Fourteen teams race at The Sandpit Bethel Cross Country Invitational returns to historical venue

by Greg Lincoln

The Bethel Cross Country Invitational took place at the Sand Pit after taking a few years off, to the delight of race fans. The last Sand Pit race was in 2017. From 2018 – 2019 the race was staged by the Bethel High School. In 2020, the race was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Race fans were happy that the event was back at the Pit where they could watch and cheer for their runners multiple times – first at the start, then over on the other side opposite the starting area after the runners make their way around the grueling first loop, and after that up the hill where the racers come up through the bushes. Then lastly, fans rush to the finish chute where they cheer on their racers on their last kick.

There are downhills, uphills, flat areas, and the scenery is beautiful on this course. The ground is sand, some grass, with willow and alder bushes. A four-wheeler pulling a wooden board smoothed out the churned up course in between races.

The day of the race dawned chill with a coating of frost and some fog. The temperature was in the high 20’s at the start of the races at 10am. By noon the sun warmed everything up.

Teams brought their bags and luggage with them to the course so they could catch their flights home right after the race. Runners from Akiuk, Alakanuk, Aniak, Emmonak, Hooper Bay, Kongiganak, Marshall, Mountain Village, Nightmute, Scammon Bay, and Toksook Bay joined Bethel’s Ayaprun Elitnaurvik, Gladys Jung, and the host team Bethel Regional High School runners in the event.

The first race was for the girls elementary and junior high runners. Coming in first for the elementary grades was Claire Panitay Dyment of Ayaprun Elitnaurvik. In second and third were a pair of Scammon Bay runners Sasha Charlie and Jeanine Titus.

For the junior high girls, winning the race Rose Dyment, Claire’s older sister. In second was Alexia Kaganak of Scammon Bay. In third was Kongiganak’s Gracelyn Miller.

For the elementary boys Cole Capayuk Iverson of Ayaprun Elitnaurvik took first place. In second was his teammate Silas Angiirraq Lefferts. Taking third was Carson Charlie of Keggatmiut School in Scammon Bay.

Junior high boys racer Mason Beans-Polk took first place for their race. In second was Shiah River of Scammon Bay. Third place runner was Ethan Wheeler of BRHS.

On the varsity girls side, Bethel Lady Warrior Payton Boney took first place honors. In second was Ernie Joe of Hooper Bay. Fiona Phelan of BRHS placed third. The Bethel Lady Warriors took first as a team. Runner up was the Hooper Bay Lady Warriors.

For the boys taking first was Scammon Bay’s Isaac Titus, a junior. He took the lead early on and never looked back and sprinted while crossing the finish line. In second was Latrell Lake of Hooper Bay. Bethel’s Landon Smith took a close third, just one second after Lake. The BRHS Warriors took first as a team. In second were the Hooper Bay Warriors.

The wooden engraved award plaques were made by Mr. Saltzman’s 3D Engineering Class at BRHS and were presented during the award ceremony after the last runner crossed the finish line.

Get set, the Bethel Warriors will be racing at the Region I XC race this coming weekend in Kotzebue.

Elementary Girls Results

1 Panitay Claire Dyment 11:58 AE

2 Sasha Charlie 12:32 Scammon Bay

3 Jeanine Titus 12:38 Scammon Bay

6 Alqaq Evon 13:18 Kongiganak

7 Madeline Krenz 14:13 GJE

9 Thea Vanasse 14:38 GJE

10 Maria Krenz 14:39 GJE

11 Jayna Vanasse 14:55 GJE

12 Isabelle Kerr 15:07 GJE

13 Chanae Sundown 15:13 Scammon Bay

15 Stevie Greason 15:44 GJE

16 Miisaq O’Brien 16:04 AE

17 Emilyn Herron 16:09 GJE

18 Canaar Anderson 16:12 AE

19 Aaquqsaq Brink 16:20 AE

20 Brianna Fredericks 16:21 GJE

21 Driel O’Brien 16:23 GJE

22 Gabriella Sanbei 16:25 GJE

24 Codi Hancock 16:39 GJE

25 Veronica Kelly 16:40 GJE

27 Toni Craven 17:05 GJE

28 Arnaaquq Peter 17:11 AE

29 Cucuaq Kinegak 17:14 AE

30 Ayaprun Phillips 17:25 AE

32 Khloe Anderson 17:31 GJE

33 Holly Jordan 17:44 GJE

35 Amelie Thompson 18:18 GJE

36 Mazzy Craven 18:32 GJE

37 Katri Naneng 18:38 GJE

38 Saige Wheeler 19:42 GJE

39 Igvaq Jung 19:51 AE

40 K’Yonce Tsosie 20:13 GJE

41 Ayaksaq Thomas 20:38 AE

42 Abigail Jackson 22:17 GJE

43 Kate Emmons 22:27 GJE

44 Cora Butte 24:00 GJE

45 Nuqarrluk Mukluk 24:43 AE

46 Ciugun Paul 25:07 AE

Elementary Boys Results

1 Capayuk Cole Iverson 10:59 AE

2 Angiirraq Silas Lefferts 11:41 AE

3 Charlie Carson 12:05 Scammon Bay

4 Maximos Lonewolf 12:48 GJE

5 Isaiah Lake 12:59 Hooper Bay

6 Akuk’aq Adam Sparck 13:05 AE

7 Tucker Bobo 13:35 GJE

8 Ian Nicholai 13:35 AE

9 Uqsung’aq Cory Moses 13:41 AE

10 Teil McIntyre 14:09 GJE

11 Ciquyaq Carty 14:17 AE

12 Carver Hancock 14:32 GJE

13 Walter Johnson 14:40 GJE

14 Mikel Charles 14:47 Akiuk

15 Ciquyaq Charlie 14:48 AE

16 Nupik’aq Beaver 15:03 AE

17 Jonathan Schneidler 15:37 Akiuk

18 Kunuin Charlie 16:02 AE

19 Jackson Rearden 16:19 GJE

20 Teddy Slim 16:27 Akiuk

21 Nicholas Rearden 16:43 GJE

22 Tegaaq Carl 18:14 AE

23 Cungass’aq O’Hearn 19:26 AE

24 Cagluaq Ashepak 27:29 AE

Junior High Girls Results

1 Rosemarie Dyment 12:49 BRHS

2 Alexia Kaganak 13:17 Scammon Bay

3 Gracelyn Miller 14:28 Kongiganak

4 Carol Phillip 15:43 Kongiganak

5 Ashlynn Lonewolf 16:37 BRHS

6 Justine Erickson-Bradney 17:04 BRHS

7 Riley Boney 17:26 BRHS

8 Amber Kiunya 18:12 Kongiganak

Junior High Boys Results

1. Mason Beans-Polk 10:27 Bethel

3. Shiah Rivers 11:16 Scammon Bay

5. Ethan Wheeler 11:42 Bethel

6. Aidan Crow 11:46 Bethel

7. Steven Butte 11:58 Bethel

8. Kaysen Koutchak 11:59 Bethel

10. David Anaver 12:22 Scammon Bay

11. Toby Sundown 12:32 Scammon Bay

13. Jonny Slim 12:55 Akiuk

26. Tyler Daniel 15:06 Kongiganak

28. Keon Fancyboy 15:53 Kongiganak

Varsity Girls Results

1 Payton Boney 24:42 Bethel

2 Ernie Joe 25:11 Hooper Bay

3 Fiona Phelan 25:45 Bethel

4 Marisa Boliver 27:07 Marshall

5 Diane George 27:40 Keggatmiut

6 Natalia Slim 28:24 Akiuk

7 Ariana Tall-Lake 28:31 Hooper Bay

8 Alqaq Small 28:33 Bethel

9 Jasmine Simons 29:01 Nelson Island

10 Maya Komulainen 29:10 Bethel

11 Susie Long 29:20 Hooper Bay

12 Jordan Klejka 29:24 Bethel

13 Panik Chimiugak 29:27 Nelson Island

14 Cadence Cedars 29:34 Bethel

15 Cheyenne Steeves 29:35 Aniak

16 Irene Chakuchin 29:47 Nelson Island

17 Rosemary Henry 30:55 Nelson Island

18 Kiera Strongheart 31:49 Alakanuk

19 Lanea Phillips 32:31 Aniak

20 Kilee Fratis 33:00 Emmonak

21 Beth Hensley 33:32 Bethel

22 Sandra Tunutmoak 35:25 Keggatmiut

23 Deandra Nicholai 35:50 Akiuk 

24 Claire Schneidler 38:28 Akiuk 

25 Kyra Chikigak 47:47 Alakanuk

Varsity Boys Results

1 Isaac Titus 19:15 Keggatmiut (Scammon Bay)

2 Latrell Lake 19:53 Hooper Bay

3 Landon Smith 19:54 Bethel

4 Peter Crow 20:31 Bethel

5 Sean Lupie 21:03 Kongiganak

6 Madden Cockroft 21:04 Bethel

7 Liam Phelan 21:18 Bethel

8 Jesse Nanuk 21:40 Hooper Bay

9 Sheldon Smith 21:41 Bethel

10 Sherman Kelila 21:51 Aniak

11 Charles Smith 22:01 Bethel

12 Ned Peters 22:03 Bethel

13 Darquel Agwiak 22:25 Mt. Village

14 Raymond Chanar 22:35 Nelson Island

15 Nathaniel Jensen 22:38 Emmonak

16 Felton Albert 23:41 Nelson Island

17 Paul Dyment 23:43 Bethel

18 Charles Maxie 23:57 Nelson Island

19 Ryan Steeves 24:02 Aniak

20 Adam Rivers 24:17 Scammon Bay

21 Tyler Laraux 24:29 Bethel

22 Owen Bill 24:33 Mt. Village

23 Nathan Fisher 24:38 Hooper Bay

24 Drini Pellumbi 24:56 Bethel

25 Mekhi Bellk 25:27 Hooper Bay

26 Zachary Angaiak 25:37 Nelson Island

27 9 Dante Nukusuk 25:55 Hooper Bay

28 Michael Hoelscher 26:12 Hooper Bay

29 Reece Chagluak 26:14 Nelson Island

30 Gustoff Erickson 26:18 Bethel

31 Nicholas Kameroff 26:42 Aniak

32 Daylon Tall 26:51 Hooper Bay

33 Nafre Bongongon 27:03 Emmonak

34 Ethan Sparck 27:08 Bethel

35 Shawn Levi 27:33 Aniak

36 Ray Jackson 28:16 Nightmute

37 Connor Igkurak 28:44 Kongiganak

38 Daniel Jang 29:20 Bethel

39 Landon Mark 31:57 Nelson Island

*AE-Ayaprun Elitnaurvik, GJE-Gladys Jung Elementary

1 Comment

  1. To tell the truth, I fall in love with running and I have always wanted to become a professional runner. Firstly, I would like to express my respect to all participants of this race because I think that only people with staying power and fortitude will be able to realize it, showing their skills and capacity. Secondly, I would like to congratulate all winners and say that I admire their physical preparation. Also, it is so cool that there were such a variety of participants from different cities because all of them have their own unique characteristics and it is so interesting to observe them. I can’t imagine how difficult it was to run this race because there were a lot of obstacles, but they didn’t give up and showed decent results which deserve respect.

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