Racing against Alaska's top teams, the Juneau-Douglas High School boys and girls cross country teams acquitted themselves well at the Palmer Invitational on Saturday.
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In addition to the stacked field, the Crimson Bears had to contend with a muddy course. The course took at least one casualty - the shoe of JDHS sophomore Leah Francis.
According to Crimson Bears coach Merry Ellefson, Francis lost her shoe during the race as she placed 13th overall in 20 minutes, 48.09 seconds. It was the first time Francis ever finished lower than first place in an Alaska cross country event.
West Valley's Crystal Pitney won the overall 4A title Saturday in 19:27.37.
Despite Francis' troubles in the mud, her teammates stepped up with big performances as the JDHS girls took second overall.
Senior Katie Krehlik placed fourth in 20:07.17 while Kirsten Jorgensen took fifth in 20:12.68 for JDHS. Sophomore Annika Ord placed 26th in 21:16.08 and Leigh Miller took 30th in 21:18.47.
Isabel Bush placed 51st overall in 21:59.96.
West Anchorage won the overall title with 64 points, while the Crimson Bears racked up 74 points.
West Valley took third overall, followed by Wasilla and South Anchorage.
For the boys, JDHS took a respectable ninth place as Kodiak ran away with the overall title.
Kodiak had 60 points, 52 points better than second place Colony. The Crimson Bears had 204 points for ninth.
Hunter Brown was Juneau-Douglas' highest finisher, placing 19th overall in 18:11.53.
Kodiak's Trevor Dunbar won the race in 16:18.60.
Juneau-Douglas freshmen Zack Bursell and Sage Thibodeau finished 36th and 37th respectively, while Daniel Stoops took 46th place.
Senior Gus Browning placed 66th in 19:16.80, and Robin Woodby took 80th in 19:35.61.
In Class 1-2-3A, Haines' J.J. Lende finished second overall in 20:02.02 in the girls race, while the Glacier Bears' Chandler Kemp also took second in 17:08.34 for the boys.
Contact sports editor Tim Nichols at 523-2228 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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