Ignore the Spring Kings, the sunshine barbeques and the marine mammal viewings. Today begins the best spectator activity in Southeast as the Region V Track & Field Championships start two days of competition at Thunder Mountain High School.
“I think there will be many great races this weekend,” TMHS coach Scott May said. “You can expect close ones in many of the events.”
The TMHS Falcons and Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears feature some of southeast’s and the state’s best throwers, runners and jumpers and many of the surrounding communities have a qualified participant or two that can shake up the finishes in both the small and large school events.
“I am most excited to watch Riley (Moser) against Kahlil (English) and James (Steeves) in the distance events,” JDHS coach Janette Gagnon said. “They have been giving us exciting races all season.”
With the weather teasing to be near perfect for event conditions all athletes should be able to perform at their peak.
Today’s action begins with field events.
TMHS’ Nick Bursell has Southeast’s best jump with 5-feet-8-inches along with Haines’ Patrick Henderson. The state’s top mark this season for boys is 6-3.
Ava Tompkins gives the Falcons the best SE girl’s mark with 4-feet-9 (State’s best girl’s mark this season is 5-2) with Sitka’s Melissa Dumag and Nicole Seehafer at 4-6.
Long jump has TMHS’ Brendan Pietz with 18-6.26 (ST 20-8.75) and Ketchikan’s Douglas Cook at 18-5 for boys and Naomi Welling has the fifth best leap in state for the Falcons with 15-even (ST 17) while KTN’s Kaia Michalsen and Yakutat’s Kasia Adams are at 13-4.50.
Sitka’s Chatham Conner is throwing the boy’s shot put 45-1.50 (ST 52-9.50) for fifth best in Alaska while JDHS’ Phillip Fenumiai is at 43-9.50, KTN’s Cody Ring at 42-1.50 and TMHS’ Morgan Nichols at 41-4.50. For girls, Uinise Foo-Chong gives the Falcons a 10th state best with 32-8 (ST 39-1.50), with KTN’s Shawna Nelson at 32-5 and Haines Alisha Young at 30-3.
Perhaps one of the most anticipated runs will be the 3200. Athletes from the 2A, 3A and 4A schools run this event together, meaning the field packs a lot of stamina and kick.
Thorne Bay’s Kaylee Nyquest, the Region V and State small school cross country girl’s champion this season, is the SE favorite with a time of 11:34.00. However, TMHS’ Maddie Hall is one half step behind with 11:37.00 and Petersburg’s Grace Weller is fresh off a Vikings school record with 12:22.54. The state mark is 10:38.93.
The boy’s long run (ST 9:20.40) will be a battle to the tape with TMHS’ English at 10:10.86, JDHS’ Moser at 10:15.09 and the Falcons’ Steeves at 10:19.64.
“These three Juneau runners can easily qualify for state,” JDHS volunteer Greg Frank said. “That last time that this town sent three distance runners to state was 2005 for both the 3200 and 1600. I haven’t seen a distance trio like this in a while.”
Friday will also feature the preliminary heats of the hurdles and dashes and 800 meters.
The girls 100 hurdles are dominated up north (ST 16.29) but PSG’s Weller is leading SE with 18.66 with Yakutat’s Adams at 18.74 and Haines’ Jess Giddings at 18.99. The boys 110 hurdles (ST 14.56) have TMHS’ Joseph Ia hitting the state’s 10-th best time with 16.89 with KTN’s Cook at 17.27 and PSG’s Mizani Rawhani at 17.84.
The girl’s 300 hurdles could be historic. The state’s best time is 46.63 by Dimond’s Taylor Sims. TMHS’ Welling has the second fastest Alaska time this season with 47.04. The Region V record is 47.20, set in 1995 by JDHS’ Sara Parsons. Welling will need pressure to go faster and that has to come from PSG’s Weller (54.92). KTN’s Ricky Voelz with 44.62 and Cook with 44.73 should lead the boy’s field (ST 38.42).
The showcase 100 meter dashes will feature Sitka’s Jon De LaCruz with 12.01 and KTN’s Kelton Thompson at 12.08. JDHS’ Aquino Brinson is at 12.16. The state mark this season for speed is East’s Jakeil Bell at 11.19.
For the girls speedsters (ST 12.84) Alexis Crellin at 13.88 will be challenged by JDHS’ Kaitlin Fagerstrom (14.02), Bernadette Franulovich (14.02) and TMHS’ Welling (14.04), Haines’ Serena Badgley (14.09) and JDHS’ Tianna-Jae Garcia (14.12).
In the 200 meters, KTN’s Thompson (24.27) leads the boys (ST 22.25) and Sitka’s Gabriella Cagle (28.70) the girls (ST 26.04). KTN’s Franulovich (28.96) will challenge. A recent soccer injury to Falcons star sprinter Sammy Haight means that TMHS will not have their top challenger at the wire.
KTN’s Thompson also is the class of SE’s 400 with 53.33 (ST 50.22). Haines’ Keegan Sunburg (55.12) is the toast of the small schools with Sitka’s De LaCruz (55.37) just behind. The girl’s field is KTN’s Crellin (63.62) and JD’s Fagerstrom (64.19) to battle for while TB’s Nyquest (64.74) should handle the small schools. The state’s top mark is 58.56 by Colony’s Audrey Michaelson. The Crellin, Fagerstrom matchup is one of the meet’s most anticipated.
The 800 (ST girls 2:17.98 / ST boys 1:58.31) will be TMHS’ Hall (2:34.22) to win or lose with KTN’s Crellin (2:37.10) and TM’s Estie Dawson (2:37.33) chasing. For the boys, English (2:05.80), Moser (2:11.40) and KTN’s Beau Albertson (2:13.87) should be tight. Skagway’s Airk Cochran (2:10.84) is the class of small schools.
Saturday will feature the finals of the hurdles, 100, 200, 400 dashes and the 800.
Tomorrow also brings the 1600, which like the 3200, combines all schools. For the boys (ST best 4:25.50 by Kodiak’s Levi Thomet) TM’s English (4:41.22), JD’s Moser (4:48.07), Skagway’s Cochran (4:52.23), KTN’s Chris Llanos (4:56.00) and TM’s Steeves (4:56.74) will make a rainbow as their singlets merge across the line.
The girls 1600 (ST 5:07.9, Kenai’s Allie Ostrander) will feature TB’s Nyquest (5:26.00), TM’s Hall (5:32.00) and PSG’s Well (5:57.73) at the front.
Early tomorrow showcases the discus (ST boys 149-8, ST girls 112-2) and triple jump (ST boys 42-0.25, ST girls 33-3.50). Sitka’s Conner (124-2), KTN’s Ring (122-1.50) and TM’s Nichols (116-7) lead the boys sphere, while TM’s Luhrs is throwing the fourth best in Alaska at 103-11 and KTN’s Nelson is sixth best with 101-5.
Triple skippers have TM’s Pietz with a ninth best boys jump in Alaska of 39-0, Haines’ Chris Olsen at 37-2.25 and TM’s Kenny Fox at 36-11.50. Haines’ Badgley is just out of the state’s top ten with a 30-11.25 with Yakutat’s Adams at 30-5 and KTN’s Nelson at 28-2.
Tomorrow’s 3200 relay (ST girls 10:02.75, boys 8:23.95) favors TMHS (11:52.90) team of Danielle Steinman, Dawson, Katie Jones, and Emilyanne Lohrey over KTN’s (12:14.78) Kaitlyn Tighe, Emily Porter, Eimy Anzueto, and Kaia Michalsen. The boys of KTN (9:12.80, Ben Kacenas, Albertson, Voelz, Jacob Guenther) will be challenged by TMHS (9:28.10, Ben Travers, Obadiah Dawson, Michael Lohrey, Steeves) and JDHS (9:33.50, Harrison Bibb, John Elliott, Jestoni Feliciano, Moser).
The 400 relay (ST boys 3:33.50, girls 4:12.98) is a battle with KTN (3:48.71, Albertson, Thompson, Cook, Llanos) the favorite over Haines (3:51.03, Chevy Fowler, Zack Rossman, Walker Blair, Olsen) and JDHS (3:51.41, Penitito Iona, Patrick Benin, Feliciano, Moser); and KTN leads on the girls (4:40.50, Nelson, Franlovich, Crellin, Michalsen) with TMHS (4:52.42) and Sitka (4:57.30) behind.
The 200 relay (ST boys 1:34.49, girls 1:51.64) is TMHS’ (1:38.86, Ben Jahn, Bursell, Steeves, Pietz) to win or lose with JDHS (1:41.79), Sitka (1:43.52) and Haines (1:44.99) to challenge for boys; and TMHS (1:57.64) team of Kay, Luhrs and Welling taking a hit with the loss of teammate Haight, which leaves the door open for JDHS (2:00.24) and KTN (2:06.20).
The premier team speed event will be just after noon, as the 400 relay hits the track (ST boys 44.50, girls 51.25).
For the boys, TMHS (47.34) with Neal Van Tamelen, Ia, Jahn, and Bursell will try to hold off JDHS (48.44) with Justin Miller, Billy Palmer, Brinson, and Iona.
For the girls, the JDHS (56.28) team of Esra Siddeek, Ashley Wittwer, TJ Garcia and Fagerstrom will look to title over TMHS (57.93) squad of Tompkins, Luhrs, Kay and whoever replaces Haight.
“The bottom line is we will not know who is on top until the meet is over,” May said. “You can expect close races in many events and it will come down to who gets more third and fourth place spots as to what will determine the team championships.”
Another feature of this year’s meet will be the selling of blue rubber bracelets for a fundraiser entitled “Bands For Boston.” JDHS alumni Tyler Dinnan was volunteering with timing clocks at the Boston Marathon this year and were near the site of both explosions at some point during the race.
Dinnan’s parents will be collecting contributions at the region meet today (2-5 p.m.) and Saturday (10 a.m.-2 p.m.). The fundraising effort is to support those injured by the bombings. A facebook site is also noted at Https://www.facebook.com/BandsForBoston. For questions go to firstname.lastname@example.org.
See the schedule for the Region V championships on page B1.