Cross-country season starts this weekend

The calling card of the Skagway High cross-country team this season could be “strength in numbers.”
With a huge turnout of 25 runners, the SHS harriers should have no trouble posting decent team scores this year, and some spots at the State meet.
“I’m impressed with the number of athletes so far,” said Coach Gary Trozzo. “For the time we have put into practice, we are doing pretty well as a whole.”
With runners competing for spots, times have been improving after a month of practices, and runners are finishing their test runs closer together, Trozzo noted. This could help with team scoring, but he’ll know more after this weekend.
The first meet for the team is this Saturday in Juneau. Representing the varsity Panthers will be: seniors Stan Bush, Clayton Harris, Ashley Law and Chris Shockley; juniors Kyle Ellis, Kortney Greiser, Coleen Ketterman, Arlen McCluskey, Jerod Moore, and Jenny Sinka; sophomores Russell Bush, Garret Henry, Bethany Hisman, and Thomas Knorr; and freshmen Savannah Ames, Grace Blanchard, Max Jewell, Crystal Ketterman, Jeremy Kilburn, John McCluskey, and Kyle Mulvihill.
Russell Bush has potential for a top three finish in the region, Trozzo said, and four other boys could go top 15. Among the girls, the best runner is Crystal Ketterman, a potential top 10 finisher.
Four eighth graders also are running with the team: Jordan Kasler, Candi Ketterman, Scott Lesh and Audrey Neitzer. Most of the above, with 10-14 practices under their belts, will travel for the first meet.
Then it’s off to Wrangell the following weekend, and everyone will run at the home meet in Skagway on Sept. 15.
Trozzo is in the process of getting approval for a new course on the Dyea Road from the AB trailhead to Long Bay and back.
Regionals is in Sitka Sept. 22, and State is at the end of the month in Palmer.
“It’s such a short season,” said coach Gary Trozzo, who wishes the runners had more practices under their feet. “But we should settle down after the first race and with school starting.”

• results from Juneau Invitational

Anna True benefit race attracts athletes Saturday

The Eagles will host a benefit race for Skagway resident Anna True on Saturday.
“Anna has given unimaginable amounts of time, energy and herself to the Skagway community,” Eagles race chair Beth Winslow wrote in fliers advertising the race.
“It’s really something to give back to her because she loves Skagway,” Winslow said.
The money collected will help pay for medical expenses resulting from her recent illness.
Race registration will take place at the Eagles Hall from 10 to 11 a.m. for a one-mile race at 11:30 a.m. and a three-mile race at 12:30 p.m. Registration is $20 per participant, but it will be waived for racers who raise $250.
Although the flier specifies the one-mile race is restricted to kids less than 13 years old, Winslow amended the rules to include all ages and forms of mobility.
“Even for people who aren’t gonna run, just get out there and support her,” Winslow said.
Following the race, the Eagles will host a barbecue and an awards ceremony. — JC

Runners gear up for Klondike Relay Sept. 7

Teams will converge on Skagway for the Klondike Trail of ‘98 International Road Relay Sept. 7.
As of Aug. 22, three teams had registered from Skagway for the 109.6-mile race, which begins the evening of Sept. 7 and runs through the night to the next day.
Teams of 10 racers will run legs from 5.8 to 16 miles-long from Skagway to Whitehorse.
A Running Borealis, the White Pass & Yukon Railroad Highballers, and the Fairway Market team are the Skagway teams that have registered so far, but registration is still open until a week before the race.
Three team members will be returning for the fifth anniversary of the WP&YR Highballers in the relay.
“We’re on the Red Onion ethnic night diet,” team captain Jeremy Simmons said.
Various team members attend Red Onion festivities following rigorous team runs Tuesday nights.
The team name “Highballers” came from railroad switch stand signals, Simmons said. A “high ball” meant full steam ahead, hence the team name.
A Running Borealis team captain Jill Gutzler said Princess Tours donates a bus as the team’s support vehicle for the race.
“We usually have the same amount of support riders as runners,” Gutzler said.
This will be Fairway Market’s first year sponsoring a team of mostly rookie runners, unofficial Fairway Market team captain Tim Fairbanks said.
“We don’t know what to expect – except to be sore,” he said. “If you go to Whitehorse, you’ll see a bunch of us walking around like penguins.”
Last year, Skagway’s Jewell Construction Turbos placed tenth overall and second in its category in the relay. — JC