Boys cross-country team wins Southeast championship again

The Wrangell Wolves boys cross-country team won the Division III Southeast championship meet in Juneau on Saturday, Sept. 30, and are headed to the state competition in Palmer this weekend.

Though the girls didn't have enough runners to qualify for state as a team, freshman Alana Harrison and sophomore Kalee Herman qualified for individual spots at the state meet.

"I'm really pleased with (the team's) performance at regions," said coach Mason Villarma. "(We) took care of business as expected and ... everybody finished remarkably well."

He believes the team can secure another state title in Palmer on Saturday, Oct. 7. The boys won the state title last year - the first time ever for Wrangell.

Wrangell runners took three of the top five spots in the regional Division III boys race. Sophomore Boomchain Loucks placed first overall with a time of 17:13.74 and senior Keegan Hanson was close behind in second with a time of 17:25.52. Loucks and Hanson have been vying for the top spot on the Wrangell team throughout the season, often finishing within a few seconds of each other.

Senior Daniel Harrison came in fourth at 18:03.7 and sophomore Ian Nelson placed eighth at 18:55.2 - about 10 seconds away from his season record at the Sitka Invitational Sept. 16.

Sophomore Jackson Powers and freshman Jackson Carney placed 11th and 12th, respectively, at 19:01.2 and 19:10.6. Freshman Everett Meisnner and freshman Cooper Powers also represented Wrangell at the meet.

On the girls team, Harrison came in third overall at 23:05.0 and "probably could have gotten second if she would have taken a little bit more risk," said Villarma. "But she is looking to do that in the state championship this next weekend."

Herman came in eighth at 25:00.5 and will be heading to state as well. Freshman Bella Ritchie also represented Wrangell at the meet.

After the team's successful showing this season, Villarma is considering moving Wrangell cross-country from Division III (the smallest schools) to Division II next year, allowing them to race against a more competitive field of athletes from Sitka and Mt. Edgecumbe.

"As it stands now, 2A doesn't seem to be a very competitive fit for the team," said Villarma. "We'll look at that this week and see if (switching divisions) might be in Wrangell's best interest moving forward."

In Southeast Division I, Juneau-Douglas High School: Kalé won both the boys and girls team titles. The Sitka boys and girls teams took the Division II titles and the Kake girls team won Division III for the first time since the 1980s.


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