After getting out-kicked for second place in last year's state championship cross country meet by teammate Tristan Knutson-Lombardo, Juneau-Douglas High School senior Tyler Dinnan decided Saturday it was time for him to do the kicking.
Dinnan overtook Palmer's Jake Parasian in the final 150 meters to capture the Alaska School Activities Association's boys state cross country championship at Skyview High School in Soldotna.
Dinnan led the entire race until Parasian overtook him with the finish line in sight.
"As soon as he did, I thought back to last year when Tristan out-kicked me at state," Dinnan said. "I didn't want that to happen two years in a row."
With one mighty kick, however, Dinnan entered the history books as the first runner in school history to win an individual cross country state championship.
Dinnan completed the 5-kilometer course in 16 minutes and 45.2 seconds, a scant 0.8 seconds ahead of Parisien.
"Jake wasn't giving up, but he didn't quite have the speed Tyler had on that final straight," JDHS coach Guy Thibodeau said. "He (Dinnan) saw where he was and held him off with 10 meters to go."
Dinnan delivered a masterful performance and dictated the tenor of the race from the outset. The senior escaped the pack at the race's onset and led the pack through the first kilometer.
Thibodeau felt Dinnan went out a little too hard in the beginning, but according to Wesley Dinnan, the pace felt exceedingly slow.
"It felt like Tyler was toying with everyone," Wesley Dinnan said. "There was one point where I felt we were walking, crawling along for awhile."
Tyler Dinnan maintained a lead of Parasien, Kodiak's Steven Guana and his twin brother, Wesley, for most of the race.
"He came ready to be the dominant runner," Thibodeau said of Tyler Dinnan.
Dinnan's championship ends a season where he had to discover how to dictate a race rather than follow someone else's lead.
After spending his first three years biding his time behind the lead, Dinnan asserted himself and cemented his status as Alaska's best high school cross country runner in 2005.
"It feels great because I'm a senior," Dinnan said. "This is pretty much the best way I could go out."
While Dinnan captured the individual title, the JDHS boys team fell just short in its quest for a third-straight state championship.
The Crimson Bears took third place overall, finishing behind state champion South Anchorage and Kodiak.
"South just ran an amazing team race," Thibodeau said. "They dominated the field."
Juneau's Wesley Dinnan took fourth place overall with a time of 17:01.4. Although his finish snaps a recent string of 1-2 finishes for the twins, Wesley Dinnan said he felt pleased with his performance.
"We were shooting for the 1-2, so I was a little disappointed," he said. "In the big scheme of things, though, I think fourth is pretty good."
Juneau junior Andrew Flansaas continued his strong late-season surge by finishing 13th overall at 17:28.9.
The Crimson Bears' Nils Domke took 37th at 17:58.5, Ray Huebschen battled back from an injury to take 45th, while Hunter Brown claimed 56th and Justin Jones took 64th in the 83-person field.
In the Class 1-2-3A division, Haines' Chandler Kemp took third place overall at 17:33.4. Hollis Troxel of Anchorage Christian claimed the overall title.
Tim Nichols, sports editor, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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