Juneau-Douglas girls sweep the field in final regular season race

Crimson Bears' girls occupy top six spots in race while Juneau senior Brown wins boys competition

Posted: Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Juneau-Douglas High School boys and girls cross country teams wrapped up the regular season with a bang Saturday in Ketchikan.

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The girls posted a perfect 15 score and occupied the top six spots en route to victory while the boys also won their race. Hunter Brown picked up his first high school win for the Crimson Bears.

"We wanted to work on getting out a little bit better at the start and settling into a pace," JDHS co-coach Guy Thibodeau said. "At state, it'll be a little harder to get around the pack. These last couple of races was about going out with a faster group to see what that feels like."

The JDHS girls posted a dominating performance in their last regular season meet of the year.

Sophomore Leah Francis got back to her winning ways, taking first place in 18 minutes, 22 seconds. Francis finished 13th on Sept. 8 at the Palmer Relays as she ran nearly the entire race with only one shoe.

"She's faster than last year on her time in this course," Thibodeau said. "That was a pretty good time for her."

Senior Kristen Jorgensen took second in 19:10, followed by Katie Krehlik in third (19:40), Isabel Bush in fourth (20:11), Leigh Miller in fifth (20:12), and Annika Ord in sixth (20:21).

"Isabel came on strong, I thought," Thibodeau said.

The gap between the Bears' first and fifth fastest runners was 1:50. Thibodeau said he'd like to shave 30 seconds off that gap.

A narrow gap between runners is crucial for success in cross country. The shorter the time between finishers means better finishes in the race. Since cross country scores the top five runners, every second could translate into precious points for the team.

For the boys, Brown, a senior, captured his first high school victory in a time of 16:55.

"He went out on a good, strong pace and pulled away in the middle of the race," Thibodeau said. "That was just a real strong effort for the boys. The gap for one through seven was 1:02. Everyone was under 18 minutes. It's been a while since we had all seven runners break 18."

The Juneau boys' pack mentality paid off with a race-low 23 points.

Freshman Zack Bursell finished third overall in 17:19, followed by Sage Thibodeau in 19:20.

Nathan Ord placed seventh overall in 17:49, Daniel Stoops took eighth in 17:48, Gus Browning finished ninth in 17:50 and Robin Woodby took 11th overall in 17:57.

Ketchikan's Lucas Updike took second place overall in 17:18.

Up next for JDHS will be the Southeast Conference championships on Sept. 22 in Sitka.

• Contact sports editor Tim Nichols at 523-2228 or sports@juneauempire.com.

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