Juneau-Douglas High School junior Molly Krehlik held on to win a medal Saturday as she placed ninth in her race at the Foot Locker Western Region Cross Country Championships at Mount San Antonio College in Walnut, Calif.
Krehlik was one of seven Crimson Bears to run in the meet, which featured the top runners from Alaska, Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico competing in 23 different races. About 40 Alaska runners competed in the meet, with most running as members of Team Alaska instead of for their respective high schools.
Krehlik was in Race 4, for high school junior girls, and she finished ninth with a time of 20 minutes, 54 seconds for the five-kilometer course. Jenn Buss of Orem, Utah, won the race in 19:59, finishing 20 seconds ahead of Lisa Frischknecht of Fruit Heights, Utah.
"It was a great start for us," Juneau-Douglas High School coach Guy Thibodeau said. "She got right out there and moved into seventh place, then held on to get a top-10 finish and got a medal. She spent the least amount of time worrying about her training. She's what the story is down here. She doesn't worry how hard the training is, she just puts in the most time."
Krehlik's finish was the best for a Southeast runner, but Alaska did pull off a victory on Saturday. Kodiak sophomore Stig Yngve won his race -- Race 19 -- in a time of 16:40, while Dimond sophomore Jeff Quickel took fourth place in Race 18 in 17:06. Krehlik was the only other Alaskan to medal.
The two races for seeded runners were used to qualify athletes for the national championship meet Dec. 8 in Orlando, Fla.
Juneau senior Jesse Stringer raced in the boys seeded race, but bronchitis that briefly hospitalized him earlier this week prevented him from matching his time from last year's race. Stringer took 181st place out of 208 runners with a time of 18:02, about 25 seconds slower than his time a year ago when Thibodeau said Stringer wasn't in his best shape. Stringer, who took third place at the state meet on Sept. 29, plans to stop at colleges for recruiting visits before returning to Juneau.
Nurani Sheikh of Salt Lake City, Utah, won the boys seeded race in 15:25, followed by runner-up Jesse Fayant of Spokane, Wash., and third-place finisher William Nelson of Bakersfield, Calif., who both had times of 15:32.
In the girls seeded race, Ketchikan senior Elisa Bolling finished 124th out of 132 runners in a time of 22:01. Amber Trotter of Redwood Valley, Calif., won the race in 17:14, well ahead of the 17:57 clocked by runner-up Felicia Guliford of Gallup, N.M.
Among the other Southeast runners:
Juneau freshman Bryce Iverson took 22nd place in Race 22, posting a time of 18:51. Jose Melena of Lancaster, Calif., won the race in 17:02. Thibodeau said early in the event Iverson was running among the top 10 and had a respectable race that showed his potential.
Juneau senior Brittany Rohm was 29th in Race 6, with a 22:23. Stacie Grover of South Jordan, Utah, won the race in 19:55.
Juneau sophomore Greta Thibodeau took 32nd place in Race 16 with a time of 21:52 and Ketchikan's Erin Nugent was 38th in the same race in 22:23. The winner was Cassia Roth of Carson City, Nev., who had a time of 19:39.
Juneau senior Emily Krehlik was 39th in Race 7 with a 23:34. Maggie Cortez of Bellflower, Calif., won the race in 19:55.
Juneau junior Gabe Hayden took 76th place in Race 15 with a 20:10. Chauncey Peak of Spokane won in 16:34.
Craig junior Anjuli Haydu took 26th place in Race 5 in 21:44. Allison Passey of Kaysville, Utah, won in 20:02.
Skagway sophomore Russell Bush took 38th place in Race 20 in 18:39. Juan Escalante of Anaheim, Calif., won in 16:46; and
Craig freshman Stefanie Claus took 76th place in Race 21 with a 23:50. Nichole Torgerson of Murray, Utah, won in 19:47.
Guy Thibodeau said the meet gives some of the younger runners confidence and encourages them to step up their running during the off season.
"I thought our kids did really well, they represented themselves well," Thibodeau said. "It was a great time for them. There were two races going on at once all the time. It was a fun day."