The unorthodox excitement of the weekend's Haines dual meet was summed up for the Juneau-Douglas High School track and field team when one of their best throwers, Annette Highley, and sprinters, Stacey Arnold, stretched across the finish line in the 1600-meter race neck and neck for fourth place.
The Crimson Bears had their numbers widdled down by illnesses and injuries that were being nursed prior to next weekend's Region V Championships Meet at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Field, but the athletes who made the trip made the most of it by trying their hand at new events against their 3A hosts.
In all, 30 JDHS athletes - 20 girls and 10 boys - established 20 personal records by competing in events for the first time. The Crimson Bears girls still managed to nip the Glacier Bears 60-57 in team points, while the boys took a 69-67 nipping.
Highley's strong finish in her unfamiliar distance race helped her to be named the girls' Athlete of the Meet, while her winning throw of 32 feet in her usual shot put event didn't hurt either. She also placed second in the 100-meter dash in 14.57 seconds and took third in the discus against a strong Haines throwing group.
"The Athlete of the Meet for us this week was a couple of kids who really gutted it out, set some (personal records) and showed good sportsmanship," JDHS co-coach Scott May said. "It wasn't necessarily just the kids that scored the most for us."
Freshman Jesse Miller was the Athlete of the Meet for the JDHS boys after setting a new PR in the long jump of 15"4.5', establishing a PR in the high jump and helping the winning 3200-meter relay squad take first place. Miller was joined on his relay by Eric Schlechter, Ian Andrews and Zach Bursell. Miller helped rack up 10.25 team points for the Bears.
Sophomore Samantha Sharp led the JDHS girls with 15 points, all of which came from individual events. Sharp won both the 300 and 100 hurdle events, with times of 54.48 and 18.11 seconds, respectively. Sharp also won the 200 in 30.14.
First-year athlete and sophomore Marie Holden also had a solid meet for the girls, winning the 400 in 1:08.25 and taking second in the 200. Holden was also a member of the winning 800-meter girls relay team. She was joined in that group by Monica Eldemar, Maya Riefelbach and Emily Sharp.
Sophomore Zach Bursell led the JDHS boys in points after winning all four of his events on the weekend. Bursell won the 1600, 800 and took part in the winning 1600 and 3200 relay squads.
Sophomore Andre Bunton won two events for the JDHS boys, taking the 3200 and 200 in 11:01.42 and 26.50, respectively. Bunton also placed second in both the triple jump and 800.
Senior captain and distance runner Eric Schlechter had a solid meet by placing third in the 100 during his first attempt at the event and also took part in the winning 400 relay team.
Jimmy Nguyen was the only athlete on either JDHS team to pick up two PRs on the weekend, getting his in the 200 and long jump.
The JDHS boys were competing without their top two sprinters at the meet - Jeff Cordle and Josh Smith. The girls were competing without Leah Francis, a three-event reigning state champion, among others. Both squads are expected to be in full force to host the Region V Championships.
Full results were not available as of press time. Please check Wednesday's Empire sports section for those results.