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Numbers, experience bode well for Falcons' track team

Posted: April 3, 2012 - 12:01am

The Thunder Mountain High School track and field team is expecting to contend for a region championship. The Falcons have over 64 athletes turning out this season, up from 52 last year, and a coaching staff with a combined 67 years of experience.

Former Yakutat head coach Alex Souza is instructing High Jump & Hurdles.

TMHS Physical Education Teacher, and former track athlete, Tina Lee brings over 20 years of experience to the sprints and jumps.

Jim Kearns brings 29 years of great results in the throwing events.

Scott May oversees the program as head coach and works with the distance and relay groups. May has coached several state champions and guided the 2005 JDHS team to a State Championship Title.

The Falcons have reached out to the community this season for additional support and have a number of individuals working with the program. These include personal trainer and certified Coach Brian Gwaltney; throwing expert Lorna Wilson; Triple Jump master Stuart Tracy and Hurdle expert Kari Tupou.

“The four of these individuals have added a very important element to the program,” May said. “They have brought a very high quality of expertise and practical experience to each discipline.”

The Falcons’ boys are coming off an undefeated regular season last year. Despite losing many of their top scorers to graduation the team has depth again with 47 athletes.

Alex Tracy and Chris Luna, who have been pushed by the likes of Landon Johnson, Nick Bursell, Joe Ia, Skyler Nakachi and Kenny Fox, will be the base around which the Falcons replace three of the four athletes from last season’s state runner-up 4x100 relay. The boys distance group is led by Khalil English, James Steeves and Hugh Watts. They have a great group of distance runners who continue to grow and improve every year.

Tracy is also looking to improve on last season’s state runner-up mark in the triple jump.

The throwing group will be competitive and deep, with Rainer Cava and Ethan Kramp returning to lead a large group of eager first year athletes including Austin Thomas, Rick Johnson, Jimmy Busch, Garrette Reece, Kevin O’Neal-Smith, Brock Cary and Taylor Edwards.

The Falcons have only 17 girls this season.

“Don’t let the small number fool you though,” May said. “As we will definitely see some of these athletes qualify for the State Meet this year.”

The Falcons lost top scorers Melissa Fisher and Sydney Thorne, but have sprinters Evie Walker, Shayla Reeves, and Shale Kibby back and talented freshmen Sammy Haight.

The TMHS girls are strong in the throws again this year, with Kibby and Keely Pearson returning and sophomore phenom Jenna Luhrs joining the mix this year. The Falcons distance group, led by Katie Jones, Ashlynn Kay and Emily Anne Lohrey will have some new company as well this year with sophomore Estie Dawson, and freshmen Maddie Hall and Daniel Steinman pushing them.

“Our philosophy is to be smart,” May said. “Academics first, health, sleep and nutrition, train hard, have fun, and see what happens.”

Thunder Mountain will host a one-day duel meet with JDHS this Saturday at Falcons’ Field. Starting time to be determined.

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