Wrangell Sentinel -

By Dan Rudy 

Wrangell girls take 2nd in cross-country meet


Jess Field / Wrangell Sentinel

Jing O'Brien places 14th Saturday during the cross-country team's second meet of the season, in Petersburg. Finishing second among the Lady Wolves' running roster, O'Brien and the rest of the team head to Metlakatla this weekend.

Wrangell High School's cross-country teams put their best feet forward over the weekend, with the girls together taking second place among 1-3A teams.

"It went great," commented the team's coach, Jenn Davies.

Runner Reyn Hutten ended up finishing in first place among her division's girls during Saturday's meet in Petersburg. She seems set this year to continue her pace of last year, when she placed first during the Region V run in Ketchikan.

Teammate Jing O'Brien finished in 14th place, which sets her on course to qualify for State next month. Individual runners placing in the top 15 in Sitka will qualify for State, and teams can qualify based on the top five scores of their runners.

Together, the Lady Wolves came in second place.

Among the boys' runners, three placed within the top 15 for the 1-3A contestants. Jacob Hammer finished in ninth place, Riley Blatchley was in 11th, and JD Barratt followed up in 15th.

"We have a really strong team, with both the boys and girls," said Davies. The team finished similarly in its first run of the year the previous weekend, in Ketchikan. The cross-country runners head next to Metlakatla, followed the next weekend by a meet in Juneau. The weekend after, the team will compete at Regionals in Sitka, with State to follow on October 1.

"It'll be a lot of traveling, a lot of hard work," Davies said. However, based on her team's performance, she has confidence both the boys and girls will be able to send runners to State next month.

"These kids are amazing," she said. Practicing every day since August 1, her runners have kept at it regardless of the weather, be it rain, wind and "hot" 60-degree weather.

"I'm proud of how hard they are working," Davies said.

Jess Field / Wrangell Sentinel

Kaylauna Churchill approaches the finish line during Wrangell's cross-country meet in Petersburg on Saturday. The Lady Wolves finished in second place among 1-3A division schools, and at this rate may be in step to head to State next month.

New activities director Bill Bradley agreed the team gave a strong showing in Petersburg. Coming most recently from Scammon Bay School District in the Lower Yukon, Bradley previously coached the high school's academic decathlon and was an assistant basketball coach for its team's trip to State. Managing Wrangell's extracurricular activities will be a new step for him, and so far he said the transition has been eased by the school's staff.

"It's a learning curve, and I'm learning quickly," he said.

With cross-country already off to a running start, other autumn programs are also getting ready to begin. With coach Jessica Whittaker returning, beginning September 14 the volleyball team will begin practicing for its regular season. It has its first tournament set for the 30th in Petersburg.

Coach Jeff Rooney and his wrestling team will also start practicing for its upcoming season, with Jack Carney lined up as its assistant coach. Basketball will follow later on in the semester, with practice beginning at the end of November and the boys looking to hold their first tournament before the winter break.

"This is going to be a great year," Bradley predicted.

For updates and schedules for upcoming Wolves events, check out the school district's new website at http://www.wrangellschools.org/Domain/23.


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