Chugiak girls sweep top 5 spots at Big 8 cross country meet

Despite losing some key graduates, the two-time defending state champions showed no signs of letting up in taking the top spot.

It appears nothing can slow down the Chugiak High girls cross country team.

Not the graduation of the 2022 Division I state champion and certainly not the virtual monsoon that inhabited Kincaid Park on Saturday afternoon.

The Mustangs took the top five individual spots and cruised to a win at the Big 8 Invite with just 15 points, the lowest possible team score that can be attained.

Junior Alliyah Fields took the top spot in 19 minutes, 58 seconds followed by teammates Skyler Belmear (20:08), Hannah Bodkin (20:12), Hannah Shaha (20:14) and Emily Moore (20:23).

The conditions were at their toughest during the girls race, with severe wind blasts and a driving rain thrashing runners and spectators.

“It was a really big challenge,” Fields said. “You just have to push through and pace off each other. Sometimes it’s just all in the mindset. You just have to tell yourself to keep going no matter how much pain you’re in.”

[‘The worst year ever’: Lost Lake runners endure nearly 16 miles of rain, mud]

Belmear, a senior, said the conditions were the most extreme she’d ever raced in.


“I don’t think I’ve ever raced in anything like this,” she said. “I’ve raced in wind and rain separately, but not together like this. It was tough, slippery on the corners and the wind on the last stretch was just pushing you backwards. It was just brutal.”

Chugiak is the two-time defending state team champion in Division I. But the Mustangs graduated Campbell Peterson, the 2022 state individual champion and a stalwart of their past two title teams. Addison Capozzi, who placed third individually last season, also graduated. Those losses clearly didn’t make a major impact on the Mustangs. Fields, who starred on the Chugiak track team in the spring, is in her first season of cross country.

“It is really cool,” Fields said. “We have a really great team this year and amazing coaches pushing us through.”

Service’s Miyana Kam-Magruder broke the run of Mustangs in sixth place but was followed immediately by another Chugiak runner, Petra Knox.

The South boys didn’t quite dominate on the same level that Chugiak did, but the Wolverines did take the top two spots and win the team title with 49 points.

Sophomore Vebjorn Flagstad took the top spot in a time of 16:44 followed by teammate Blaise Boyer (17:00).

West senior Blake Hanley (17:02) placed third, helping the Eagles to a runner-up finish with 71 points.

Although the conditions were tempered slightly for the boys race, the field still had to go up against strong winds and rain.

“I had some middle school races that got canceled out here, but I’ve never run in this kind of (conditions) with the wind and rain,” he said.

Flagstad said he thought the pace was slow enough in the early going that he wanted to push it, and grabbed a lead he didn’t relinquish.

“When I’m in the race I’m just in the zone,” he said. “It doesn’t affect me that much, so I just take it as it goes. I had a plan to stick with Blaise but mid-race is where I just took it.”

After the high school races, UAF and UAA took to the course for the Seawolf Throwdown. UAF’s Rosie Fordham won the women’s 5K race in 18:11 and UAA’s Cole Nash took the men’s 5K in 15:06.

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Big 8 Invite

Saturday at Kincaid Park


Team totals

1. Chugiak 15; 2. South 58; 3. Service 105; 4. East 117; 5. West 121; 6. Dimond 122.

Individual top 10

1. Alliyah Fields, Chugiak, 19:58; 2. Skyler Belmear, Chugiak, 20:08; 3. Hannah Bodkin, Chugiak, 20:12; 4. Hannah Shaha, Chugiak, 20:14; 5. Emily Moore, Chugiak, 20:23; 6. Miyana Kam-Magruder, Service, 20:26; 7. Petra Knox, Chugiak, 20:29; 8. Elizabeth Page, South, 20:36; 9. Mia Stiassny, South, 20:50; 10. Finn Rigby, East, 20:53.

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Team totals

1. South 49; 2. West 71; 3. Service 76; 4. Chugiak 78; 5. Dimond 99; 6. East 138.

Individual top 10

1. Vebjorn Flagstad, South, 16:44; 2. Blaise Boyer, South, 17:00; 3. Blake Hanley, West, 17:02; 4. Jarrett Jackson, Dimond, 17:23; 5. Owen Hayes, Chugiak, 17:26; 6. Luke Shaw, Eagle River, 17:26; 7. Levi Knickerbocker, Service, 17:30; 8. Elias Soule, Service, 17:30; 9. Caleb Sharrock, East, 17:30; 10. Noa Kam-Magruder, Dimond, 17:30.

Seawolf Throwdown Women’s 5K


1. Rosie Fordham, UAF, 18:11; 2. Kendall Kramer, UAF, 18:14; 3. Naomi Bailey, UAF, 18:18; 4. Nell Baker, UAA, 18:40; 5. Delainey Zock, UAF, 19:33; 6. Jordan Strausbaugh, UAA, 19:44; 7. Tabitha Williams, UAF, 19:47; 8. Avery Williamson, UAA, 20:25; 9. Teegan Silva, UAF, 20:30; 10. Sofija Spaic, UAA, 20:41; 11. Aunika Miller, UAA, 21:10; 12. Sarah Baum, UAF, 21:10; 13. Isabel Baesman, UAF, 23:45

Seawolf Throwdown Men’s 5K

1. Cole Nash, UAA, 15:06; 2. John Peckham, UAA, 15:26; 3. Zachary Kohler, UAA, 15:46; 4. Ben Dohlby, UAF, 15:57; 5. George Payne, UAA, 16:18; 6. Michael Zapherson, UAA 16:26; 7. Patrick Doty, Unattached 16:40; 8. Stephen Zukowski, Unattached 16:41; 9. Philipp Moosmayer, UAF, 16:55; 10. Jace Peters, UAF, 16:56; 11. Truman Hansen, Unattached 17:03; 12. Finn Morley, UAF, 17:18; 13. Ryan Owens, UAF, 17:52; 14. Kona Atkins, UAF, 17:57; 15. Josh Baurick, UAF, 18:55

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Chris Bieri

Chris Bieri is the sports and entertainment editor at the Anchorage Daily News.