XC Ward Lake

From left, Ada Odden (427), Ruby McCue, Paige Boehlert (431), Anneliese Hiatt (428) and Jenna Walker (429) lead the Ketchikan High School girls’ cross country team at the start of their race on Saturday at Ward Lake. Staff photo by Dustin Safranek

It was supposed to be Ketchikan High School’s home meet.

As it turned out, Ketchikan was the only team that participated on Saturday.

In a season of virtual races, due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, teams across Southeast have been running their own home courses, and then submitting times to be compiled for final results.

But as Juneau became higher risk for COVID-19 late last week, hitting the “high” category as defined by the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, high school athletics were put on pause in the capital city.

That meant both Juneau-Douglas and Thunder Mountain high schools weren’t able to participate.

But that didn’t stop Kayhi’s squad.

Already planning for a virtual race at Ward Lake, Kayhi runners were ready to go.

“We had perfect conditions and that’s (great), especially coming into the middle of September,” Ketchikan head coach Katie Sivertsen said. “Our athletes are really working hard to stay focused, to stay motivated with this season, and I think that showed a little bit today. I’m just so proud of them for showing up every day, and doing what they can do.”

Mickey Lapinski finished first for the boys’ squad, in 17:49. It’s about 30 seconds more than what he has been hitting this season. But the Kayhi junior still kept it under 18 minutes.

“We saw our boys struggle a little bit, overall, in general,” Sivertsen said. “But one thing I saw, which was an absolute treat, was our girls come together as a team.”

Indeed, every member of the Lady Kings’ squad that competed on Saturday finished within a few minutes of each other.

Even Anneliese Hiatt, who wasn’t feeling in top shape and didn’t run at race pace, helped coach her teammates through the 5K course.

“I could hear her on the course coaching her teammates behind her,” Sivertsen said. “That’s my absolute highlight of the race today. Because I feel like that’s such a great embodiement of what being a teammate is.”

Here are the final results from Kayhi’s cross country meet on Saturday:

Boys

Mickey Lapinski, 17:49

Aidan Miller, 19:52

Phillip Smith, 20:15

Owen Woodward, 20:16

Brayden Gentry, 20:35

Kai Biagi, 22:27

Shawn Cadiente, 25:25

Gabe Tabb, 31:25

Girls

Jenna Walker, 22:19

Ruby McCue, 22:56

Paige Boehlert, 22:57

Anneliese Hiatt, 24:40

Maggie Boehlert, 25:00

Ada Odden, 25:00

*Race results courtesy of

Ketchikan cross country.

Walker runs up her pace

Ketchikan junior Jenna Walker has continued to shave time off of her personal best, and set a new personal record on Saturday finishing in 22:19.

That’s nearly a minute off of her old PR set last season — 23:15.

But Ketchikan’s redhead isn’t showing signs of slowing down any time soon, and still has her sights set on shrinking her PR even more.

“(She has) worked so hard this summer,” Sivertsen said. “... She is a true testimate to what you can get out of cross country season if you put in the work preseason. ... I mean, she’s just showing you, if you put in the work, you can absolutely cut two minutes off your time. No problem.”

Seniors honored

The Kayhi cross country squad honored their three seniors after Saturday’s race.

With doughnuts and orange juice in hand, Kayhi coaches and teammates gathered around one of the pavilions at Ward Lake to share their favorite thoughts about Phillip Smith, Morgan Elerding and Gabe Tabb.

This season gave Sivertsen an opportunity to reconnect with Smith, who she taught and coached in elementary school, and get to know Elerding and Tabb a little better.

Former cross country coach Leigh Woodward also spoke about each student-athlete.

On Smith:

“I was his teacher in fifth grade,” Sivertsen said. “And at Tongass School, I ran a running club with another teacher. And him and Brent, they were some of our first members. So it’s really cool to get to see Phillip at the end of his school-aged running career, and just to see that development.”

On Elerding:

“Morgan is an absolute treasure to have,” Sivertsen said. “And for real, I wish she wasn’t graduating for a couple of years. I’m not even kidding. Because she is absolutely the glue that holds our team together. ... She is wonderful, and a wonderful leader.”

On Tabb:

“Gabe is so motivated and so dedicated,” Sivertsen said. “And when we talk about somebody who comes out every day and puts in the work — that’s him.

“One of the things that one of his teammates said about him was, ‘I wish I had your motivation.’

“Yeah, I wish they all had his motivation. For real. That was a great insight about Gabe because he is a hard worker, and he sets such a good example for his teammates.”