First-time winners highlight 'urban' cross-country races

bbragg@adn.comSeptember 12, 2013 

This one was for the not-so-usual suspects.

Kids who seldom make the headlines or the highlights grabbed a share of the spotlight Thursday in the Skinny Raven Urban Race, a high school cross country competition featuring nine separate races at the Delaney Park Strip.

Runners were divided into flights based on where they rank on their team, with four flights for varsity runners, two for junior varsity runners and three for open-division runners.

That ensured plenty of first-time winners, each of whom did a brief interview with Skinny Raven's John Clark that was broadcast over a PA system. That, in turn, ensured some entertaining moments, like the one provided by South High freshman Andrew DePaepe, who had never won a race before and who probably had never been interviewed before.

Clark: How was the course?

DePaepe: Tiring.

Clark: What was your favorite part of the course?

DePaepe: Finishing.

Clark: Do you have a date for homecoming?

DePaepe: No.

Later, DePaepe -- who was still without a homecoming date -- said his best previous finish was somewhere around fifth or sixth place, back when he was in middle school.

"It was a new feeling for me," he said. "I've never been up front before."

DePaepe's victory came in the boys freshman-sophomore open race. He completed the 3-kilometer obstacle course in 10 minutes, 38 seconds.

Runners followed a serpentine course on the west end of the park strip. They encountered bales of hay, hairpin turns and small hurdles along the way.

As expected, the top times came from runners in the varsity flights -- Austin Monzon of Anchorage Christian had the fastest time among boys (9:31), and Aislinn Waite of Service was the fastest girl (11:18).

Kayle Blackmore, a West junior who won the girls open race, took a wrong turn early in her race but still managed to win.

"It's kinda weird," she said after tasting her first career victory. "I'm usually behind people, so I had to pace myself and set that tone."

Blackmore's time of 12:14 edged teammate and runnerup Morgan Kuiper, who clocked 12:23 while imagining she was running on a track oval.

"I like this course because it's flat and I pretended I was running on a track," said Kuiper, who said she prefers track to cross country. "It was fun."

The whole event was about having fun. The course was shorter and flatter than the typical 5-K courses kids are used to running. A DJ provided music, a photo booth was available at the finish line, and a couple of runners sponsored by New Balance -- 2004 world cross country champion Benita Willis of Australia and miler Jack Bolas of South Carolina, who will attempt to break the four-minute mark Friday at The Dome -- were on hand to sign autographs.

"It was really laid back and not as stressful," said West junior Madison Burgess, who won the JV-2 flight, for runners who generally are the No. 4, No. 5 and No. 6 runners on their school's JV team. "I think that's why I did so well. It's the whole vibe.

"And I'm really grateful it's not raining."

Yes, after enough days of rain to make Noah worry, the sun came out and the ground was more or less dry. After weeks of running in the rain, kids got a chance to dry out -- and if they're lucky, some of their moldy, smelly gear will become a little more tolerable.

"You don't want to go into the running room," said West sophomore Jack Martin, winner of the JV-2 boys race. "It's pretty gnarly. It smells bad."

Reach Beth Bragg at or 257-4335.


Skinny Raven Urban Race

3 kilometers

 Varsity boys 

(top 20 from all varsity flights)

1) Austin Monzon (ACS) 9:30.2, 2) Derek Steele (So) 9:34.8, 3) Seiji Takagi (So) 9:35.4, 4) Gilly Szweda-Mittlestadt (Ser) 9:35.5, 5) Daniel Serventi (Grace) 9:36.3, 6) Larkin Lynch (W) 9:38.5, 7) Ty Jordan (Chu) 9:38.8, 8) Spencer Mitton (So) 9:40.7, 9) Hamish Wolf (So) 9:45.3, 10) David McPhetres (Chu) 9:48.7, 11) Finn Walker (W) 9:50.1, 12) Peter Moma (W) 9:53.1, 13) Atticus Everett (W) 9:53.2, 14) Thomas O’Harra (W) 9:55.2, 15) Roan Hall (Chu) 9:55.5, 16) Alec Smith (ER) 09:57.7, 17) Brian Britt (W) 10:02.6, 18) Graysen Sorensen (Grace) 10:04.7, 19) Austin Bailey (W) 10:04.9, 20) Chance Deschamps-Prescott (So) 10:06.7. 

Varsity girls 

(top 20 from all varsity flights)

1) Aislinn Waite (Ser) 11:17.3, 2) Kaitlyn Bailly (So) 11:22.6, 3) Erica Heil (D) 11:23.0, 4) Maddy Boutet (W) 11:25.8, 5) Nikole Boggs (ER) 11:34.0, 6) Hannah Seidl (D) 11:34.2, 7) Megan Fink (W) 11:38.6, 8) Ursala Volz (W) 11:38.7, 9) Katie Weddleton (W) 11:38.7, 10) Maggie York (W) 11:41.1, 11) Barae Hirsch (W) 11:46.2, 12) Allison Shafer (D) 11:50.2, 13) Darby Judd (D) 11:52.4, 14) Hannah Brown (So) 11:52.5, 15) Cheyenne Applegate (Grace) 11:53.6, 16) Savannah Ulrich (So) 11:55.7, 17) Colette Ohotnicky (Grace) 11:56.1, 18) Elle Arnold (Grace) 11:57.6, 19) Tatiana Harris (W) 11:58.8, 20) Sara Hartke (Ch) 12:04.1.

Junior varsity girls

(top 20 from all JV flights)

1) Joaquin Monterrosas (W) 10:18.6, 2) Claire Walker (W) 11:58.5, 3) Jo Jo Fleischmans (W) 12:10.6, 4) Peyton Youngs (ER) 12:23.0, 5) Kinsey Dentons (D) 12:23.3, 6) Alex Springs (ACS) 12:27.9, 7) Maddy Burgesss (W) 12:28.5, 8) Greta Pickett s (W) 12:31.1, 9) Anna Campbells (So) 12:31.8, 10) Mikayla Widgers (B) 12:34.5, 11) Fiona Pedricks (B) 12:37.0, 12) Bailey Desaussures (B) 12:41.1, 13) Irene Bembeneks (So) 12:43.8, 14) Jian Evanss (W) 12:47.4, 15) Romy Baileys (So) 12:47.8, 16) Dani Owenss (ER) 12:48.9, 17) Carolynn Pypes (B) 12:52.6, 18) Elizabeth Manns (W) 12:53.3, 19) Kelli Thomass (So) 12:56.6, 20) Carrie Wehmeyer (ER) 12:56.9.

Junior varsity boys

(top 20 from all JV flights)

1) Dylan Jones (So) 10:17.4, 2) Elijah Juul (D) 10:28.1, 3) Foster Birnbaum (W) 10:28.4, 4) Willy Hall (W) 10:29.7, 5) William Manns (W) 10:36.9, 6) Ben Mildon (W) 10:39.7, 7) Dax Cvancara (D) 10:44.4, 8) Miguel Obregon (B) 10:46.3, 9) Wyatt Brown (Grace) 10:50.2, 10) Trevor Western (So) 10:54.2, 11) Jack Sexauer (So) 10:58.2, 12) Frew Winkle (Grace) 10:58.4, 13) Alex Kilby (So) 11:00.7, 14) Robbie Pype (B) 11:03.8, 15) Adam Ripley (D) 11:05.0, 16) Alex Gill (D) 11:06.8, 17) Pigg Raleigh (Se) 11:09.2, 18) Milani Kaidyn (Se) 11:09.9, 19) Nathan Alexander (ER) 11:15.2, 20) Gavin LeCrone (B) 11:15.3.

Open girls*

(top 20)

1) Kayle Blackmore (W) 12:13.6, 2) Morgan Kuiper (W) 12:22.3, 3) Naomi Kiekintveld (So) 12:25.6, 4) Katja Gruman (W) 12:41.9, 5) Erin Svitz (W) 12:42.6, 6) Anna Warnock (W) 12:47.2, 7) Tessa Heagy (ER) 12:48.9, 8) Veronika Widger (B) 12:53.8, 9) Paige Mohl (So) 12:56.0, 10) Jocelyn Waggonea (W) 13:11.8, 11) Kendell Stevens (W) 13:15.2, 12) Jordan Meredith (ER) 13:16.4, 13) Aidan Barlow (W) 13:17.1, 14) Sabine Kretschek (B) 13:18.9, 15) Katherine Hines (So) 13:20.1, 16) Victoria Lopez (W) 13:20.5, 17) Elena Eberhardt (So) 13:32.2, 18) Maddy Keegan (W) 13:35.3, 19) Mailinh Mcnicolas (W) 13:35.5, 20) Sunny Jarvis-Mensoff (W) 13:46.2.

Girls team scores — 1) West 38, 2) Dimond 64, 3) South 80, 4) Grace Christian 92, 5) Eagle River 111, 6) Service 151, 7) Chugiak 173, 8) ACS 246. 

Boys team scores —1) South 42, 2) West 59, 3) Chugiak 106, 4) Grace 101, 5) Service 149, 6) ACS 148, 7) Dimond 160, 8) Eagle River 177,  9) East 220.

*(Open boys results were not immediately available Thursday night).



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