by Tommy Wells
If anyone questioned Thomas Phelan’s rise to the top of the state’s cross country scene as a reality, they officially received their answer on Saturday afternoon. The answer they got was simple: You better believe it.
Phelan helped spur the Bethel Regional High School Warriors to the top spot in the boys’ division by racing his way to first in the 5-kilometer race. Overall, Phelan was one of five BRHS runners to finish in the top 11 spots in the race, which was not held at the Bethel Sand Pit course for the first time in more than two decades.
Phelan, running on the smoother city roads, led the Warriors’ championship effort with one of his more impressive outings. The only runner to complete the race in less than 18 minutes, Phelan finished in a time of 17 minutes, 53 seconds. His final mark was more than 14 seconds faster than his nearest competitor, teammate Gary Poe.
Poe finished second overall with a time of 18:07.
Bethel’s Jamin Crow and Landon Smith gave Bethel a sweep of the top four places.
Kwethluk’s Jacob Clark ended the Warriors’ domination of the top of the standings by racing his way to fifth and finishing only a few seconds ahead of Bethel senior Lawrence Poe.
Akiachak’s Tyler Chingliak was the second fastest runner from the Yukon-Kuskokwim villages. He powered his way to seventh overall. He edged out Chevak’s Edward Atcherian and Quinhagak’s Chris Alexie.
Peter Crow was the Warriors fifth finisher, placing 11th overall.
Like Phelan, Acacia Chingliak of Akiachak walked away from the meet with a victory. She claimed the top spot in the girls’ standings.
Bethel’s Lindsey-Beans Polk and Fiona Phelan legged out second and third in the race, respectively. Chevak’s Charity Boyscout and Bethel’s Dellarae Charles took fourth and fifth.
The BRHS girls took the team title by having five runners finish in the top 10.
Joining Beans-Polk, Phelan and Charles in the top 10 were Beth Hensley (seventh), Kelsie Madson (eighth) and Cady Cedars (ninth). Marissa Black was 11th.
Bethel will return to action on Sept. 22 when they host the Big West Regional Championships.