Bad weather dampened the opening prep track and field meet at Sitka over the weekend, but the two local schools had strong performances with the Thunder Mountain boys and the Juneau-Douglas girls rolling to big wins.
On the boys’ side, TMHS took first, followed by Sitka, Ketchikan and Juneau-Douglas. The Crimson Bears scored a big win on the girls’ side and were followed by TMHS, Ketchikan and Sitka. The points totals were unofficial Saturday night, but TMHS coach Scott May said the places won’t be affected when the scores are official.
“It was an interesting weekend. We had snow, we had hail, we had sunshine, and then it kept going round and round in circles like that all day (Saturday). It was really weird,” JDHS coach Janette Gagnon said of the weather conditions and their effect on Sitka’s dirt track. “But overall, I’m pretty happy. The kids had good performances given the track conditions, and it’s the first meet of the year. Probably half the kids who went, it was the first meet of their careers.”
May was thrilled with the way his boys performed, though JDHS was a bit shorthanded due to a calculus camp this weekend.
“It will be interesting to see what happens in Ketchikan (April 22-23) when JDHS is at full strength,” he said. “We’ll really see by then if we’re truly that strong. And I think we are.
“The athlete of the meet on the boys’ side was Joshua Jones, who got a school record in the 300-meter hurdles (46.55), and he won the 100 (12.08 seconds) and was third in the 200 (24.50),” May continued. “He just had a great meet and was strong all the way around with 26.5 points total. Donald (Stokes) also was great with 25 points, and he won the 200 (24.50) and long jump (19 feet, 1 3/4 inches).”
Other Thunder Mountain boys’ winners included the Falcons’ 4-x-200 relay team, consisting of Alex Tracy, Keishaun Greene, Ray Jones and Stokes, the team of Nicolas Wright, Khalil English, Wilson Suzuki and Nick Bursell in the 4-x-800 relay, Alex Tracy in the triple jump (39 feet, 10 3/4 inches), and Tyrel Kramp in both the shot put (38 feet, 2 inches) and the discus (97 feet, 4 inches).
“Our sprinters were incredibly strong and deep, which is exciting,” May said.
May felt English, a freshman, was impressive in his first meet. English battled Juneau-Douglas’ Zach Bursell to the wire in the 1,600, with Bursell eking out a 1-second win.
“Khalil was leading that race going into the final turn, and Zach kicked down on him and got him on the line,” May said. “It was a really thrilling race.”
Bursell was the lone winner for JDHS, taking first in both the 1,600 and 3,200 (11:01).
But the JDHS girls fared much better, winning nine events.
Esra Siddeek won the 100 (14.20) and long jump (13 feet, 5 1/2 inches), Marie Holden the 400 (1:11.75), Clancey Cheeley the 800 (2:57.02), Martina Miller the 3,200 (14:03.25), Karissa Jackon the 300 hurdles (58.85) and Jean Cumlat the triple jump (26 feet, 5 inches). The girls also won all four relay events.
May named Katie Jones the Falcons’ top female performer after she finished with a win in the 1,600 (6:40), a second-place finish in the 3,200 (14:04.86), and a second in the 800 (3:02.16) in the first track meet of her career.
“The 1,600 was another epic battle with three kids: Katie, Martina Miller, from Juneau-Douglas, and Sitka’s Justine Webb,” May said. “They were going back and forth and it was tight the whole way. They all charged out of the final turn and Katie ended up getting it in a close one.”
The Falcons’ Evie Walker also picked up a win, taking first in the 200 (31.00), Kimmy Laboca took first in the shot put (27 feet, 7 inches), and Lindsay Buster won the discus with a toss of 77 feet, 10 inches.