Homer High School’s boys and girls cross country teams headed to the state competition in Anchorage Saturday. The race was held at the Bartlett High School cross country race course.
The girls finished second overall and the boys took third in the Region III championships to qualify for a spot at State. Grace Christian girls once again took the top spot, and Cross Country Coach Bill Steyer said at a recent practice that’s the team to beat Saturday.
“Which has been the perennial powerhouse for IIIA; not only in our region but in the state. They won state last year and we were the runner-up. This year it’s a lot closer of a match-up between both teams. With respect to our girls, we’re going in as an underdog, but it could be an interesting race,” he said.
He said many of the Mariner girls are freshmen and sophomores compared to Grace Christian’s predominately upper-classman team. Steyer said he isn’t going to let that be an excuse. Steyer described the kids on the team as “extremely dedicated athletes.” He said many of them trained over the summer to get to where they are now. And Steyer does consider the runners as a team, not as individuals.
“And that’s the misconception by a lot of people about running and cross country, that it’s an individual sport. Certainly, people can compete on the individual level in terms of placement, but when it comes to team, that’s what we’re looking at… a team effort.
Sophomore Molly Mitchell placed 8th during regionals. She ran a 20 minute 54 second 5K.
“This will be my first time going to state. And I’m really excited and really nervous,” she said.
It’s also Freshman Megan Pitzman’s first time at state. She took the top spot for the girls last week with a 19 minute 33 second run, which was a full 20 seconds faster than a race two weeks ago. Pitzman also was named Runner of the Year.
“Now that it’s state, we know that as we’re running… we can just put everything into it because it will be our last run of the year,” she said.