Juneau-Douglas cruised to big wins in the boys’ and girls’ 5K cross-country races for the second time in as many weeks Saturday in Wrangell, with David Francis and Sid Browning once again posting the fastest times.
The JDHS girls’ and boys’ teams ran away with the overall top spots, both winning handily.
Browning (20 minutes, 34 seconds) and teammate Martina Miller (21:33) finished 1-2 to lead the charge for Juneau-Douglas’ low-point total of 33 on the girls’ side. Sitka finished second with 62 points, followed by Ketchikan’s 83, Haines’ 95, Mt. Edgecumbe’s 117, Thunder Mountain’s 145 and host Wrangell’s 152.
“I had a great race and cut off a lot of time from last week,” Browning said. “I like the turns here in Wrangell a lot because it keeps your mind working while you are running.”
Browning shaved 42 seconds off her Week 1 race time.
Thunder Mountain ran shorthanded without its top two runners, Katie Jones (quad) and Cathy Mattson. Both will be ready for Saturday’s meet in Haines, with Mattson making her season debut.
The top TMHS girls’ finisher was Marella Gungob, who finished 20th in 24:09, shaving 1:30 off her lifetime personal record time.
“We had a lot of kids that really improved from two years ago when we last came to Wrangell, which is a big deal for us,” TMHS coach Scott May said. “We’re looking for that kind of improvement wherever we can get it. Marella had her lifetime PR by a minute-thirty, so it was a fantastic race for her. She’s come up through the ranks and finished around 70th two years ago, and she was 20th this time.”
The JDHS boys took four of the top five spots with Francis topping teammate Jesse Miller by 10 seconds, 16:53 and 17:03, respectively. Tal Norvell (17:58) and Ian Andrews (18:17) finished fourth and fifth.
Thunder Mountain’s James Steeves was the top Falcon finisher, coming in sixth in 18:46.
JDHS finished with 29 points, Sitka second with 66, Ketchikan third with 69, TMHS fourth with 107, Haines fifth with 152, JDHS 2 sixth with 173, Ketchikan 2 seventh with 203, Wrangell eighth with 233, Mt. Edgecumbe ninth with 236, Petersburg 10th with 265, TMHS 2 11th with 268, Metlakatla 12th with 332 and Petersburg 2 13th with 355.
JDHS coach Merry Ellefson called the trip to Wrangell a great bonding experience for the teams.
“We absolutely love coming down to Wrangell because it’s a great meet and we get a lot of bonding time as a team on the ferry,” she said. “We love the course as well. It’s nice to have a three-lap course and Wrangell always gives our runners something to work on with their strategy.”
• Wrangell Sentinel reporter Greg Knight contributed to this report.