Crimson Bears open with a splash

Cordle, Francis pace respective teams to unofficial sweep in Ketchikan

Posted: Sunday, April 19, 2009

The weather might have been miserable, but the Juneau-Douglas High School track and field team was happy to finally get outside and compete.

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Courtesy Of Herbert Law
Courtesy Of Herbert Law

After spending the preseason training on a small track indoors and having the season delayed twice, the Crimson Bears braved the cold, rain and wind during a dominating performance at the third annual meet at the Fawn Mountain track in Ketchikan Friday and Saturday.

"It's great to be out here on the track finally," assistant coach Guy Thibodeau said. "It's the first time on a full track this year and the kids get to see a little bit about where they're at. It's just kind of a learning curve. We do not expect a whole lot early. It's more of a training meet than anything else."

If expectations were low, the Crimson Bears exceeded them.

Final scores were unavailable as of press time, but the JDHS girls led with 72 points after Friday's events, and continued to clean up Saturday. Sitka had 40 points and Ketchikan had 29. Mount Edgecumbe was in fourth with six and Petersburg in last with three.

The JDHS boys team led with 69 points, while Sitka had 41, Petersburg 14 and Kayhi 11.

"We've got some nice performances out here, and quite a few (personal records), so the kids have really put in the time training, and it's really paying off," Thibodeau said. "I think they're pretty happy about how they've done out here so far, considering pretty cold conditions, battling the wind. It's not conducive to real fast times."

After a solid performance Friday, JDHS athletes continued to earn scores of first place finishes Saturday.

On the girls side, Leah Francis - who earned state titles in the 3200-meter run, as well as the 1600 and 800 last year - smoked the competition in the long races. She finished the 3200, which took place Friday, in 11:55.53. Juneau's Karissa Jackson was the next to finish, with a time of 13:28.41.

Yet, Francis is not satisfied with her times.

"I'm out of shape," Francis said. "I'm not running the times I'm used to running, but it'll get better. I had a rough start," due to pneumonia, the flu and migraine headaches.

Francis also placed first in the 300 hurdles, finishing in 51.06 seconds. But she said she's not concerned about doing well in the hurdles. That event is just for fun.

"I don't go to the practices and I don't know how to do it, so I don't really have any form," Francis said. "I just love doing the hurdles, because I know that my form is so bad it looks funny. So, I just smile when I'm doing them."

Emily Sharp and Samantha Sharp earned JDHS a sweep in the hurdles, with first and second place finishes in the 100 hurdles, finishing in 16.03 and 17.44 seconds, respectively. Samantha Sharp also placed second in the 100 dash, finishing in 14.04 seconds.

Both were members of winning relay teams, as well.

The girls 3200 relay finished in 13:08 and earned first-place points as the only team in the event. With competition, JDHS won the 800 and 400 relays.

The girls also had success in the field events.

Annette Highley earned first in the discus and shot put, while Cassie Orbistando finished first in the triple jump. Alison DeLabruere, who also finished first in the 400 dash, took first in the long jump.

The boys equaled the girls' performance with plenty of first-place finishes of their own.

Jeff Cordle placed first in the 100 dash, finishing in 11.63 seconds, while Josh Smith - who finished first in the 200 dash - finished in 12.12 seconds to earn second place. Both runners cut more than a second off their preliminary times from Friday.

The improvement was more than just hard work or running better.

Runners discovered the blocks were never moved from the 110 hurdles Friday, so the preliminary race of the 100 dash became the 110 dash, inflating runners' times.

"Everybody was like, 'Oh this stinks,'" Cordle said of runners' reactions to their times Friday. "We thought it was because we hadn't really ran full out on the track, that we were just not really used to it, so it made me happy today."

Cordle was seeded second heading into the final, but Kayhi's Austin Meredith - who finished .02 seconds ahead of Cordle in the preliminary race Friday - scratched from Saturday's final due to aggravating a foot injury in the preliminary.

Cordle expressed disappointment about not being able to race Meredith.

"I like kind of being pushed a little bit," Cordle said. "It gives me a little bit more boost, I think, and it sets up a little challenge." But he added, "I feel great about where I'm at."

The sprinter was also the hero of the 400 relay.

JDHS trailed KayHi throughout, but Cordle sprinted past KayHi's Dylan Daniels in the final leg to earn JDHS the win. The boys also won the 800 relay.

Zach Bursell dominated the long races, earning first place finishes in the 1600 run with a time of 4:53.88. He also won the 3200 Friday with a time of 10:18.37. The next closest competitor finished in 11:50.19.

"I also didn't have any competition, so it was more like a time trial today," Bursell said after the 3200. "I just kept thinking the time is what's important today. ... I'm definitely very happy about this time. It's close to my old PR."

The boys also had success in the field events, with Robert Partin earning first in the discus throw and shot put, and Nick Waldo getting first in the triple jump.

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