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By SPENCER GLEASON
Daily News Sports Editor
On one hand there were two returners. And on the other hand, there were two new state competitors.
But there was never any doubt in Leigh Woodward’s mind that she’d have a competitive crew run their way to the ASAA state championships on Saturday.
And as proud as the Ketchikan High School cross country head coach was after Mickey Lapinski, Brent Capps, Anneliese Hiatt and Ruby McCue raced in the state meet in Anchorage on Saturday, she’s even more excited for the future.
“I think one of the most exciting things about this group is how young they are,” Woodward said during practice last week. “These guys should hopefully go back again next year. So this will be learning. This will be ‘let’s see what state’s all about.’”
And the foursome certainly set the bar high for the next couple years, as McCue, Capps and Lapinski are all sophomores. Hiatt is a freshman.
McCue and Capps competed in the state competition last season.
The state’s 5K course, which sits in Bartlett Trails, and is the home course for Bartlett High School, is constant ski hills.
What starts out flat, quickly turns into an uphill — and downhill — battle.
Capps, who finished 74th in 2018, improved his spot 26 places, this go-around. Ketchikan’s sophomore finished 48th, in 17:40.2.
Lapinski completed his first shot at state in 17:36.6, finishing in 39th place.
There were 83 runners in the boys’ meet. And all 83 had sub 20-minute times.
Just like Lapinski and Capps, Ketchikan’s Hiatt and McCue capped off their season with strong finishes.
Hiatt crossed the finish line just shy of the 21-minute mark, finishing in 20:59.
The time was just 30 seconds shy of her personal best, which Hiatt set in the Region V meet in Sitka on Sept. 28, completing that race in 20:29.
The first-time state competitor became progressively quicker since the start of the season.
McCue placed 75th, in 22:57.6.
Before the state meet, McCue had already bookended her season with her best times, finishing the Capial City Invitational in Juneau on Aug. 31 in 21:16. She finished the Region V meet two seconds faster, setting a new personal best of 21:14.6.
All of McCue’s race times throughout the regular season were in the sub 22-minute range.
There were 81 runners in the girls’ state meet. They all finished the course in under 25 minutes.
Here are results from the state competition:
ASAA Division I (4A) State Championship Meet
Boys Official Results
1. Santiago Prosser, Dimond, 15:14.4; 2. Alexander Maurer, Service, 15:37.6; 3. Hyrum Nelson, Chugiak, 15:53.6; 4. Noah Hoefer, Dimond, 16:13.6; 5. Dallin Gardiner, Dimond, 16:21.9; 6. Kaleb Beloy, South Anchorage, 16:31.7; 7. Isaac Dammeyer, West Anchorage, 16:34.6; 8. Michael Earnhart, Chugiak, 16:40.9; 9. Finn Morley, Juneau-Douglas, 16:45.9; 10. Daniel Abramowicz, West Valley, 16:46.0; 39. Mickey Lapinski, Ketchikan, 17:36.6; 48. Brent Capps, Ketchikan, 17:40.2.
Girls Official Results
1. Kendall Kramer, West Valley, 17:38.3; 2. Sadie Tuckwood, Juneau-Douglas, 18:13.0; 3. Naomi Bailey, West Valley, 18:45.1; 4. Ava Earl, South Anchorage, 19:00.9; 5. Maggie Drunkenmiller, West Valley, 19:01.6; 6. Lucy Young, South Anchorage, 19:03.0; 7. Nowelle Spencer, Service, 19:08.5; 8. Kiah Dihle, Thunder Mountain, 19:10.1; 9. Tatum Witter, Service, 19:11.8; 10. Emily Walsh, Eagle River, 19:14.2; 49. Anneliese Hiatt, Ketchikan, 20:59.0; 75. Ruby McCue, Ketchikan, 22:57.6.
*Names and times courtesy of race officials.