The Crimson Bears girls and boys track and field teams each ran away with first place at the Juneau Invitational this weekend.
More than 200 athletes from 10 high schools participated in a uniquely Southeast Alaska competition at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park on Friday and Saturday.
"The most important thing about this meet is we allow everybody to participate that is eligible to participate," said Juneau-Douglas High School coach Scott May. "That's one real important aspect of the meet."
Both Crimson Bears teams had a number of first place finishes in individual and team events, but more importantly, according to May, they set personal records.
"I don't really focus on those points. We look at personal records, that's kind of our philosophy," he said. "When I look at the success of a meet, I judge it based on the number of kids that we have that have achieved their personal records. And we had a number of those in this meet and they come out in the scores."
Two of these personal records were also school records, and two relay teams missed school records by mere fractions of a second. Tristan Knutson-Lombardo reset his school record in the 3,200 meters with a first-place time of 9:35.42, while Tyler Dinnan reset his school record and won the 800 with a winning time of 2:00.1.
"This is the only time that everyone in Southeast gets to run on a rubber track together," Dinnan said. "So as far as times go, this is probably the most indicative meet of the year for Southeast."
Knutson-Lombardo, the defending state champion in the 1,600, said this meet gave the team a chance to size up the competition.
"It's kind of like the pre-regional sneak peak, so we get to see how everyone else is doing," he said. "Everybody's giving 110-percent like they always do, so it makes it more fun that way."
Having Kodiak come down for the meet also give the Bears a chance to see the level of competition ouside of the Southeast, Knutson-Lombardo added.
"Certainly Juneau's a powerhouse so they've got good guys in every event," Kodiak coach Marcus Dunbar said. "I like the number Sitka has and Ketchikan has some really good athletes and it's just good to see a different variet of people than we are used to seeing in Region 3 where we're from."
The meet was filled with highlights and strong performances by numerous athletes.
Heather Bennett took first place for the Crimson Bears in the 100 and 400, and was on the winning 800 and 1,600 relay teams. JDHS freshman standout Katie Krehlik won both the 3,200 and 1,600.
Mike Bickmore took first place in the triple jump for the Crimson Bears. He also captured the long jump with a personal record of 19 feet, 10 inches, which placed him in the top five in the state.
Levi Benning took first for JDHS in the 110 meter and 300 meter hurdles and was on the winning 1,600 and 3200 relay teams. Josh Lehauli took first place in the shot put and the discus for Juneau.
Bennett said this year's team has a lot of potential, but they're also having a fun time.
"Our sportsmanship is just excellent this year," she said. "Everyone is cheering for everyone, finishing their races and cheering for everybody else. So we're doing really good."
"That's something that we stress and we value, sportsmanship," said May. "There's so much more to athletics and track and field than winning. We win and lose with class."
Juneau is looking to set more personal records and possibly school records at their next meet on May 6 and 7 in Haines.
"We definitely want to get some more school records. That's where a lot of people are heading, a lot of relays, a lot of individuals," said Knutson-Lombardo. "And then come state, a couple teams are looking at state records. A couple of people are looking at state records too. We have some good athletes this year."
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