1-2-3A: Miller wins boys title; Seward girls, Grace boys win team crowns.
PALMER -- Nychele Fischetti ran with a pained expression, struggling with something, physical or mental, despite the fact that she was well ahead midway through Saturday's Class 1-2-3A girls state cross-country running race on Palmer High's Michael Janecek Running Trails.
Fischetti ends Foldagers' reign as top girl
There was nothing physically wrong with the
She'd been in this position before, only to have victory snatched by one of the Foldager twins, Rubye and Denali of Seward, winners of the past three individual state titles.
But as Fischetti ran on through the golden, birch-lined trails on a perfect fall day, with throngs of people cheering her on, her lead grew. And as she ran down the straightaway on Machetanz Field and crossed the finish line, her expression changed from pain, to relief, to elation.
She won the 5-kilometer race in 19 minutes, 16.99 seconds, 10 seconds ahead of second-place finisher J.J. Lende of Haines. It was her first state title. She finished second to Rubye last year.
This feels kind of surreal, Fischetti said, taking a break from numerous well wishers offering hugs and congratulations. Even during the race I was thinking, 'Oh man, I'm not gonna do it.'
She had good reason for doubt. Fischetti beat the Foldagers on the same course three weeks ago at the Palmer Invitational, but last week, Rubye passed her to win the Region III title at Colony High.
For four years, Nychele has done just awesome, and then regions and state come up, and me or
The reign of Foldager wins --
All five of Seward's scoring runners finished in the top 20 as the Seahawks totaled 45 points, well ahead of second-place Grace Christian (73) and Haines (79).
That's what I wanted more, Rubye said. To show these girls that you can win with such a young team.
Rubye finished third,
Rubye said she and
They're all so young, we (didn't) want to scare them, Rubye said. They understand this is a team, and you gotta hurt to win, and they definitely did.
I was captain, and this is my team because I picked it,
In the boys 1-2-3A race, ACS junior Michael Miller repeated as champion, leading from start to finish, clocking 16:27.36.
Last year's runner-up, Chandler Kemp of Haines, chased Miller and seemed to be gaining midway through the race. But Miller pulled further ahead on the final lap. Mike Stuart of Heritage Christian came in second (16:33.15), while Kemp was third (16:43.30).
Grace Christian's Leif Karlberg finished fourth to lead a pack of Grizzlies in the top 15 en route to a second straight team championship with 45 points.
That pack-running mentality has served Grace Christian well, with team victories this season at the Skyview and Colony Invitationals. Runners stick together, pushing and motivating each other.
One thing I know, I was working my butt off for my teammates, and they were working their butts off for me, Karlberg said. Our team has a special, special bond. Most of our guys returned from last year. No one wants to let anyone down.