When the Juneau-Douglas High School track and field team heads to Sitka
for its season opener this weekend, there will be a lot of new faces
among the Crimson Bears including a new coaching staff.
But there will also be enough familiar faces on the team that the
Crimson Bears are feeling good about their chances to repeat as Region V
champions and improve on their finishes at last year's state meet. The
Juneau girls tied for 12th last year at state and the boys tied for 14th
"We're looking great," said senior hurdler/high jumper/relay runner Alan
Floresca, who is one of Juneau's team captains. "We're doing a lot more
individual workouts in our events. This year we're really strong, we've
got a lot of kids who could be going to state."
"Everyone's excited," said senior high jumper/middle distance runner
Annie Fox, another team captain. "Our coaches are really into this. We
haven't been as teamish as we are this year. Our chemistry is really great."
There's been a complete overhaul of the coaching staff, and this year
Scott May and Ned Clooten are sharing head coach duties with assistant
coach Jared Smith helping out. Juneau lost several seniors to graduation
from last year's team, but most of Juneau's top state-meet scorers are
back and there's a lot of new blood on the team.
"We've got a real strong freshman class," May said. "Sitka will be kind
of a test run for us. I don't really know anything about the other
Southeast teams, but this weekend we'll find out how we measure up.
We're not trying to peak at Sitka, it's just part of the process to the
end of the season."
"This has been a good turnout," senior captain and distance runner Jesse
Stringer said. "We've been pretty faithful at about 40 people in
workouts. We had a lot of people working out in the preseason."
After this weekend's meet in Sitka (which won't have any hurdles
events), Juneau will head to the Skyview Invitational on April 26-27,
will host the Juneau Invitational on May 3-4, then heads to Haines on
May 10-11. Juneau hosts the Region V meet on May 17-18 at Adair-Kennedy
Memorial Park, and this year's state meet is May 24-25 at Anchorage's
Bartlett High School.
"We're excited," said Juneau junior distance runner Molly Krehlik, the
only non-senior team captain this year. "We're going to be at a meet
every week this season. Last year we had breaks in between."
The Crimson Bears will be led junior Loreen Tupou, who won the state
title in the discus last year with a throw of 110 feet, 10 inches and
finished eighth in the shot put. Tupou didn't join the track team until
midway through the season last year, and she said she's already ahead of
last year's pace even though her knee has been bothering her a bit.
"I just did some lifting," Tupou said when asked what her offseason
program. "I think I've gained 23 feet in the discus. My PR (personal
record) in the shot put has gone from 32 to 36 feet. I'm kind of going
for the state record now (143-2 in discus), but I don't know if I'll get
it. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to pick up where I left off."
Juneau's other top female returners from last year's state meet include
Krehlik (fifth in the 3,200 meters, ninth in the 1,600), junior Rachel
Chenoweth (fifth in the 300 low hurdles) and senior Claire Martin (15th
in the 400). Senior Emily Krehlik returns from two of Juneau's four
state relay teams, while Martin, Chenoweth and Molly Krehlik return off
one relay team each.
The boys state meet returners include Stringer (fourth in the 1,600,
11th in the 800), Floresca (12th in the 110 high hurdles) and Stephen
Perry (12th in the 200). Perry and Floresca were also on both of
Juneau's state relay teams.
Other female members of the track team include senior distance runner
Jessica Mikesell, senior middle distance runner Brittany Rohm, senior
thrower Beatriz Muse, senior distance runner Heidi Denton, junior middle
distance runner Meghan DeSloover, junior distance runner Phoebe
Rohrbacher, junior middle distance runner Stephanie Orsi (who is also on
the soccer team), sophomore jumper Jo Marshall, sophomore sprinter
Mikaela Rodriguez (another soccer player), sophomore distance runner
Nina Schwinghammer, sophomore distance runner Tiara Padron, freshman
sprinter Heather Bennett and freshman jumper Meghan Kyle.
On the boys team, the other Crimson Bears are senior distance runner
Gabe Hayden, senior Bob Hirsch (who is in Seattle being treated for
leukemia), senior middle distance runner Federico Milanetti, senior
jumper Greg Albrecht, senior thrower Jonathan Moore, senior distance
runner Brian Nowlin, senior runner Michael Partlow (who is now team
manager because of an injury), senior thrower Sione Tupou, junior
sprinter Adam Fleek, junior distance runner/hirdler William Horton,
junior middle distance runner Alex Marvel, junior thrower Robert
Vicario, junior sprinter/hurdler David Liliedahl, junior sprinter Eric
Lund, sophomore distance runner Tim Davin, sophomore thrower Nathan
Foster, sophomore sprinter Phil Morin, freshman distance runner Bryce
Iverson, freshman distance runner Tristan Knutson-Lombardo, freshman
jumper Michael Kasten, freshman thrower Alika Bradley, freshman sprinter
Joe Manning, freshman sprinter Kyle Russell and freshman runner Mike Grimes.
"I think things are working great," Loreen Tupou said. "We've got a lot
of new people, but they're fitting in, and our coaches are great."
Charles Bingham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.