Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears senior co-captain Sid Browning wasted little time establishing who will be the dominant girls’ runner-to-beat in Southeast.
Browning blasted off the starting line at Saturday’s Capital City Invitational cross-country meet and never trailed over the 5K Treadwell Cross-Country Course at Savviko Park, finishing in 21 minutes, 16.39 seconds.
“I feel like I am getting back into it,” Browning said after the race. “It was good to do a home course and knowing the course, I knew what to expect. I worked up the hills and recovered on the flats, and just got out there and did what I knew I could do.
“Now I need to work as hard as I can in practice and know that you have to run through the pain.”
JDHS senior Martina Miller edged Ketchikan’s Courtney Galloway by one tick of the stopwatch with 22:10.47 for second place. Haines’ Zayla Asquith-Heinz was the top 3A girl, finishing fourth in 22:23.14.
Senior Sarah McDermott and junior Lillian Burger-Pothier gave the Bears two more top 10 finishers with sixth- and seventh-place times of 22:29.38 and 22:29.78, respectively.
The Bears’ top five women totaled a time of 1:51:26 for an average of 22:17. Sitka totaled 1:56:40 for a 23:20 average, and Ketchikan 2:00:27 for 24:05.
The top Thunder Mountain girls’ runner was junior Katie Jones, who narrowly missed the top 10, finishing 11th in 22:57.51. The Falcons totaled 2:08:27 for an average of 25:41.
“I am glad it is not 70 degrees and sun bearing down on us like last year,” Jones said. “It was a great race for me. This was a three-second (personal record) for me on this course; not much but it is still something.”
JDHS co-coach Merry Ellefson said there were some great performances and strong runners on the day.
“I think we had a bunch of personal bests but I won’t know until we compare things on Monday,” she said. “Sid certainly had a strong race. She was shooting for a fast time and was certainly out there by herself. Sarah and Martina and Lilly pushed hard. We approach these meets like just another hard run — we don’t taper down for the season meets.”
Senior co-captain David Francis topped the boys’ field in 16:52:86, easily out-distancing Sitka’s Nico Friedman, the top 3A runner, who finished second in 16:59:88.
“The first two laps really wear you out,” Francis said. “There is a lot of twisting and turning, and people don’t think about it but the downhill really wears your legs out.
“I tried to power through the third lap so I could get to the finish. I try to focus on maintaining my form because I know if my form falls apart, it will be even harder.”
Francis has worn out multiple pairs of shoes over middle school and high school on the Treadwell Trails with one particular goal in mind: “I would like to take another 25–30 seconds off my time here,” he said.
JDHS senior co-captain Jesse Miller pushed Friedman into second place as the two challenged each other over the entire 3.2 miles. Miller finished third in 17:01:29.
Junior Tal Norvell and senior co-captain Ian Andrews rounded out the top five in 18:03:61 and 18:28:62, respectively.
The Bears’ top five scorers totaled 1:30:14 for an average time of 18:02:09. Sitka totaled 1:34:47 (18:57), and Thunder Mountain 1:36:23 (19:16).
“It is always nice to get the kinks out,” Juneau co-coach Tristan Knutson-Lombardo said, “to see where we are at and use this as a barometer of progress, and go from here.”
Thunder Mountain senior James Steeves led the Falcons with a sixth-place finish in 18:38:28.
“This was a really good start for me,” he said. “This is probably the hardest race in Southeast. Considering this is the first meet I did pretty well. I have a lot of room to build. Now I will really have to listen to what the coach tells me.”
The Falcons showed they are a threat in Southeast after placing four additional runners in a pack finish to challenge Sitka for second place.
“I’m just kind of digesting it all but I think we did great,” Falcons coach Scott May said. “We have this great pack that finished within seven seconds of each other toward the front, which is exciting. That is what we want: for them to stick together and push each other.”
1. JDHS 35, 2. Sitka 69, 3. Thunder Mountain 70, 4. Ketchikan 75,
5. Craig 179, 6. JDHS 2 188, 7. Ketchikan 2 196, 8. Wrangell 214, 9. TMHS 216, 10. Mt. Edgecumbe 240, 11. Petersburg 285.
1. JDHS 28, 2. Sitka 62, 3. Ketchikan 96, 4. Haines 97, 5. Craig 124, 6. TMHS 150, 7. Wrangell 186, 8. KTN2 209, 9. Mount Edgecumbe 236.
Full individual results will be in the Monday edition of the Juneau Empire.
• Contact reporter Klas Stolpe at 523-2263 or at email@example.com.