FAIRBANKS— The Delta Junction boys brought out the brooms and swept away the competition in the small schools boys race at the Region VI Cross Country Championships.
On a balmy Saturday afternoon at Birch Hill Recreation Area, the Delta boys finished 1-2-3 individually on their way to a second straight team title and a trip to next weekend’s state championships.
Senior Jimmy Morden, who ran for the Huskies as a freshman and sophomore, but didn’t run last year, registered his first win and the right time, crossing the finish line in 18 minutes, 2.8 seconds, just 1.5 seconds head of teammate Daniel Taterenko (18:04.3). Delta Josiah Helkenn finished third in 18:28.6.
“It was a very close race,” Morden said after celebrating with his teammates. “If I didn’t have Daniel and Josiah chasing me, I don’t know what pace I would have run.
“With them pushing me, I had the strength to finish,” he added. “I was tired going up the hill on the second lap.”
Delta coach Mike Pelto said he wasn’t too surprised by Morden’s effort.
“He’s been running strong all year and today certainly was a good day for it,” Pelto said.
Rounding out the scoring for Delta were Garrett St. Peter in seventh place and John Warren in 11th.
“John has been out in front for us most of the year, but he’s been sick for the past couple of weeks.”
Delta accumulated 24 points to easily claim the top spot in the team standings. Eielson was second with 46 and Monroe Catholic finished third with 56.
“I’m expecting us to be in there battling for a top 5 spot at state,” Pelto said.
The top team and any individuals from other teams in the race can compete in the state championships next Saturday at Bartlett High School in Anchorage.
Eielson qualified three runners for the state meet — fourth-place finisher David Reaves (18:30.5), fifth-place finisher Nate Stodick (18:35.6) and ninth-place finisher (Nathan Ezell (19:33.6).
Monroe Catholic earned three spots at state as well. Andrew Walter placed sixth in 19:15.1, William Frank was eighth in 19:29.6 and Lucas Button rounded out the top 10 in 19:45.6.