• Mariner boys step up at Boroughs, finally eclipse girls’ performance
By Sean Pearson
Spring is here, the sun is shining and graduation is less than a week away. Go ahead and ask Homer High School senior Pedro Ochoa how he feels about this weekend’s regional track and field championship meet in Palmer.
No really … go ahead.
“I’m super motivated,” the distance runner said of the upcoming meet. “I want to come back to Homer as a region champion.”
Ochoa and his Mariner teammates finished second in last weekend’s Borough meet Kenai Central High School. (They officially tied for second place with the Skyview Panthers, but hey … this is a Homer newspaper.) The team’s stellar performance apparently came as a surprise to some.
“We entered the meet as underdogs,” Ochoa said. “People called our boys’ team ‘mediocre,’ and said we wouldn’t amount to much.”
Seems the illustrious Lady Mariners had been stealing the show for quite awhile now.
“We always get out-shined by the girls’ performances, so nobody expected us to place that high,” Ochoa explained. “I couldn’t even sleep the following night. I still had jitters.”
The girls’ squad has held a pretty high standard over the course of the season, finishing near the top at most meets. And certainly their third-place finish at Boroughs is nothing to sneeze at. The Lady M’s even won first place in the 3,200m relay team even won first place in quite the dramatic fashion. (Details later.)
But this time — it was the boys’ turn to do the majority of the out-shining.
Junior hurdler Connor Seay continued his dominance in the 300 hurdles, taking first in 45.07 seconds. Seay finished almost one full second ahead of runner-up Lucas Casebeer of Kenai.
“This meet was shocking to me — and to the rest of the boys on the team,” Seay said. “Coach felt like putting people in new events — just to see how they would do. I thought I did pretty good at the 100 meter dash — for my first time.”
Seay ran the 100m sprint in 12.15 to take second place. He finished less than a quarter of a second behind Casebeer, and helped his teammates win first place in the 800m relay. Not quite finished, Seay also placed second in the long jump. He came up just short of first place again, this time by only 1.5 inches.
“We did well because our guys in the field events — and Connor — had such an awesome meet,” Ochoa said. “They all got personal bests and added valuable points.”
Ochoa turned in a strong performance as well, finishing second in the 1600m behind longtime nemesis Jonah Theisen of Kenai. Ochoa ran the race in 4:41.56.
Mariner John Shank also stepped up in Borough competition over the weekend, anchoring the winning 800m relay competition. He also jumped 37 feet, 1 inch to finish second in the triple jump. Shank said he struggled setting his mark on the approach — forced to jump taking off from his left foot, instead of his right.
“I feel pretty good going into the (regional) meet,” Shank said. “I’ve gotten a lot better since the beginning of the year.”
In girls’ action, sophomore Aurora Waclawski put quite an exciting spin on the Lady Mariners’ 3200m win. (Referenced above.) Trailing Soldotna for much of the race, Homer’s anchor leg — Waclawski — began to close the gap on the final lap. She edged SoHi’s anchor at the line in a dead sprint. Homer got the win with a time of 10:13.73; just a tenth of a second faster than the Stars.
Individually, Waclawski took second in the 400m, finishing in 1:02.52. Teammate Lauren Evarts was second in the 300m hurdles, and Molly Mitchell took second in the 1600m. She finished in 5:30.75, and went on to run the third leg of the first-place 3200 relay team.
In field events, Crystal Crane was third in the high jump, clearing 4-feet, 4 inches. She also placed fourth in the long jump with a 13-foot, 10-inch leap.
HOMER HIGH SCHOOL FINISHERS (unless otherwise noted)
Team results: 1. Soldotna, 176 points; 2. Kenai Central, 142; 3. Homer, 66; 8. Ninilchik, 5
100 meters: 4. Angie Cardoza, 13.64
400: 2. Aurora Waclawski, 1:02.52
1,600: 2. Molly Mitchell, 5:30.73
3,200: 4. Audrey Rosencrans, 13:21.14; 6. Audrey Russell, 13:44.60
300m hurdles: 2. Lauren Evarts, 53.01; 6. Lauren Jones, 57.35
800m relay: 1. Soldotna 1:52.66; 2. Kenai, 1:54.24; 3. Homer, 1:57.40
1,600m relay: 1. Soldotna 4:21.72; 2. Kenai, 4:35.09; 3. Homer, 4:42.35
3,200m relay: 1. Homer (Cabana, Shemet-Pitcher, Mitchell, Waclawski) 10:13.73; 2. Soldotna, 10:13.83
Shot put: 5. Jordan Finney, Nin, 26’08.25”; 6. Mikayla Clark, Nin, 26’07.25”
High jump: 3. Crystal Crane, 4’04”
Long jump: 4. Crystal Crane, 13’10”
Team results: 1. Kenai, 113 points; T2. Skyview, 65; T2. Homer, 65; 6. Seldovia, 48; 9. Ninilchik, 6.
100: 1. Lucas Casebeer, Ken, 11.95; 2. Connor Seay, 12.15; 5. John Shank, 12.29; 6. Joseph Cardoza, 12.30.
200: 1. Casebeer, Ken, 24.29; 2. Austin Crosby, Sel, 24.69; 4. Cardoza, 25.04
1,600: 1. Jonah Theisen, Ken, 4:38.78; 2. Pedro Ochoa, 4:41.56; 5. Tyler Thorne, Nin, 5:07.87; 6. Jared Brant, 5:09.60
3,200: 4. Thorne, Nin, 10:57.28.
300m hurdles: 1. Seay, 45.07; 6. Zane Boyer, 53.27.
800m relay: 1. Homer (Seay, Cardoza, Navrot, Shank) 1:40.56; 2. Skyview, 1:43.45; 3. Seldovia, 1:44.10
3,200m relay: 4. Homer, 9:15.18.
Long jump: 2. Seay, 18’11.5”.
Triple jump: 2. Shank, 37’01”
Seldovia’s Austin Crosby and Souleymane Sidibe combined for the majority of their team’s 48 points, giving the small school a sixth-place finish overall.
Crosby was second in the 200m, third in the 100m and third in the long jump. Sidibe took second in the 110 hurdles, third in both the 400 and 800m relays, and fifth in the long jump and triple jump. Colten Collier jumped 17-5.25 to take fourth in the long jump.
Ninilchik’s Tyler Thorne was fifth in the 1600, finishing in 5:07.87, and fourth in the 3200m.
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