Nome runners win Big West XC Championships
By Diana Haecker
Nome Nanooks Orson Hoogendorn and Awaluk Nichols won their respective heats in last Saturday’s Big West X/C Championships, on their home trails in Nome.
The Nome Nanooks competed against the Bethel Warriors, the Kotzebue Huskies and the Barrow Whalers. While Nome runners took first place individually, the Bethel boys and girls teams had a strong showing and won the team championships.
Under perfectly blue skies, no wind and comfortable 44°F, the runners started in front of the NACTEC building and followed the 5-kilometer trail through the Moonlight Springs area, and up the steep hill on the slopes of Anvil Mountain, to the Old Glacier Creek Road and back down through mining roads to the finish line behind Nome-Beltz.
Orson Hoogendorn set a personal best record at 17:59, besting runner-up Ned Peters of Bethel by 22 seconds.
Awaluk Nichols finished in 21:43 with comfortable lead of 42 seconds before Kotzebue’s Xiimara Salazar.
In the girls race, 21 athletes started; the boys saw field of 28 competitors.
Asked how Nome Head Coach Jeff Collins felt after the race, he said, “It is always bittersweet with regional results like this past weekend. There were so many amazing performances, and there were some that even our greatest preparation could not have changed. But that is athletics, that is life.”
Collins pointed out that Orson Hoogendorn broke his personal best.”It has been a lot of fun to watch him progress,” Collins said. “He has amazing potential and has grown up seeing the efforts his brothers, Oliver and Wilson, put in. I think that drives him a lot.”
Collins said he has seen for years the potential of this cohort of student athletes. But reaching potential is a covenant between coach and athlete, he explained. “To maximize potential we have to eliminate variables. This means changing our diets and ensuring we are fueling to maximize our efforts during practice and increase our recovery afterwards. It means getting consistent sleep. Its building routines and sticking to routines requires discipline and intrinsic drive. Like life, this is what success requires,” he said. The XC Nanooks are a young team and is still learning the process. There are only two seniors, Tristen Hobbs and Natallie Tobuk.
The girls team only consisted of three runners: Awaluk Nichols, Lauren Kingstrom and Natallie Tobuk. Collins said that the small team size can be traced to 2008 when ASAA decided to change the volleyball season to the same season as XC running season. It’s been an ebb and flow. “Even one of our most successful girls teams, placing third at state in 2012, had difficulty fielding a whole team.”
Running up the hill is notoriously feared by other teams. “Knowing we were hosting this year’s Big West Meet, we spent nearly every practice either on hills or running the course,” said Collins. “It was great to see so many past Nome runners out there to watch the return to the hill course. It was a shared connection, each runner knows “The Hill” and its difficulty and in a way it seems to bind past and present runners. The Hill is a Nome XC rite of passage.”
Awaluk Nichols, Lauren Kingstrom, Orson Hoogendorn, Ben Milton and Son Erikson qualified to represent Nome Beltz at next week’s State XC Championships held at Bartlett High School on Oct. 8.
Boys: 1. Orson Hoogendorn, Nome, 17:59; 2. Ned Peters, Bethel, 18:21; 3. Mason Beans-Polk, Bethel, 18:35; 4. Sheldon Smith, Bethel, 18:37; 5. Benjamin Milton, Nome, 18:48; 6. Liam Phelan, Bethel, 18:52; 7. Paul Dyment, Bethel, 19:06; 8. Son Erikson, Nome, 19:08; 9. Madden Cockroft, Bethel, 19:22; 10. Rory Peters, Bethel, 19:38; 11. Young Erikson, Nome, 19:44; 12. Zachary Roetman, Kotzebue, 19:57; 13 Duke McGuffy, Nome, 20:26; 14. Ben Marcus, Kotzebue, 20:42; 15. Mark Ahsoak, Barrow, 20:42; 16. Kapono Kaha’i, Nome, 20:55; 17. Tristen Hobbs, Nome, 21:10; 18. Kyle Nelson, Barrow, 21:57; 19.Devin Sheldon, Kotzebue, 22:00; 20. Kyler Rexford, 22:03; 21. Bron Baldwin, Kotzebue, 22:28; 22. Donald Adams-Tookaka, Barrow, 22:49; 23. Cameron DelaRosa, Barrow, 23:11; 24. Atigun Frantz, Kotzebue, 24:15; 25.Aaron Stackhouse, Barrow, 25:06; 26. Jaxen Williamson, Kotzebue, 25:24; 27. Tyler Kramer, Kotzebue, 26:26; 28. Gavin Wilson, Barrow, 28:32.
Girls: 1. Awaluk Nichols, Nome, 21:43; 2. Xiimara Salazar, Kotzebue, 22:25; 3. Lauren Kingstrom, Nome, 22:28; 4. Rosemarie Dyment, Bethel, 22:59; 5. Payton Boney, Bethel, 23:10; 6. Kimberly Wolgemuth, Barrow, 23:41; 7. Maya Komulainen, Bethel, 23:56; 8. Kiara Burnell, Barrow, 24:19; 9. Kyana Harpak, Bethel, 24:31; 10. Katelyn Piper, Kotzebue, 24:50; 11. Julianna Hernandez, Kotzebue, 25:15; 12. Natallie Tobuk, Nome, 25:46; 13. Bristol Huffman, Kotzebue, 25:58; 14. Forrest Olemaun, Barrow, 26:08; 15. Constance Albert, Bethel, 26:27; 16. Jordan Klejka, Bethel, 26:40; 17. Caris Nanouk, Kotzebue, 27:23; 18. Taegan Edwardsen, Barrow, 27:54; 19. Hannah Leinberger, Bethel, 28:08: 20. Deziray Ivanoff, Kotzebue, 30:10; 21. Lauren Brower, Barrow, 36:10.
Boys: 1. Bethel, 22; 2. Nome, 38; 3. Kotzebue, 90; 4. Barrow, 98
Girls: 1. Bethel, 29; 2. Kotzebue, 42; 3. Barrow, 54