• Senior Pedro Ochoa leads Homer boys with fifth-place finish
By Sean Pearson
For the past three years, it’s kind of been a given that Kenai’s Allie Ostrander would appear from the brush of various Alaska cross-country trails long before the rest of the pack emerges. The diminutive junior repeatedly outpaces her closest competitors by more than a minute.
Her strong finishes consistently help push the Kardinals further up the overall standings in each meet, but do little to speak to the aspect of teamwork.
The Lady Mariners have that whole teamwork thing covered.
In what looked to be a leisurely jog, Ostrander again took the top spot at Friday’s Frank Dieckgraeff Invitational in Seward. This time, she finished the 5-kilometer race in 17 minutes, 44 seconds, cruising to victory over second-place Briahna Gerlach of Glennallen, who came in at 18:55.
But it was five top-25 finishes by the Lady M’s that earned them 62 points and locked them into first place in a very close competition. Only four points separated first and third place, with the Soldotna Stars finishing right behind Homer with 64 points, and Wasilla third with 66.
The Lady M’s were led to victory by Megan Pitzman, who finished fifth individually with a time of 19:52. She was five seconds behind Soldotna’s Olivia Hutchings.
Other Homer top-25 finishers included Molly Mitchell at 12th, Aurora Waclawski, 14th, Lauren Evarts, 21st, and Ziza Shemet-Pitcher, 23rd. The Homer girls are currently ranked in the top five of the state for both large and small schools.
In boys competition, Kodiak’s Levi Thomet took top individual honors with a time of 15:57. Kenai Central won the boys’ team competition, with Homer placing eighth.
Mariner senior Pedro Ochoa led the way for Homer, coming in fifth with a time of 16:54.
This weekend, the M’s host the Homer Cross-Country Relays on the Lookout Mountain Ski Trails. Races begin at noon on Saturday. Homer Head Coach Bill Steyer said the relays are a good race to hold right before Regions, because it adds in a speed element you wouldn’t normally see in regular practice.
“Competition makes everyone run faster,” he said.
Frank Dieckgraeff Invitational
Homer Individual 5k finishers
5. Megan Pitzman, 19:52; 12. Molly Mitchell, 20:19; 14. Aurora Waclawski, 20:30; 21. Lauren Evarts, 21:14; 23. Ziza Shemet-Pitcher, 21:17; 29. Pam Jantzi, 21:56; 46. Melanie Mastolier, 22:41.
5. Pedro Ochoa,16:54; 30. Brandon Beachy, 18:14; 35. Jared Brant, 18:22; 72. Dakota Alward, 19:38; 79. August Kilcher, 20:04;81. Calvin Johnson, 20:05; 90. Nahoa Jette, 21:10.
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