With the spring regular season winding down, all five Juneau-Douglas High School sports teams face critical games and events this weekend.
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The boys and girls track teams can wrap spots in the state tournament, as can both soccer teams. Meanwhile, the baseball and softball teams host key games this weekend.
As for the Crimson Bears' track and field team, the season takes off and ends as quickly as a 100-meter dash.
JDHS hosts the Region V Championships at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park. Friday's action starts at 2 p.m. with the starter's gun will fire at 10 a.m. Saturday.
The region tournament represents an opportunity for athletes to punch their ticket for the state tournament in Fairbanks on May 19-20. The criterion is easy enough - win the event, qualify for state.
If not, athletes must sweat it out until May 15 to see if their regional performance is one of the weekend's top 10 in the state.
The boys team should qualify a number of athletes at this weekend's meet.
Tyler Dinnan currently holds the state's best time in the 1,600 at 4 minutes, 21.1 seconds and is coming off a victory over South Anchorage's David Bondi in the 800 in Kodiak.
Wesley Dinnan holds the state's second best time in the 3,200, and should advance to state without much trouble.
While the Dinnan twins should cruise to victory, the rest of the boys must not be overlooked. Justin Jones and Hunter Brown may give JDHS an intimidating distance team at the state championships if they continue their recent improvements
Ben Schlechter is starting to come around in the sprints while Erik Mason set a personal record of 40 feet in the triple jump last weekend.
For the girls, the team comes into the Region V meet boasting talent in a variety of events.
Sophomore distance runner Katie Krehlik is starting to come into her own. In addition to her remarkable physical ability, Krehlik is maturing into a heady runner able to devise and follow a game plan in the distance events.
Krehlik swept the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 runs in Kodiak and may be peaking in the right time.
With Krehlik and Leigh Miller holding down the distance races, freshman Kristie Ely is rapidly becoming a force in the jumping events.
After dabbling with the events in middle school, Ely has quickly blossomed into the team's top athlete in the long jump and triple jump. If Ely can continue her surprising start, she may be headed to the state tournament with a chance to place.
Senior Lexi Garvey will compete in the shot put and discus while Evelyn Fisher, fresh off two victories in Kodiak, will look to continue her recent form in the sprints.
Heidi Calderwood will race in the sprints and relays while Jordan Harvey and Kaitlin Niewoehner will give JDHS depth in the hurdles.
Also at Adair-Kennedy, the JDHS baseball team will host the second of three important four-game sets with Southeast Conference rivals Sitka and Ketchikan.
Last weekend the Crimson Bears (8-2) took two from the Kings and lost a pair to the defending state champion Wolves.
One of the keys to the squad's recent success has been speed. Senior leadoff hitter Derrick Listberger is always a threat to score when he gets on base while Joe Kohan, Pedro Mojica, Andrew Hall, Nano Jacobson and Buzz Ward are all capable of providing key hits.
The three squads will play again next weekend in Sitka before coming back to Juneau for the inaugural Southeast Conference tournament at the end of May.
Over at Melvin Park, the Juneau-Douglas High School softball team will look to keep its undefeated season in tact by hosting Lathrop and Ketchikan starting Friday.
The two-time defending state champion Crimson Bears (9-0) have outscored opponents by a ridiculous 83-6 so far.
Pitchers Andrea Doerflinger, Madison Massey and Katie Laliberte have been nearly untouchable. When opponents do hit the ball, the middle of the infield has been exceptionally strong as shortstop Torie Powers, second baseman Hannah Barril and centerfielder Alycia Cox have been steady.
BOYS AND GIRLS SOCCER
In Ketchikan, the JDHS boys and girls soccer teams will finish the regular season with games against the Kings.
The mission is very clear for both teams. All the Crimson Bears need to do is earn at least a tie in one of the two games to qualify for the state tournament.
The Crimson Bears girls team (11-0-2) has been nearly impenetrable this season. JDHS has allowed only three goals all year while scoring 55 times.
Leading the defense are fullbacks Kristin Jorgensen and Jordan Cottingham. That duo, along with defenders Talisa Rhea and Rachel Tarver and goalkeeper Kayla Walton, not only stop opposing offensive rushes, they kickstart Juneau's dangerous transition game.
With lightning-quick wing players, intelligent midfielders in Jessy Post and Gretchen Dierking and the lethal striking ability of Sarah Christianson and Margaret Sekona, JDHS appears poised for a state championship run.
In addition to regular stars, a number of injuries has forced other players into the limelight. Normal reserves Brittany Lehnhart, Michaela Goade, Audrey Wagner and Clarissa Suson gives Juneau-Douglas the depth to wear opponents down.
The JDHS boys team (8-6-2) is looking to regain its swagger after a rough couple of trips up north.
After starting the season 7-2-1, the Crimson Bears have dropped four of their last six games.
For JDHS to right the ship, the team regain its scoring touch. The Crimson Bears scored eight goals in their last seven games.
Despite their recent troubles, however, the team boasts enough firepower to turn things around in a hurry. Players like Dylan Ashe, Jamaal Bailey, Colin Flynn, Dominic Smith and Eric Gullufsen possess the necessary flair and athleticism to score at any time.
If JDHS wins both games against Ketchikan, expect to see the team's confidence soar as it heads to next weekend's state tournament.
Tim Nichols, sports editor, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org