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ANCHORAGE -- The Juneau-Douglas High School cross-country running team can feel pretty isolated in Southeast Alaska, without much of a chance to see the rest of the state's top runners.
The Crimson Bears got a chance to check out some of the state's other teams Saturday at the Fleet of Feet Flight Race 2000 at Russian Jack Springs Park. The Crimson Bears learned they can keep up with Alaska's best, as the Juneau boys took third place and the girls were sixth. Juneau doesn't have any home meets this year until it hosts the Region V meet late this month.
"I think this is like way better," said Juneau's Hilary Young, who took sixth place in the third flight, the flight for each team's third and fourth runners. "A lot of our team is in the top-10 in our region. It's just us and Ketchikan."
"This was good for Jesse (Stringer, who took third place in the fifth flight, the flight for each team's top two runners), he just kills us in practice," said Justin Dorn, who finished third in the third flight. "It was nice for them to throw us something different. I just wish we'd been running in the woods."
Saturday's race was run in four flights, with the seventh and eighth runners racing in the first flight (Juneau only brought seven runners to the meet). The fifth and sixth runners on each team were in the second flight, the third and fourth in the third flight and the top two runners were in the last flight. Instead of using the standard scoring method based on individual placings, the meet was scored based on the best combined team times for the top five finishers on each squad.
The Chugiak Mustangs claimed the boys team title, with a combined time of 50 minutes, 45.4 seconds. The Dimond Lynx took second place among the boys at 50:53.1, followed by Juneau at 51:15.8, East Anchorage at 51:19.3 and Service at 51:56.3.
East's Sean McMahon had the fastest boys time at 9:42.0 for the 3-kilometer course, which looped around the Russian Jack Springs golf course (a normal high school cross-country running meet is 5 kilometers). McMahon was followed by Chugiak's Scott Rood at 9:46.7, Stringer at 9:55.7, Chugiak's Brian Knowles at 9:57.6 and Bartlett's Dave Mazany in 10:09.7.
"I got him at the finish," Stringer said of beating Knowles, who led him much of the race. "This helps you know where you're going to finish."
"We were missing two of our top runners, Wesley Brooks and Brian Nowlin, so I think we'll move up a bit," Juneau's Kevin Almlie said.
In the girls meet, the East Thunderbirds won with a time of 57:46.2 as East runners won each of the four flights. The T-Birds were followed by the West Anchorage Eagles at 1:00:00.5, the Service Cougars third at 1:00:17.4, the Colony Knights fourth at 1:00:52.8, Chugiak fifth at 1:01:06.8 and Juneau sixth at 1:01:15.7.
East's Kikkan Randall was the fastest girl, in 10:53.3, followed by Kris Smith of West in 11:15.1, East's Jessica Allman in 11:20.4, Service's Tara Hamilton in 11:29.4 and Colony's Dominique Colberg in 11:31.1. Young's time of 11:59.7 was the fastest for Juneau and 19th overall.
"It was awesome. It was fun," Heidi Denton said. "But I should have run harder."
Many of the Crimson Bears enjoyed the unique format of the race, which gives different runners a chance to lead the pack because of the flights. Normally, the back of the packers are so far removed from the lead they don't really get the chance to run in front.
"It was a little bit different," said Chris Frank, who took second place in the first flight. "This is the first time I've ever been able to see Jesse finish a race."
The Crimson Bears, who also had a squad at a meet in Haines this weekend, now travel to Soldotna to train for a day on the state meet course at Skyview High School's Tsalteshi Trails before returning to Southeast Alaska for the remainder of the season.
FLEET OF FEET
FLIGHT RACE 2000
Results from Saturday's Fleet of Feet Flight Race 2000 at Russian Jack Springs Park in Anchorage. Runners went off in flights based on their respective spots on their rosters. The seventh and eighth runners were in the first flight, fifth and sixth runners in the second, third and fourth in the third flight, and top two runners in the last flight. Team standings are based on the combined times of each team's top five finishers.
Boys team standings -- 1. Chugiak, 50 minutes, 45.4 seconds; 2. Dimond, 50:53.1; 3. Juneau-Douglas, 51:15.8; 4. East Anchorage, 51:19.3; 5. Service, 51:56.3; 6. West Anchorage, 52:23.2; 7. Bartlett, 52:51.2; 8. Grace Christian School, 52:58.1; 9. Colony, 53:24.7; Incomplete teams: Bethel, Susitna Valley.
Boys Flight One (top five finishers and Juneau) -- 1. Chan Anderson (Dim), 10:28.3; 2. Josh Saul (Serv), 10:44.3; 3. Christopher Frank (JD), 10:47.4; 4. Ben Otte (Chug), 10:47.6; 5. Josh Cohen (Dim), 10:53.7.
Boys Flight Two -- 1. Ben Crawford (Serv), 10:18.4; 2. James Voelckers (JD), 10:21.8; 3. Ryan Meier (GCS), 10:23.7; 4. Luke Mengel (Dim), 10:27.6; 5. Justin Singleton (Chug), 10:39.5; 14. Reed Willis (JD), 10:51.9.
Boys Flight Three -- 1. Dan Church (Chug), 10:02.8; 2. Brent Lowen (Dim), 10:07.0; 3. Justin Dorn (JD), 10:07.7; 4. Colin Bonfield (West), 10:09.8; 5. Jake Peterson (Dim), 10:13.0; 11. Axel Thibodeau (JD), 10:26.9.
Boys Flight Four -- 1. Sean McMahon (East), 9:42.0; 2. Scott Rood (Chug), 9:46.7; 3. Jesse Stringer (JD), 9:55.7; 4. Brian Knowles (Chug), 9:57.6; 5. Dave Mazany (Bart), 10:00.9; 15. Kevin Almlie (JD), 10:23.7.
Girls team standings -- 1. East Anchorage, 57:46.2; 2. West Anchorage, 1:00:00.5; 3. Service, 1:00:17.4; 4. Colony, 1:00:52.8; 5. Chugiak, 1:01:06.8; 6. Juneau-Douglas, 1:01:15.7; 7. Dimond, 1:02:57.0; 8. Grace Christian School, 1:02:21.7; 9. Susitna Valley, 1:08:14.1; Incomplete teams: Bartlett, Bethel.
Girls Flight One -- 1. Ingvild Pedersen (East), 12:20.0; 2. Sally Johnson (East), 12:34.9; 3. Justin Calvin (Serv), 12:47.7; 4. Chelsea Farrington (JD), 12:51.5; 5. Caroline Livett (Serv), 12:56.2.
Girls Flight Two -- 1. Ashley Mickens (East), 11:53.1; 2. Leah Besh (East), 11:58.4; 3. Paige Brady (Serv), 12:17.7; 4. Ellie Miner (West), 12:23.6; 5. Jenna DeYoung (GCS), 12:25.7; 6. Breanne Rohm (JD), 12:39.2; 13. Christina Bruce (JD), 13:31.1.
Girls Flight Three -- 1. Jessica Allman (East), 11:20.4; 2. Ashley Thomas (GCS), 11:35.4; 3. Arianne Massengale (East), 11:52.4; 4. Diana Heimerl (Col), 11:52.6; 5. Sarah Beetch (Serv), 11:54.9; 6. Hilary Young (JD), 11:59.7; 8. Greta Thibodeau (JD), 12:15.3.
Girls Flight Four -- 1. Kikkan Randall (East), 10:53.3; 2. Kris Smith (West), 11:15.1; 3. Tara Hamilton (Serv), 11:29.4; 4. Dominique Colberg (Col), 11:31.1; 5. Nikki Campbell (Col), 11:33.8; 12. Heidi Denton (JD), 12:02.8; 16. Brandy Weston (JD), 12:18.7.