — 18:18.7 — Lathrop

8. Charlie Schuldt — 18:26.7 — West Valley

9. Ryan Croan — 18:31.7 — North Pole

10. Koen House — 18:36.7 — West Valley

*Qualify for state

DII Boys

Hutchison’s Cormac Kesey wasted little time getting ahead of the pack, that was until he made a wrong turn on the course and squandered the lead. Having to change gears, Kesey caught up to new leader around the 4k mark, where it became a foot race to the finish. Kesey edged out Monroe' Billy Bast by 0.3 seconds to take the DII Region VI title.

“Going from the mindset of just being in front of everyone to trying to catch them, I think might have almost helped me a little bit, but going the wrong way definitely hurt," Kesey said with a laugh.

*1. Cormac Kesey — 19:13.3 — Hutchison

*2. Billy Bast — 19:13.6 — Monroe Catholic

*3. William Benes — 19:34.3 — Valdez

*4. Stephan Felix — 19:37.3 — Monroe Catholic

*5. Bruce Otey — 19:55.0 — Monroe Catholic

*6. Phillip (Waker) Jones — 19:59.1 — Hutchison

*7. Jason Buffington — 20:00.2 — Hutchison

*8. Evan Moss — 20:08.4 — Hutchison

*9. Sebiyam Werdin — 20:34.8 — Hutchison

*10. Seth Waln — 20:47.1 — Hutchison

*Qualified for state

DII Girls

With only nine runners competing in Division II, they took on the course the same time as the DI runners. Monroe swept the top four spots led by junior Katie Bast.

*1. Katie Bast — 20:40.4 — Monroe Catholic

*2. Jeannie Cook — 21:36.3 — Monroe Catholic

*3. Lauren White — 21:38.4 — Monroe Catholic

*4. Miranda Wilkerson — 22:49.4 — Monroe Catholic

*5. Natalie Clemente — 23:57.8 — Hutchison

*6. Nadia Chernich — 24:02.4 — Monroe Catholic

*7. Anika Palomar — 24:57.3 — Valdez

*8. Myah Winningham — 27:31.0 — Hutchison

*9. Reagan Boucher — 30:45.6 — Eielson

*Qualified for state

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