• Homer qualifies 14 for State Championships in Anchorage this weekend
By Sean Pearson
Homer High School freshman Megan Pitzman shaved 20 seconds off her best time to win the Region III, Class 1-2-3A Cross Country Championships in Seward over the weekend. She dropped those 20 seconds in just two weeks, and finished a full 40 seconds faster than her closest competitor.
Pitzman finished the 5k race in 19 minutes, 33.13 seconds, and led the Homer team to a second-place finish overall. Grace Christian, who has long-dominated the high school cross country world, took both the girls and boys team titles.
But Homer keeps closing in on the title.
The Lady Mariners placed all five of their runners in the top 11, but fell just seven points short of upending the Grizzlies. Sophomore Aurora Waclawski finished sixth, Molly Mitchell was eighth, Ziza Shemet-Pitcher was ninth and Lauren Evarts was 11th.
Homer Coach Bill Steyer called his team’s performance a “very strong showing,” noting the “very close race” for the girls overall title.
Homer boys took third behind Grace and Anchorage Christian School, receiving a strong third-place finish by Pedro Ochoa. The senior finished in 17:15.76 minutes.
Teammate Josh Vantrease took 11th place, Jared Brant was 17th, Brandon Beachy was 19th and August Kilcher finished 29th.
The Mariner cross country program also picked up recognition, as Coach Steyer was awarded the Region III 3A Coach of the Year Award. Pitzman was named the Region III 3A Runner of the Year.
“These are some major accomplishments, and I am sure proud of our cross country team this season,” Steyer said.
Homer qualified 14 varsity runners for this weekend’s State Championships in Anchorage. The team will head out Friday morning and get an early practice in on the Bartlett High School cross country race course, where the State competition will be held.
Region III Cross Country Championships
3. Pedro Ochoa, 17 minutes, 15.76 seconds; 11. Josh Vantrease, 17:54.03; 7. Jared Brant, 18:12; 19. Brandon Beachy, 18:21; 29. August Kilcher, 19:14; ; 31. Dakota Alward, 19:29; 43. Nahoa Jette, 21:08.
1. Megan Pitzman, 19:33.13; 6. Aurora Wacslawski, 20:50.67; 8. Molly Mitchell, 20:54.74. 9. Shemet Pitcher, Ziza, 21:19.18. 11. Lauren Evarts, 21:38.68; 21. Mattea Peters, 24:36.
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