Athletes from 33 schools converged on the Michael Janecek (JAN-eh-seck) Trails for the annual Palmer Invitational cross-country running race Saturday afternoon.
The Mat-Su Frontiersman reports that Kenai Central’s Allie Ostrander – who has taken the Alaska cross-country world by storm since debuting as a freshman runner last season – used her typically strong start to build a tremendous lead. Ostrander had an 11-second lead at the mile mark, led by more than 30 seconds as runners approached the second mile, and had pushed that advantage to about a minute before the final kilometer of the race. Colony High School’s Audrey Michaelson finished a distant second.
Grace Christian High School – the defending small-schools state champions – jumped a class and won the girls’ 4-A team title Saturday.
Meanwhile, Homer High’s strong team proved dominant, sweeping the small-schools team titles. Pedro Ochoa (oh-CHOE-ah) and Connor McCarron finished fourth and fifth to lead the Homer boys. Aurora Wacslawski (woss-CLAW-ski), Barae (bah-RAY) Hirsch and Rebecca Seneff led the first-place Homer girls.