The 2020 Alaska State Cross Country Championship results are in, and the state qualifiers from Nome-Beltz High School (NBHS) and the Bering Strait School District (BSSD) delivered strong performances overall.

Nome-Beltz runner Tobin Hobbs and Unalakleet runner Kanayaq Ivanoff both finished in the top 10 in their respective divisions.

NBHS Cross Country Coach Jeff Collins lauded the Alaska School Activities Association’s (ASAA) management of the state championship held in Anchorage this past weekend, despite the circumstances.

“As far as the way the meet was run, ASAA did an amazing job at just making sure the kids had the best possible experience.”

– Coach Jeff Collins

In the Division II Boys’ race, Nanook runner Tobin Hobbs finished in 7th place with a time of 16:51, and Son Erikson placed 19th with a time of 18 min and 41 seconds. Tristian Merchant from Anchorage Christian School earned first place with a time of 14:51.

Coach Collins says this is the best placing they’ve had at state in, “quite a while,” thanks to senior Tobin Hobbs. Collins also praised the younger members of the team, who represent the future of NBHS cross country.

“For our freshman, Son Erikson, this is just a great learning experience for him. We have an amazingly talented, young team coming up, so it would’ve been nice to have a little bit more there. But to have at least one returner on the boys’ side who has some experience, that’ll be Son.”

– Coach Jeff Collins

For the girls, Claire Fry led the Lady Nanooks, finishing in 23rd place for the Division II Girls’ race with a time of 23 minutes and 4 seconds. Additionally, Natallie Tobuk placed 28th and finished the race in 25:15. First place finisher Jayna Boonstra of Kenai Central High School crossed the finish line in under 20 minutes.

According to Collins, this was a strong showing for senior Claire Fry who ran, “the fastest time of her life.”

Overall, Collins is glad runners throughout the region could compete in Anchorage this year despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s just a great opportunity for kids within our region to feel some sense of normalcy during all of this, and cross country being an outdoor activity, it really provides that opportunity. And I’m glad to see as many students across the region took advantage of it as possible.”

– Coach Jeff Collins

For the Bering Strait School District, Wolfpack runner Kanayaq Ivanoff led the district with a 5th place finish in the Division III Boys’ race; Ivanoff completed the race in 18:55.

Caelin Kingeekuk of Savoonga competes at the State Cross Country Championship in Anchorage. Photo from Cory Kralovetz, used with permission (2020).

Caelin Kingeekuk of Savoonga placed 11th with a time of 20:34. The DIII Boys’ state champion, Kael Gerlach, was just over three minutes faster than Kingeekuk.

In the Division III Girls’ race, Alaina Pete of Brevig Mission and Patricia Washington of St. Michael finished in 6th and 7th place respectively. Pete finished the race in 24:54 with Washington following closely behind at 26:36.

The DIII Girls’ champion, Aileen Lester, completed the race in 21:11.

The BSSD girl qualifiers for the State Cross Country Championship in Anchorage: Alaina Pete of Brevig Mission (left) and Patricia Washington of St. Michael (right). Photo from Brendan Ellis, used with permission (2020).

Image at top: Kanayaq Ivanoff of Unalakleet finished 5th in his division during the Alaska State Cross Country Championships in Anchorage this past weekend. Photo from Brendan Ellis, used with permission (2020).