Bears run away with Invitational

Leah Francis dominates 3,200, Emily Sharp breaks her own 100 hurdles record

Posted: Sunday, May 02, 2010

This weekend's Juneau Invitational at Thunder Mountain High School was full of personal records, but in the end it was the Crimson Bears who ran away from the competition.

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Klas Stolpe / Juneau Empire
Klas Stolpe / Juneau Empire

One week removed from breaking a 27-year-old school record in the 100-meter hurdles, Juneau-Douglas' Emily Sharp shattered her own record of 15.45 last week at the Skyview Invite with a time of 15.36 on Friday afternoon.

"She's aiming for breaking 15 (seconds) now, so she's really got her mark set high," said JDHS coach Janette Gagnon. "Her form is just looking really nice. She's got some things she could think about and focus on, but she's just having fun and improving her form every day.

"It's really fun to watch."

But Sharp was not the only Crimson Bear with great results as Juneau-Douglas boys' and girls' teams dominated the weekend's events, both placing first overall. JDHS had a total of 25 first-place performances in individual events.

"It's been a sweet day, and this track is just proving itself to be a nice, new, fast track. It's really exciting," said JDHS coach Janette Gagnon. "It's at least the caliber of the (track) they'll run on at state, so it's nice that we're able to have that kind of track."

With a surface built for speed, the Bears took full advantage on their way to 51 personal records. Overall, the girls accounted for 33 PRs while the boys had 28. Sitka followed with in second place overall for both the boys and the girls, and both Haines' teams finished third. The Thunder Mountain boys' team had its best performance of the season with a fourth-place finish, and the girls' team finished in sixth place overall.

Samantha Sharp, the twin sister of Emily Sharp, dominated the 300-meter hurdles on her way to a PR. It was only the second time she had run that particular race all season.

For Thunder Mountain, the PRs continued to pile up after yet another successful week for the young program.

"We had a lot of support, and for it being the first time Juneau-Douglas and Thunder Mountain have co-hosted this, it went great," said Falcons head coach Scott May.

But May was even more happy with the way his young squad performed in front of its home crowd.

"I am thrilled with how they did. They exceeded all expectations," he said. "We had some great placings and they really did well."

Thunder Mountain captain Wilson Suzuki echoed the sentiments May expressed as he and his teammates had their best showings of the season. The Falcons set a total of 53 personal bests.

"I definitely smashed my PR from the mile by over 20 seconds, and as a team we did phenomenal," Suzuki said. "Donald (Stokes) and Sydney (Thorne) did awesome, so did Shayla (Reeves). Everyone was awesome."

As for being in Juneau in front of a home crowd, Suzuki said it was nice to hear the cheers.

"It definitely felt great to see friends and family out here to cheer us on," Suzuki said. "We came into this year not knowing what to expect, but we're setting some standards for next year."

JDHS senior Leah Francis once again showed why few can beat her in long distance events as she defeated her nearest competitor in the 3200-meter run by nearly 42 seconds.

"I always like the home meets best because you don't have to travel, and this track is really nice and springy," she said. "I did better than I have the last two weekends and my back feels good.

"My fitness level is just going to go up from here."

Both Thunder Mountain and Juneau-Douglas will travel to Haines for the final meet of the season next weekend before regionals begin May 14.

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