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Story Last modified at 5:45 p.m. on Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Crow Pass winners cruise to victory
Trio of local teens also completes mountainous marathon

BY MATT TUNSETH
Alaska Star

photo:Sports

Race fans Jenna Gruenstein, left, Meghan Kelly, center, and Lindsay Van Gorkom, all of Anchorage, watch as 2011 Crow Pass Crossing competitor Tony Slatonbarker makes his way down the final stretch of trail near the Eagle River Nature Center. Slatonbarker was 10th overall.
STAR PHOTOs by matt tunseth

Maybe it's getting too easy?

Both the men's and women's winners of the annual 24-mile Crow Pass Crossing mountain race crossed the finish line at the Eagle River Nature Center on Saturday morning looking like they'd just finished a leisurely morning jog.

"It was kinda the best day you could ask for," said women's champ Kiersten Lippmann, a first-time competitor from Anchorage who clocked the eighth-fastest women's time in race history by covering the distance from Girdwood to the center in 3 hours, 36 minutes and 25 seconds.

Lippmann said conditions were nearly ideal, with partly cloudy skies, dry trails and an easy crossing of Eagle River.

"Just perfect," said Lippmann, who finished more than 10 minutes in front of Najeeby Quinn in second. Abby Rideout was third.

Lippman's fiancée, Andrew Kim, said the couple only decided to enter the race at the last minute – and only after some prodding from Kim.

"I had to convince her to do it," Kim said.

Lippmann said the low-stress approach to the race may have helped her keep from over thinking things before hand.

"Sometimes you just have a good day," she said.

Men's winner Jeff Roes also looked fresh at the finish line after finishing in 3:00:28 to hold off Eric Strabel by less than two minutes. Matias Saari was third.

The race begins with a steep climb of about 2,000 feet to the top of Crow Pass near Girdwood. Roes said Strabel was the leader into the pass, but then he and Saari went in front and ran stride-for-stride until about the 16-mile mark, when Saari dropped back.

"It turned out he was cramping in his hamstring pretty bad," Roes said.

That was the last time the Juneau runner saw either of his rivals, crossing the finish line with his third consecutive title.

Although the winners seemed to have little trouble navigating the often-treacherous crossing, not everyone finished looking so fresh. Rideout crossed the finish line with a nice gash on her left thigh.

photo:Sports

Women's third-place finisher Abby Rideout, right, hugs second-place Najeeby Quinn shortly after Rideout crossed the finish line in the 24-mile race from Girdwood to Eagle River.

"I fell about 17 times," Rideout said.

Wasilla's Gary Howell, who finished fifth, said he cramped up about two miles before the finish line and was forced to limp much of the way home. Howell said it could have been even worse if not for the support of fellow mountain runners like Mark Strabel, who hiked about six miles into the course from the Eagle River end to hand out Gatorade.

"It makes all the difference knowing you're going to have a friend out there," Howell said.

Although not among the winners, a trio of local teens also made their mark in the race.

2011 Chugiak High graduate Dare Hedum, 18, finished the race in 55th place overall and was third behind Scott Patterson (6th overall) and Zach Keskinen (40th) among racers under 20. Hedum finished in 4:15:58.

Running the course together were a pair of 16-year-olds, Eagle River's Brandon King and Chugiak's Chris Kveseth, both juniors-to-be at their respective schools. The duo finished in just over 5 hours, 30 minutes, with King crossing the finish line two seconds ahead of his friend. They were the youngest competitors in this year's event.

Crow Pass Crossing

Saturday, July 23

1. Geoff Roes 3 hours, 00 minutes, 28 seconds; 2. Eric Strabel 3:02:14; 3. Matias Saari 3:06:37; 4. Patrick Johnson 3:15:24; 5. Gary Howell 3:17:05; 6. Scott Patterson 3:19:56; 7. A. Willie Stoll 3:29:09; 8. Tom Bronga 3:31:25; 9. John Weddleton 3:33:29; 10. Tony Slatonbarker 3:34:31; 11. Grant Stevenson 3:35:19; 12. Kiersten Lippmann 3:36:25; 13. Matthew Green 3:37:20; 14. Erin Phillips 3:37:36; 15. John Bursell 3:38:55; 16. Patrick Conway 3:40:06; 17. Dan Marshall 3:40:21; 18. Lance Kopsack 3:41:24; 19. Andrew Lee 3:44:15; 20. James Zwiefel 3:44:52; 21. Mark Brady 3:46:44; 22. Najeeby Quinn 3:47:29; 23. Jason Burkhead 3:47:56; 24. Abby Rideout 3:48:21; 25. Thomas Wells 3:49:51; 26. Laron Thomas 3:50:25; 27. Rachel Phelps 3:50:47; 28. Bryan Hitchcock 3:51:00; 29. Joe Magellan 3:51:19; 30. Ryan Heffernan 3:52:48; 31. Doug Ketterer 3:53:17; 32. Ben Spiess 3:53:50; 33. Ryan Kircher 3:53:53; 34. Danielle Dalton 3:55:50; 35. David Roosa 3:57:20; 36. Guy Thibodeau 3:59:25; 37. Ben Rolfs 3:59:33; 38. Mike Heatwolf 3:59:42; 39. Braun Kopsack 4:00:00; 40. Zach Keskinen 4:01:25; 41. Brian Stone 4:02:03; 42. Caitlin Patterson 4:02:10; 43. Danielle Pratt 4:05:43; 44. David Valdes 4:06:44; 45. Jamie Cawood 4:06:50; 46. Aubrey Smith 4:07:30; 47. Jim McDonough 4:07:51; 48. Greg Veltkamp 4:08:13; 49. Dan Lesh 4:09:11; 50. Mike Brock 4:09:32; 51. Christie Haupert 4:10:33; 52. Melissa Lewis 4:10:48; 53. Brad Garland 4:13:28; 54. David Popiel 4:13:48; 55. Dare Hedum 4:15:58; 56. Marc Johnson 4:17:03; 57. Jennifer Donovan 4:17:56; 58. Paul Clark 4:18:14; 59. Jeff Jessen 4:18:37; 60. Kevin Taylor 4:19:34; 61. John Nagel 4:22:01; 62. Brian Pautzke 4:24:30; 63. Adam Cohen 4:26:53; 64. Bob Gerik 4:27:38; 65. Tony Arturo 4:28:17; 66. Laura McDonough 4:28:45; 67. James Kech 4:29:40; 68. Laura Fox 4:30:00; 69. Stephen Rideout 4:30:08; 70. Heather Gaines 4:30:11; 71. Michael Vander Lugt 4:30:53; 72. Philip Vander Lugt 4:30:53; 73. Glenn Frick 4:30:56; 74. Steve Young 4:31:30; 75. John Hellen 4:32:01; 76. Mike Edwards 4:32:41; 77. Amber M. McDonough 4:32:56; 78. Robert Loyd 4:34:53; 79. Mike DiFilippo 4:34:55; 80. Kyle Denise Colburn 4:36:23; 81. Keith MacPhail 4:37:25; 82. Tarek Wetzel 4:37:47; 83. Dorian Gross 4:40:37; 84. Ricky Pico 4:41:00; 85. Ryan Strong 4:43:59; 86. Peter Fuller 4:44:34; 87. Dan Polito 4:44:35; 88. Ryan McLaughlin 4:45:16; 89. Letta Stokes 4:46:16; 90. Susan Caseys 4:46:18; 91. Paul Gloe 4:47:34; 92. Edward Soto 4:48:19; 93. Harrison Alger 4:48:59; 94. Mark Hansen 4:50:25; 95. Mike Petersen 4:50:45; 96. Jessie Westin 4:51:43; 97. Lloyd P. Melone III 4:51:44; 98. Nelson Priddy 4:53:26; 99. Emily Slaughter 4:57:45; 100. Jeff Bool 4:58:17; 101. Dan Harrell 5:00:04; 102. Derek W. Nottingham 5:01:32; 103. Jared Friesen 5:04:07; 104. Kari Konrath-Bera 5:07:41; 105. Michael Stahl 5:10:32; 106. Mike Wahlig 5:11:10; 107. Benjamin Keller 5:11:19; 108. Danielle Firth 5:11:44; 109. Ken McInally 5:13:33; 110. Josh Meals 5:14:21; 111. Adam Baxter 5:14:23; 112. Doreen Rossberg 5:14:35; 113. Jose Gross 5:18:40; 114. Elizabeth Morgan 5:19:19; 115. Aaron Christie 5:20:22; 116. Yvonne Leutwyler 5:27:47; 117. Pam Todd 5:28:35; 118. Jeromy Scheel 5:29:38; 119. Brandon King 5:30:38; 120. Chris Kveseth 5:30:40; 121. Ron Larsen 5:32:10; 122. William McCormick 5:32:54; 123. Andrea Hambach 5:34:02; 124. David Johnston 5:34:03; 125. Jeff Mailloux 5:34:18; 126. Natasha Burroughs 5:42:46; 127. Annette Fortune 5:43:49; 128. Doyle Woody 5:45:09; 129. Evan Steinhauser 5:47:53; 130. Danelle VanHolstyn 5:49:06; 131. Christopher Redfox 5:50:37.



This article published in The Alaska Star on Wednesday, July 27, 2011.