Cross Country

Courtesy of ASHLEY MORTENSON

The Kodiak boys cross country team gathers for a photo after winning the team title at the Region III Cross Country Championships. 

For the first time since 2011, the Kodiak boys’ and girls’ teams are headed to the Division I cross country state championships.

Both squads punched their tickets Saturday at the Region III Championships at Palmer High School. 

Behind a one-two finish from Connor Marbrey and Braxton Gruner, the boys defended their team title and won for the 17th time in the past 18 years. 

Kodiak finished with 43 points — 26 points ahead of runner-up Colony. The Bears topped the Knights last year by only three points. 

“It was a little more relaxed, which was exciting to see,” Kodiak second-year coach Ashley Mortenson said. “Our guys’ team looked very much in control and ready to go. They are definitely keeping their eyes on state this year.”

Marbrey and Gruner ran together until the final kilometer of the race. That is when Marbrey broke away to finish with a 5-kilometer time of 16 minutes, 35.49 seconds. 

Marbrey, a junior, is Kodiak’s first individual champion since 2017. 

Gruner was second in 16:52.93, while Colt Hubert was fourth in 16:58.50. He missed third by less than a second. 

“He didn’t have quite enough real estate to make it happen, but he was reeling people in,” Mortenson said. 

The Kodiak girls ended an eight-year state-less drought by placing third with 62 points — 12 points ahead of fourth-place Palmer. 

Colony (38 points) and Soldotna (52) also qualified for state. 

The girls were the last to race, which made for an electric atmosphere. 

“When the girls stepped up, they just had so much positive momentum behind them,

 Mortenson said. “Guys were lining the start line, playing music. They had poster boards and were right there with them.”

Freshman Elizabeth Parnell led Kodiak with a runner-up finish, clocking a time of 20:04.31. 

Mortenson said Parnell was in 10th before working her way through the pack. She passed two runners — including teammate Naomi Griffin — in the final 400 meters. 

“It was a great dramatic finish and was keying in her 400 racing speed to her advantage,” Mortenson said. 

Griffin, a sophomore, placed fourth in 20:09.71. 

The Division I cross country state championships is Saturday at Bartlett High School. Mortenson said she was overwhelmed with the number of messages she received from former Kodiak runners after the victorious day at Palmer.  

“The community of cross country fans, far and wide, is always such an encouragement to our team,” she said. “We had a lot of people rooting for us in spirit, which is pretty cool.”  

Boys

Team — 1. Kodiak, 43; 2. Colony, 69; 3. Soldotna, 70; 4. Wasilla, 83; 5. Palmer, 83. 

Individual — 1. Connor Marbrey, Kod, 16 minutes, 35.49 seconds; 2. Braxton Gruner, Kod, 16:52.93; 3. Landon Hayes, Was, 16:57.79; 4. Colt Hubert, 16:58.50; 5. Bradley Walters, Sol, 17:04.14; 6. Ryan Owens, Pal, 17:10.37; 7. Mike Reem, Pal, 17:12.45; 8. Lance Chilton, Sol, 17:14.86; 9. Lane Meier, Col, 17:20.16; 10. Jake Waterhouse, Col, 17:20.84; 11. Brennan Lackey, Was, 17:21.21; 12. Kolten Greathouse, Was, 17:21.79; 13. Noble Gurney, Pal, 17:22.20; 14. Garrett Streit, Col, 17:24.15; 15. Anchor Musgrave, Sol, 17:30.83; 16. Zac Cheyette, Col, 17:39.36; 17. Riley Birbilas, Kod, 17:46.49; 18. Maleda Denbrock, Sol, 17:47.67; 19. Jerrod Bolton, Kod, 17:48.38; 20. Jayden Rice, Col, 17:49.54; 21. David Castro, Kod, 17:50.27; 22. Jackson Roberts, Kod, 17:50.64; 23. Bryson Whitworth, Col, 18:04.29; 24. Quinn Cox, Sol, 18:09.41; 25. Zachary Daniel, Col, 18:10.93; 26. Levi Miller, Pal, 18:14.23; 27. Zachary Burns, Sol, 18:18.72; 28. Alexander Logsdon, Was, 18:23.95; 29. Aidan Lee, Was, 18:25.75; 30. John Zwolinski, Was, 18:27.77; 31. Ziven Zwolinski, Was, 18:27.77; 32. Logan Magee, Was, 18:43.13; 33. Ethan Copp, Pal, 18:54.44; 34. Johsua Villanueva, Pal, 19:57.12; 35. Tytus Gilberg, Sol, 20:54.00. 

 

Girls

Team — 1. Colony, 38; 2. Soldotna, 52; 3. Kodiak, 62; 4. Palmer, 74; 5. Wasilla, 125. 

Individual — 1. Erika Arthur, Sol, 19:52.49; 2. Elizabeth Parnell, Kod, 20:04.31; 3. Jordan Strausbaugh, Sol, 20:06.54; 4. Naomi Griffin, Kod, 20:09.71; 5. Shea Alaniva, Col, 20:10.27; 6. Sofija Spaic, Col, 20:10.88; 7. Sophia Wright, Pal, 20:23.78; 8. Lydia Bushey, Col, 20:28.80; 9. Lucy Shea, Col, 20:30.43; 10. Abby Novak, Col, 20:34.07; 11. Jordan Ruffner, Sol, 20:39.63; 12. Lydia Ortiz, Pal, 20:40.73; 13. Madeline Ortiz, Pal, 20:41.10; 14. Abbi Boucher, Was, 20:41.64; 15. Monica Bustillos, Col, 20:54.46; 16. Malina Fagan, 20:57.14; 17. Ryann Cannava, Sol, 20:58.37; 18. Hallee Blair, Kod, 21:04.50; 19. Aila Berrigan, Pal, 21:17.12; 20. Cameron Blackwell, Sol, 21:40.76; 21. Giselle Rachels, Was, 21:54.80; 22. Francie Eufemio, Kod, 21:56.17; 23. Nina Kalytiak, Pal, 22:05.61; 24. Carly Glover, Kod, 22:13.47; 25. Riley Malone, Col, 22:19.18; 26. Katie Delker, Sol, 22:22.56; 27. Zoe Copp, Pal, 22:23.39; 28. Isabella Dammeyer, Sol, 22:53.60; 29. Brynn Steiner, Was, 23:03.72; 30. Shandelle Breshears, Was, 23:40.11; 31. Andrea Apthorp, Was, 23:45.65; 32. Sophia Nowers, Pal, 23:47.92; 33. Elizabeth Lee, Was, 23:54.09; 34. Kylee Griffin, Was, 24:03.20. 

 

 

 

 

 

(1) comment

Dunbar News

Love those Bears! 🏃🏻‍♂️🏃🐻

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