The Thunder Mountain High School track & field team swept the boys and girls 4A championships on Saturday.
The Falcons outscored Ketchikan and Juneau-Douglas 85-61-28 on the girls side and 68-57.5-45.5 for the boys, respectively.
“Some things went our way for sure,” Thunder Mountain coach Scott May said. “We got lucky on a relay that Ketchikan DQ’d and we had some top runs.”
TMHS sophomore Naomi Welling set the region record in the 300 hurdles, topping her old record of 46.56, with a 45.68 (the states best this season) and the triple jump (36’1” by Haines’ Mary Hertz in 1987) with a leap of 36-feet, 5-and-3/4 inches. The mark is also the sixth longest jump in state history.
“Feels amazing,” Welling said. “Trying to take this one event at a time.”
Welling also won the 100 meter hurdles (a state best 15.49) and anchored the 4x400 relay for the first time.
“I am really excited about this event because I haven’t done it before,” Welling said of the relay. “It is a learning process and every time I get to run it, I like it more. I felt like I got out of the blocks fast in the 100 hurdles as well.”
Teammate Estie Dawson finished second in both the 100 (18.51) and 300 hurdles (49.96).
“It helps to run with Naomi,” Dawson said. “She is a really great teacher. It is really fun.”
TMHS Junior Maddie Hall also took four events, the 800 (2:27.64), 1600 (5:11.78) and 4x400 relay (4:19.84) on Saturday and the 3200 (11:07.56) on Friday.
Each event was a long run in the heat and the combined 1A/2A/3A/4A 1600-meters saw Hall pull out a kick half way through in a duel with Thorne Bay’s Taylee Nyquest.
“It beats snow, that’s for sure,” Hall said. “I wasn’t too sure what to expect for this race. My legs were feeling really tired when I woke up this morning so I thought, ‘Go do what I can.’ I am just trying to do my part on the team by getting points and cheering my teammates on.”
The Falcons’ Ava Tompkins won the first event of the championships, the girls high jump, winning with a 4’10” bar.
“I feel really good,” Tompkins said. “That was my personal record. I haven’t jumped that ever, so that was really cool. I also beat my school record and get to go to state.”
Ketchikan’s Douglas Cook won the boys 110 meter hurdles (16.51).
“It wasn’t bad, I kind of messed up on a few of them,” Cook said. “I am just glad that I won so I can go to state. This takes a lot of practice every day and a lot of stretching. If you stretch right before a race for these, it will help you get your leg up righ,t so you can get over perfectly. I love track. It is a great team sport and I would do it all year round if I could.”
JDHS’ Kiko Iona nipped Kayhi’s Theo McBurnette in the boys 100-meter dash, taking aN 11.71 to 11.72 edge at the finish.
“Barely got him,” Iona said. “We were next to each other. I didn’t think I was going to make it. I usually just have fun before the race and then when it comes I just focus. I am so excited.”
McBurnette would return the favor in the 200-meter dash, earning a 23.68 to 23.81 win over Iona and setting a personal best time.
“You just have to be more prepared for it,” McBurnette said of the longer sprint in the heat. “I had to hydrate and get more awake. I am really excited to go to state. I want to do the best I can to represent Ketchikan and Kayhi.”
Ketchikan had a strong showing by girls speedster Bernadette Franulovich, who won the 100 meters in 13.24 over TMHS’ Aly Heaton (13.51) and Rikki Price (14.31), JDHS’ Arianna Hintermeister (13.97) and Rachel Rivers (14.48), and Kayhi teammate Alexis Crellin (13.75).
“It was hard,” Franulovich said. “It was tough, we have a lot of competition with Thunder Mountain and Juneau. They are really good right now. This weather is fabulous. I love it, personally, you couldn’t ask for anything better.”
Franulovich also won the 200 meters in 27.63 and led the 4x200 and 4x400 relays that finished as runners-up.
JDHS won the 4x200 with Hintermeister, Toma Kimlinger, Rivers and Abigail VandenBer,g while TMHS took the 4x400 with Krysten Mossburg, Heaton, Hall and Welling.
TMHS’ Rikki Price anchored the new school record for the Falcons in the 4x100 (54.73).
“I feel good,” Price said. “It feels amazing to get this win. Our team is amazing.”
VandenBerg won the 400 in 1:02.84 for the JDHS girls and Alex Iliev won the boys for TMHS in 53.38.
“I am glad that it is over,” VandenBerg said. “Only one minute of your life, even if it is a hard one. I think that we are running for ourselves but we are also a team and I think that team camaraderie is really what motivates me.”
TMHS’ Joe Paden threw the discus 145’9” for the win and finished second to teammate Morgan Nichols in the shot (43’03” to 41’09”). Paden stayed in the throwing cage long after the event, practicing his form.
“I am a little disappointed I did not get the region record,” Paden said. “But it was a good day. It is a little hot out, I was kind of tired. I am hoping to get a better throw at state but I will satisfy my mind. I have to get my right back leg and hip into it, it has been too much arm.”
Teammate Cheyenne Ekis set a school record in the girls shot with 34’8.5” and Kayhi’s Shawna Nelson won the discus with a 117’4” over favorite Jenna Luhrs of TMHS.
“Shawna’s first throw was 113 and I have never thrown that far in a meet, so right away I was really nervous,” Luhrs said. “My last throw I was able to do 106, which qualifies for state, so I will just focus on next week.”
TMHS’ Kenny Fox won the boy’s 300 hurdles, nipping Kayhi’s 100-hurdle champion Douglas Cook (16.51), 44.60 to 44.65.
“Stay with him, that is what was going through my mind,” Fox said. “I knew it was going to be a close race to the end. He was my goal and I was glad to race him. This is a hard event and sort of fun.”
JDHS’ Riley Moser won the 800 (2:07.39), 1600 (4:47.60) and 3200 (10:29.59) meter runs.
“The sun was the hardest part,” Moser said of Friday’s 3200 win. “And the wind. It was really warm. After the first mil,e I started to feel it. I think about the river and the water I get to jump in after.”
Moser also anchored the 3200 relay, nearly making up half a lap to catch Ketchikan anchor Christopher Llanos as the Crimson Bears fell 8:52.81 to 8:53.44.
“I could hear him coming,” Llanos said. “I knew I had to really pump and get into it. I just had to go harder. I am excited and happy we are going to state.”
The last race of the 2014 state championships was also the last of long-time race starter Robert Sowers, who fired the starter’s gun for the final boys 1A/2A/3A/4A 1600-relay.
Sowers said this meet was his most memorable.
“Yeah, I guess because it is the last one,” Sowers said. “Just watching all the kids through the years. I ran when I was in high school (Philo High School in Ohio), so it is just one of those things I like to do, come out and watch the kids run.”
The 4A region V track and field results are on page B3.