No Small Feat

Fifty Juneau-Douglas athletes set their personal best

Posted: Sunday, May 06, 2007

The old adage states that records are made to be broken - rewriting the books seemed to be the theme for the 2007 Juneau Invitational Track and Field meet at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park in Juneau.

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More than 50 competitors from the Juneau-Douglas High School track and field team program set new personal bests in this weekend's contests. The results were thrilling to students as well as Juneau head coach Scott May.

"It is pretty impressive to watch so many of our athletes achieving personal records," May said. "That is our main emphasis of the program, and I think that with those kind of results, it really goes to show how well the kids are doing."

In the long distance events, JDHS freshman Leah Francis blistered the rest of the field. Her time in the 3200-meter run was a jaw-dropping 11 minutes, 11.86 seconds, which is the best time in the state so far this season. In the 1600-meter run, Francis won easily again, by a dashing seven-second margin and a state best of time of 5:18.20.

"I just hope that I keep getting faster," Francis said. "Some girls slow down once they reach a certain age, and I hope that I don't."

Another example of improvement is senior Aaron Kearns. This is his first year in the JDHS program, and on Friday his flying leap of 21 feet and ¾ inches landed him directly in the school record books. Kearns broke a record that stood for 22 years and was set in 1975.

"This year I have been working a lot on technique," Kearns said. "Coach Brandon knows all about the form and how to practice. It's mainly about a lot of practice."

JDHS junior long jumper Kristie Ely was looking to break her school record set earlier this year of 16 feet, one inch. Although she did not do that over the weekend, she still won her event with a jump of 15 feet, 10 inches. One of her jumps measured over 17 feet but did not count because she faulted on the take-off.

The Kodiak Bears came to Southeast hungry to tangle with Juneau and in many events seemed to swat the heals out from under the competition.

On Friday, Kodiak's distance specialist Trevor Dunbar walloped everyone including his own personal state best for the year by running the 3200 meter run in 9:21.85 and shattering his old mark by eight seconds.

In Saturday's 1600 meter run, Dunbar's opponents could only maintain his cadence for half of the race, and he cruised easily to victory with a time of 4:21.98. That victory gave him another best time in the state this year.

In the shot put event, Kodiak's junior powerhouse running back Michael Odell awed spectators by heaving the shot a remarkable 49 feet, one-and-a-half inches.

"My best is 50 feet and I was about ten inches under that, but my goal was to hit the snow (that formed the shot put pit boundaries)," Odell said.

Juneau senior Sampson Keeney said watching Odell throw was "pretty cool and a good learning experience."

"I can't say that I am intimidated by Kodiak, but I sure am impressed," Keeney said.

The Bears from Southcentral Alaska dashed to victories in every major relay in the competition except in the Women's 1600 meter relay where the JDHS squad of Evelyn Fisher, Katie Krehlik, Alison Delabruer, and Leah Francis set a state best with a combined time of 4:19.41.

In all, this weekend's meet provided the opportunity for eight participants to break into the state's 2007 top five best list and those results do not include any of the relay team events.

Francis' 30 personal points bested all other women, and she finished the meet with three of the state's best marks.

The weekend was exciting, May said.

"We are real pleased about the results of all the events and great competition," he said. "It was an honor to have Kodiak down here and give us the chance to compete against great athletes like Trevor Dunbar and Alex Weissburg (of Sitka). They really pushed us to do better then ever."

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