The Juneau-Douglas High School cross country teams moved one step closer to a Region V championship and trip to the state tournament with wins Saturday in an all-Southeast meet in Wrangell.
Both teams went into competition in the final regular-season meet without key runners. But the reserves proved to be up to the task, particularly in the men's meet, where the Bears posted their first perfect score of the season by sweeping the top five places in the 79-runner, 12-team field.
Shawn Miller was back in top form, pacing the Juneau effort with a tape-breaking time of 17 minutes, 20 seconds over Wrangell's hilly 5-kilometer course.
``Shawn looked like his old self today,'' said coach Guy Thibodeau. ``He was really running his race today.''
The men were without senior Jeffrey Early, their top finisher the last two weeks. But a solid effort by the Bears second and third runners more than compensated for his absence.
Joe Kegler and Dewey Peacock ran well for Juneau, finishing in 17:39 and 17:42 respectively, as the Bears ran away from the field. Even second-place Ketchikan, paced by Steve Beedle's sixth-place finish, was a distant 84 points behind Juneau.
Luke Dihle (fourth, 18:01) and Dan Fagnant (fifth, 18:02) closed out the Bear sweep.
``It's really something that the boys were able to sweep without Jeffrey,'' said Thibodeau. ``It shows how good and strong they are.''
Corey Denton finished seventh in 18:21, while brother Todd came in 34th in 19:34.
Running without top finisher Maria Eley in the women's race, Juneau still managed a 29-point, first-place finish that was 53 points better than second-place Petersburg.
Sophomore Breea DeSloover, with teammate Jeanette Gardiner hot on her heels, ran to victory for the Bears. Her time of 20:50 was just three seconds faster than Gardiner's.
``It's great to see Jeanette coming right up on Breea like that,'' said Thibodeau of Gardiner, normally the team's number five runner. ``That'll make for a good tight group (next week at regionals).''
Abby Blair was next in for Juneau, finishing fifth in 21:27. Marta Race and Michael Kohan wrapped up the scoring for the Bears, finishing three seconds apart in 10th and 11th.
Freshman Eden Orelove, whose time of 21:42 placed her 12th, was close enough to force a runoff this week for the team's fifth, sixth and seventh varsity spots at the Region V meet on Saturday.
Hannah Slotnick came in 26th for the Bears In 24:13.
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