ASAA cross country champions take on trails, weather
The heat was on Saturday, but it didn't stop the state's best high-school cross country runners from posting impressive times at the Alaska School Activities Association's annual championships.
Under a sun-drenched blue sky with temperatures well above normal, four individual and team titles were claimed at Bartlett High School.
On the girls side, West Valley junior Kendall Kramer continued her winning ways in Division I. She repeated as cross-country champion in what's been a year of victories. She also took home skimeister in cross-country skiing, won the 1,600 and 3,200 meter events in track and field and was Mount Marathon junior champ. She finished in 17 minutes and 52 seconds.
"There's teenager things like going to parties, staying up late, eating a bunch of sweets and stuff that I just have to refrain from because I have bigger goals," Kramer said. "I have goals to race internationally, I have goals to win state titles and so it's just a lot of sacrifice."
Kenai Central senior Jaycie Calvert finished with flourish too taking Division II in 19:22.
"We were in the pack a long time, really fun, great atmosphere so it felt fast," she noted.
The boys side saw one personal record and one near-personal best.
Anchorage Christian sophomore Tristian Merchant, a third-place finisher last year, used his experience in the second and third kilometers of the 5K race to win the boys Division II crown at 15:56.
"My coach just wanted me to race against the clock this race, or if anyone was close I'd try and beat them but that's pretty much what I was thinking before this race was trying to PR," He missed by a few seconds but a state title should suffice.
Chugiak's Daniel Bausch did run to his own record in the fastest performance of the day outdistancing the competition. The senior's 15:30 time was especially impressive given the warm Saturday, which reached a high of 64 degrees in Anchorage.
"I didn't want to be too confident, because crazy things happen when you start to get ahead of yourself and think that you have no chance of losing," Bausch said. "But I definitely felt pretty confident that I'd be able to pull it off today, so I was just racing the clock."
He even beat the clock. Bausch has attracted interest from a handful of Division I colleges including Boise State. where Allie Ostrander attends.
Juneau-Douglas and Kenai Central won girls titles while Dimond and Grace Christian claimed them for the boys.
Telecommunications firm GCI marked the meet by donating $100,000 to ASAA for use in advertising, marketing and broadcast support.
"When you look at the constitution for education it's about the 'we,' and we all need to be lifting our students up and making sure they're successful because they're our future," said Pam Lloyd, GCI's vice president for corporate strategy.
Editor's note: GCI is KTVA's parent company.
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