Cross country running teams from all over Southwest Alaska met the Unalaska Raiders on Saturday for the Region 1 Southwest championships. This was the first time Unalaska has ever hosted a regional cross country race.
On Saturday, community members gathered at Kelty Field to support both the local and visiting runners. Spectators were scattered around the course, but most of them settled near the start and finish line.
The girls’ race started at 11:30. The course led them around the track, up towards the end of the valley, and then around the valley loop. The course finished with another lap around the track. The first girl across the line was Chloe Gardner, a senior from Sand Point. She says her team does everything they can to prepare for hard races like the regional championships. “We do tempo runs, hills, sprints, we do everything. We do long distance, seven miles, everything we can,” Gardner said.
Unalaska’s girls won the team award, and will move on to the state meet in Bartlett on Saturday, October 3rd.
Following the girls’ race, the boys started at 12:15. Ross Enlow, a senior from Unalaska, won for the third time in as many years. “It’s awesome to have regions here my senior year and have everybody come out and support and have all these teams here,” said Enlow. “I’m super proud of my team, they’ve been working hard all season, boys and girls, busting their butts, so I couldn’t be more proud.”
Unalaska’s boys team had the best team score, so they will also travel to the state meet.
The coaches of the visiting teams said that they were impressed with the course. “I thought it was very well thought out,” Etta Kuzakin, King Cove coach commented. “You could tell somebody took the time to make sure that it was sufficient enough for the kids,that it pushed them enough, so I think they’ve got a good chance, the kids that are going to state, they’ll be able to rock it out there, coming from this course.”
Several of the coaches and runners mentioned that they enjoyed their stay in Unalaska. “My kids all hope we get weathered in. It’s a lot of fun. So thank you, we appreciate Unalaska hosting such a great race. “ Cindy Tuckwood, Dillingham’s cross country coach expressed.
The top ten runners in each race now advance to the state level. This is the second year in a row that both Unalaska’s boys and girls teams have made it to the championships. The Cross Country State Championship will be on October 3, 2015 in Bartlett High School Trails in Anchorage.