By TOM HESSE
Sentinel Staff Writer
The Sitka High Wolves were once again nipping at the heels of the Braves as Sitka finished just behind Mt. Edgecumbe at the state cross country championships in Anchorage this past weekend.
Mt. Edgecumbe finished fifth in the girls 1A/2A/3A statewide standings, and on the boys side the Braves placed seventh.
For the second week in a row, both the Sitka girls and boys teams finished just behind Mt. Edgecumbe. The Lady Wolves finished sixth in the state meet, nine points shy of the Lady Braves, while the Sitka boys finished one point behind the Edgecumbe boys for eighth place.
Daniel Adams and Scarlett Beaver led Mt. Edgecumbe. Adams’ 30th place finish in 18:39 was the best Braves finish by more than 10 spots while Scarlett Beaver led her team with a time of 22:04 that was good enough for 20th.
“It was a great race for us,” Edgecumbe coach Josh Arnold said. “We came out and ran really well despite some setbacks.”
Arnold said his fastest runner, Cole Johnson, had the flu and couldn’t run between the regional and state championships.
“He was sick all week but came out and gave us everything he had and I couldn’t ask for any more from my athletes than that,” Arnold said.
Johnson, who had been the top finisher for Mt. Edgecumbe for most of the season, finished 78th with a time of 19:54.
Sitka was led by Ryan Morse and Sidney Riggs. Morse finished 26th in 18:28 and Riggs was 33rd in what was only her second race of the season. Riggs won the Regional Championship last season but missed much of this, her sophomore season, with an injury.
Tylee Nyquest of Thorne Bay, who has been at the front of the Southeast pack all season, continued her dominance by winning state in 19:33. Arlen Mossgrove of Glennallen won the boys state championship in 16:55. Grace Christian High School topped the team rankings for both the boys and girls.
This was the last race as Wolves for Sitka seniors Jamie Wladyka, Morse, Darin Davis, Jennifer MacIntryre and Clare Jurczak.
Davis finished 37th and Wladyka finished 73rd. MacIntyre followed Riggs with a 34th place finish and Jurczak finished 60th.
For Mt. Edgecumbe seniors Adams, Vance Gregory and Kenny Jackson the race was their last with their high school team. Gregory finished 59th in 19:30 and Jackson finished 117th in 21:38.
The Lady Braves have only one runner who will be graduating. Sarah Freese finished 75th in 25:05 in her final race.
“We’ll miss her speed,” Arnold said. “But we will have a lot of runners back on our girls team so I’m really excited for next season.”
Arnold said his team responded well when he challenged them to do more with their season, the shortest of any team in the state.
“I’m really proud of them,” Arnold said. “I asked them to work harder than anyone else, and by the end of the season we were running with and sometimes past a lot of teams in Southeast and competing well in the state.”
Mt. Edgecumbe Boys
Mt. Edgcumbe Girls
Girls team scores
1 Grace Christian 20; 2 Homer 77; 3 Nome 131; 4 Seward 145; 5 Mt. Edgecumbe 160; 6 Sitka 169; 7 Bethel 173; 8 Valdez 181; 9 Petersburg 184; 10 Mat-Su Valley 221; 11 Hutchison 228.
Boys team scores
1 Grace Christian 44; 2 Seward 56; 3 Homer 82; 4 Delta Junction 131; 5 Bethel 161; 6 ACS 164; 7 Mt. Edgecumbe 184; 8 Sitka 185; 9 Nome 219; 10 Haines 252; 11 Galena 261; 12 Nikolaevsk 273.