High School Sports

Sophomores surprise at Region IV Cross Country Championships

Last year, Hannah Shaha couldn’t crack the varsity lineup for the powerhouse Chugiak girls cross-country team.

On Saturday, the sophomore was the crowned Region IV individual champion.

Shaha blitzed the field, winning the race by 32 seconds at Kincaid Park as the Mustangs also predictably breezed to a team title.

“I was hoping to get top 5, but I didn’t think I was going to do what I just did and to win it by that much,” Shaha said. “I was surprised when I turned around and there was no one there.”

Shaha has continually improved as the season has progressed. She said she’s set a personal record at each race this year and earlier in the season broke the 20-minute mark. On Saturday, she finished in 19 minutes, 23 seconds.

The state meet is next weekend in Palmer, and Shaha has no plan to change her strategy.

“I think just run it like any other,” she said. “I’m just going to take it like every other race this season.”


She was followed by four Chugiak teammates in the top six.

Alliyah Fields (second in 19:55), Hannah Bodkin (third/19:57), Skyler Belmear (fifth/20:08) and Emily Moore (sixth/20:31) helped lead the Mustangs to the region team title. Service’s Miyana Kam-Magruder placed fourth with a time of 19:59.

Shaha said running and competing with her teammates has been a major factor in her improvement.

“We all push each other but we love it,” she said. “We’re all just happy to go out and run.”

There was some controversy in the girls race. Between Kilometer 3 and 4 in the 5K race, a moose on the trail stopped a number of racers just outside the top five. Many of the first to arrive entered the woods to avoid the moose. But the stoppage allowed many racers to catch up and also pass the area earlier when the moose departed.

After the finish, the race jury determined that the stoppage may have had an impact on the teams that qualified for state. Generally the top four in the region advance to the team competition at state. Coaches said that ASAA had issued a preliminary decision that a fifth team would likely be allowed qualify for state.

Dimond finished in fifth with 129 points, seven points behind Service, and would advance to state if the ruling holds. East finished in sixth, just four points behind Dimond. But East coach Gary Snyder reviewed kilometer splits data provided by Skinny Raven and said he didn’t believe his team was impacted.

The boys race saw another sophomore take a win, his second of the season at Kincaid Park. South’s Vebjorn Flagstad was the winner of the Big 8 meet in late August.

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

And once again, Flagstad came out on top Saturday, winning the race in a time of 16:42.

“The last one was in cold weather and the same kind of course and I did great,” he said. “Today was the same kind of thing (with the conditions).”

He finished seven seconds ahead of Dimond’s Jarrett Jackson. On the strength of having five finishers in the top 15, the West High boys won the team title with 44 points. South finished second with 54.

West’s top finisher was Blake Hanley, who placed third. Flagstad’s Wolverines teammate Blaise Boyer placed fourth.

Flagstad said he takes a very simple approach to races, one he plans to continue to implement next weekend at state.

“I like to not really stress about the races,” he said. “To be with my team helps a lot, working together, being positive with each other. Not really caring about what happens just running my best.”

While he’s clearly had success at Kincaid, he knows the Palmer course will be a new challenge.

“It’s a lot different and it’s a lap course,” he said.


Region IV Cross Country Championships

Saturday at Kincaid Park

Boys Team Results

1. West Anchorage 44; 2. South Anchorage 54; 3. Chugiak 91; 4. Service 92; 5. Eagle River 123; 6. Dimond 136; 7. East Anchorage 170; 8. Bartlett 240.

Girls Team Results

1. Chugiak 17; 2. South Anchorage 79; 3. West Anchorage 94; 4. Service 122; 5. Dimond 129; 6. East Anchorage 133; 7. Eagle River 154; 8. Bartlett 235.

Varsity Boys

1. Vebjorn Flagstad, South Anchorage 16:42; 2. Jarrett Jackson, Dimond 16:49; 3. Blake Hanley, West Anchorage 16:51; 4. Blaise Boyer, South Anchorage 16:57; 5. Owen Hayes, Chugiak 16:59; 6. Elias Oswald, Service 17:01; 7. Oliver Wright, West Anchorage 17:05; 8. Luke Shaw, Eagle River 17:07; 9. Murphy Kimball, West Anchorage 17:08; 10. Jaxon Henrie, South Anchorage 17:10; 11. Dylan Soberay, West Anchorage 17:15; 12. Levi Knickerbocker, Service 17:17; 13. Nathan Vander Lugt, Eagle River 17:18; 14. Arlo Jespersen, West Anchorage 17:22; 15. Caleb Sharrock, East Anchorage 17:22; 16. Katahdin Staples, East Anchorage 17:23; 17. Parker Larson, Chugiak 17:24; 18. Miles Gastrock, South Anchorage 17:27; 19. Thomas Ringsmuth, Chugiak 17:28; 20. Max Kiskaddon, Service 17:29; 21. Rowan Robinson, South Anchorage 17:29; 22. Elias Soule, Service 17:30; 23. David Penfield, Chugiak 17:31; 24. Gus Olson, South Anchorage 17:38; 25. Andrew Krellner, Eagle River 17:42; 26. Ruben Rhodes, West Anchorage 17:42; 27. Mason Newell, Chugiak 17:45; 28. Ryan Hansen, South Anchorage 17:52; 29. Maximilian Erickson, West Anchorage 17:53; 30. AJ Glover, Dimond 17:56; 31. Ethan Stiller, Dimond 18:03; 32. Dylan Autrey, Service 18:03; 33. Oliver Casurella, Service 18:03; 34. James Simono, Service 18:04; 35. Dash Dicang, Dimond 18:30; 36. Nathan Momblow, Eagle River 18:31; 37. Samuel Clements, Bartlett 18:35; 38. Noa Kam-Magruder, Dimond 18:38; 39. Jack Schamber, Chugiak 18:45; 40. Kohen Galloway, Chugiak 18:49; 41. Grady Eule, Eagle River 18:51; 42. Creed Cvancara, Dimond 18:57; 43. Zane Fawcett, Eagle River 19:09; 44. Michael Ortega-Cipres, Eagle River 19:14; 45. Owen Lovejoy, East Anchorage 19:17; 46. Griffin Hall, East Anchorage 19:31; 47. Tyler Drake, Bartlett 19:41; 48. Soren Briggs, East Anchorage 19:52; 49. Ethan Clarke, East Anchorage 19:57; 50. Nathan Rehberg, East Anchorage 20:16; 51. Aidan Dewey, Bartlett 20:59; 52. Jack Hood, Bartlett 21:07; 53. Elliott Drake, Bartlett 21:11; 54. Salvador Villegas, Bartlett 21:20.

Varsity Girls


1. Hannah Shaha, Chugiak 19:23; 2. Alliyah Fields, Chugiak 19:55; 3. Hannah Bodkin, Chugiak 19:57; 4. Miyana Kam-Magruder, Service 19:59; 5. Skyler Belmear, Chugiak 20:08; 6. Emily Moore, Chugiak 20:31; 7. Ellie Stull, Dimond 20:52; 8. Addison Bailey, South Anchorage 21:09; 9. Allison Macy, Chugiak 21:14; 10. Merridy Littell, West Anchorage 21:18; 11. Madeleine Lojewski, East Anchorage 21:19; 12. Petra Knox, Chugiak 21:20; 13. Mia Stiassny, South Anchorage 21:20; 14. Finn Rigby, East Anchorage 21:20; 15. Adele Matthews, South Anchorage 21:25; 16. Zoe Rodgers, West Anchorage 21:28; 17. Adria Wuerth, Service 21:31; 18. Berit Meyers, West Anchorage 21:32; 19. Scarlet Parr, West Anchorage 21:33; 20. Ava Trembath, Eagle River 21:34; 21. Maya Tirpack, South Anchorage 21:36; 22. Alise Elliott, South Anchorage 21:38; 23. Avrey Campbell, Dimond 21:39; 24. Linnea Gray, Eagle River 21:41; 25. Katie Mackin, Bartlett 21:43; 26. Madison Dahlstrom, South Anchorage 21:44; 27. Madeleine Reckmeyer, Service 21:44; 28. Maryjane Baxter, Dimond 21:44; 29. Elizabeth Page, South Anchorage 21:47; 30. Rosie Conway, East Anchorage 21:49; 31. Piper Sears, West Anchorage 21:51; 32. Emiko Wilson, Service 21:54; 33. Ashley Mann, Eagle River 21:54; 34. Molly McBride, Dimond 21:54; 35. Lilah Klieforth, West Anchorage 21:57; 36. Elsa Henderson, Eagle River 21:58; 37. Nora McBride, Dimond 21:59; 38. Natalie Bader, East Anchorage 22:12; 39. Saida Felix, West Anchorage 22:14; 40. Abi Howe, East Anchorage 22:35; 41. Arianna Espindola, Eagle River 22:44; 42. Delia Neroda, Service 22:54; 43. Karly Ellis, Service 23:02; 44. Lyla Ingram, Eagle River 23:08; 45. Cierra Norris, Dimond 23:15; 46. Jacey Spencer, Eagle River 23:19; 47. Reine Soule, Service 23:22; 48. Madelin Lowen, Dimond 23:23; 49. Beatrix Brogan, East Anchorage 23:26; 50. Svea Thomas, East Anchorage 23:39; 51. Samantha Bushman, Bartlett 23:40; 52. Autumn Harley, Bartlett 23:52; 53. Beverly Ferris, Bartlett 24:05; 54. Ace Snow, Bartlett 24:25; 55. Madison Lair, Bartlett 25:54; 56. Gabriella Wood, Bartlett 26:18.

Chris Bieri

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