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The Juneau-Douglas cross-country team continues to run away from the competition as both the Crimson Bears girls' and boys' squads finished in first place yet again, this time in Yakutat.
Zack Bursell's 16:50 was good enough for a first-place finish, and teammates David Francis and Sage Thibodeau rounded out the top three with times of 16:54 and 16:55, respectively. Jesse Miller's time of 17:22 and Tal Marvel's 17:45 were good enough for sixth and seventh place overall, respectively.
"It was a good meet," said Tristan Knutson-Lombardo, assistant coach for the Crimson Bears. "The focus of the weekend was doing some pack running and having the athletes push each other toward faster times. They ran well."
On the girls' side, Juneau-Douglas' Sid Browning came in second overall with a time of 21:10, 32 seconds behind the winner, Skagway's Kaitlyn Surdyk.
Martina Miller, Lily Burger-Pothier and Amalia Tamone all finished in the top five for the Crimson Bears with times of 21:27, 21:32 and 21:33, respectively, and Sarah Donohoe's 22:11 was good enough for seventh place overall.
Knutson-Lombardo said the team is running well at this point of the season, and has been able to avoid injuries. Lia Domke and Donohoe each set personal records for the first time this season.
"We're really pleased for a couple of reasons," he said. "One, for the most part, we're a very healthy team with only a small amount of runners sidelined by injury. In a sport like running where injuries are common, you feel very fortunate that both our teams are very healthy, especially in the top seven.
"It's very encouraging as we look on to the second half of the season."
For the Thunder Mountain cross-country program, assistant coach Sarah Pahlke said improvement from week to week has been evident.
"We had a great week with 10 PRs, and Hugh Watts set a new school record," she said. "A lot of people set PRs last week and a lot of people set PRs this week, so it's like every week the kids are running smarter and really learning what they're doing."
Watts came in 16th place with a school-record 18:29 and was followed by Avery Stewart in 17th place with a time of 18:36. James Steeves, Khalil English and Wilson Suzuki rounded out the TMHS boys' top five with times of 19:12, 19:13 and 19:14, respectively.
Katie Jones' 12th-place finish was the highest finish of any Falcons runner with a time of 23:04, and Ashlynn Kay and Nicole Nicholson came in 20th and 22nd overall with times of 24:14 and 24:25, respectively. Amanda Giles finished in 25th place overall with a time of 25:18, and Emilyanne Lohrey's 26:12 was good enough enough for 29th place.
Lohrey set a PR during the race, shaving 1:10 off her previous best, and Kay also set a PR Saturday. But while Pahlke said the team is excited about its improvement overall, the Falcons are dealing with some frustrating injuries and hope to overcome them by the Region V meet.
"I think right now we're looking forward to regionals in Sitka as kids are trying to feel out their places," she said. "Unfortunately, we have a couple of kids that are running injured and we had them kind of hold back this meet, looking forward to the bigger meet being regionals."
Both the Crimson Bears and Falcons will be in Juneau next weekend for the teams' only home meet of the season at Sandy Beach.
Check Monday's sports section for full results from the meet in Yakutat.