FAIRBANKS — Peter Noon took off like he was shot out of a cannon and his teammates followed in a well orchestrated pack as the West Valley Wolfpack boys dominated the large schools competition at the Region VI Cross Country Championships Saturday at Birch Hill Recreation Area.
Noon won the 5-kilometer race by 12 seconds, completing the hilly course in 16 minutes, 57.2 seconds.
“It was a little lonely out there,” Noon quipped after being congratulated by his teammates.
West Valley had the top four finishers and six of the top seven en route to a convincing victory. The Wolfpack won with 16 points, while Lathrop was a distant second with 46 and North Pole was third with 83.
More important than winning the team title for the Wolfpack, the first six West Valley runners finished within 34 seconds of each other.
“We’re going to have to do that again next week because Service is going to provide some really tough competition,” said West Valley coach Dan Callahan. “Last year they (Service) really came on strong at the state meet.”
West Valley has finished second at the state championships the past two years and are one of the favorites again this year.
West Valley and Lathrop both qualified full teams for next weekend’s state championships in Anchorage.
The only individual qualifier not on those two teams was 10th-place finisher Joe Bue, who represents the IDEA program.
Callahan said he wasn’t surprised Noon was able to win by a comfortable margin.
“He has a hard time holding back at the start of races because he gets a little excited,” Callahan said.
Noon bolted to the front immediately and held his lead on the second lap of the two-lap race.
“It was really nice,” Noon said of his performance. “It’s something I’ve worked up to throughout the year, so it was nice to finish like this.”
The lanky senior was impressed with the way his teammates were working behind him.
“This team is really awesome,” he said. “It’s so deep and everyone works together really well.”
The Sayre brothers, Mikko and Tristan, took second and third for West Valley in 17:09.7 and 17:16.1. Defending region and state champion Kuba Grzeda was fourth in 17:22.7, coming off an injury.
Lathrop’s Sam King broke up the Wolfpack brigade by taking fifth place in 17:53.9. Erich Hoefler (17:27.4) and Max Donaldson (17:31) completed West Valley’s top six finishers.
“This course and the challenge of beating Lathrop made it a very good day for us,” Callahan said.
Rounding out the top 10 were Lathrop’s Keegan Ragan in 17:53.9, West Valley’s Jonathan Koenig in 17:55.5 and Bue in 18:05.8.