Christian Harver found himself in an unusual spot during the Kodiak High School cross country Alumni Run — in front.
“It feels both great and weird at the same time, said the senior. “I’m used to running by myself, but not during a race.”
Harver was the top Kodiak finisher in the boys’ field, zooming to a 5-kilometer time of 19 minutes, 33 seconds — a 15-second personal-best on the grueling Fort Abercrombie State Historical Park course.
Curtis Mortenson, a 2001 Kodiak graduate, was the only person ahead of Harver, finishing in 19:16.
Although it was an unofficial race to start the high school season, it was the best performance of Harver’s career.
“I expected for at least one or two people to pass me — they probably will be able to pass me at some point during the year, at least I would expect,” Harver said.
In his first season with the Bears a year ago, he ended as the third runner on the junior varsity squad.
When COVID-19 wiped out the spring track campaign, Harver didn’t pout, but instead went to work, spending Kodiak’s long summer days on the trails. Friday’s performance was proof of that.
“I want to reach my fullest potential,” Harver said. “If you can’t at least try to do that, then it is pretty sad.”
With a dad in the military, Harver started high school in Guam. His career has blossomed here on The Rock.
“We knew last fall that he needed just a little more time to train and get his times down ... He is way stronger and way faster than we have seen from him,” Kodiak coach Ashley Mortenson said.
Kodiak returned three boys from last year’s team that placed seventh at the state meet — seniors Colt Hubert and Jackson Roberts, and junior David Castro.
Castro placed third on Friday in 20:16, while Roberts was seventh in 21:32. Hubert did not run.
With the travel portion of the season in limbo because of COVID-19, Harver is glad to compete in races with teammates and community members.
“Regardless of whether the season happens, I still want to run,” he said. “My goal is fairly simple: To just beat my old time and reach my maximum potential until there is nothing left.”
Sophomore Elizabeth Parnell was the top Kodiak girl finisher, placing third with a time of 25:01. The Bears’ top runner from last season was short of her personal-best time at The Fort.
Parnell is coming off a smashing rookie campaign where she was runner-up at the Region III Championships and 42nd at the state meet.
Mortenson said Parnell dialed back summer training after hitting it hard during the spring but has since gotten her mojo back.
“It’s hard not to get burnt out when you train by yourself all winter and all spring,” the coach said. “She has come back and has hit some great workouts — she if fit.”
Arielle Himelbloom, a 2017 graduate of Kodiak High, won the girls’ race in 22:16. Kathryn Symmes, a community member, was runner-up in 24:11.
Himelbloom, a senior at the University of Alaska Anchorage, has two years of cross country eligibility left. However, she will not get to compete this fall as the Great Northwest Athletic Conference suspended sports through Nov. 30 due to COVID-19.
Kodiak’s Abigail Harver and Cassidy Foster placed fourth and fifth.
1. Curtis Mortenson, Alum, 19 minutes, 16 seconds; 2. Christian Harver, Kod, 19:33; 3. David Castro, 20:16; 4. Elmar Barroga, Kod, 20:55; 5. Bengt Anderson, Kod, 20:55; 6. Nicholas Hecht, Kod, 21:01; 7. Jackson Roberts, Kod, 21:32; 8. Benjamin Powers, Kod, 21:42; 9. Joseph Hathaway, Kod, 21:45; 10. Joshua Hathaway, Kod, 21:55; 11. Tyler Holforty, Kod, 22:06; 12. Jacob Sarnowski, Kod, 22:28; 13. Simon Grimes, Kod, 23:35; 14. Russell Grimes, Com, 23:42; 15. Aidan Buschbacher, Kod, 24:04; 16. Miles Grimes, Com, 24:21; 17. Makoto Seto, Kod, 25:10; 18. Josiah Overbeek, Alum, 25:43; 19. Tristen Klier, Kod, 28:48; 20. Elias Litzow, Kod, 29:11; 21. Howard Valley, Com, 30:22; 22. Richmon Incognito, Kod, 30:49; 23. Noah Schrof, Kod, 31:01; 24. Jed Overbeek, 31:10; 25. Tristan Creelman, Kod, 32:10; 26. Joseph Brattole, Alum, 35:10.
1. Arielle Himmelbloom, Alum, 22:16; 2. Kathryn Symmes, Com, 24:11; 3. Elizabeth Parnell, Kod, 25:01; 4. Abigail Harver, Kod, 25:36; 5. Cassidy Foster, Kod, 25:49; 6. Alyssa Prevatt, Kod, 27:09; 7. Lindsey Glenn, Com, 27:35; 8. Susan Johnson, Com, 27:47; 9. Ether Overbeek, Kod, 30:43; 10. Emma Christiansen, Kod, 31:12; 11. Leah Winegeart, Kod, 33:32.