Mirror Lake wins City Track Championship
The Mirror Lake Coyotes track and field team rode the wave of impressive relay team finishes to place first in the district-wide City Championships concluding May 8.
The championships, the first time for athletes from all 11 schools to confront one another, was divided into three portions for running preliminaries, field championships and running finals at three different venues including the field finals, hosted by Mirror Lake.
Coyote coach Mitch Tarter said the team secured 92 points in relay points alone.
“That has to be a school record,” he said. Official results had not been posted through the weekend as coaches scrambled to announce team scores to their teams by Monday.
Speaking of records, two relatively strong marks were stricken down, thanks to local athletes.
Mirror Lake seventh-grade Sophia Lestina broke a four-year record in the triple jump, with a leap of 31 feet, 11-1/2 inches, eclipsing the mark of now graduating senior Rachel Gregg of Chugiak. Lestina had recorded a jump of 33 feet, 5.5 inches earlier this season. Lestina also won the 100m and placed second in the 200m.
The Gruening eighth-grade boys team of Michael Altenbury, Randol Denny, Michael Thomas and Michael Maddox broke an eight-year 1,600m relay mark, previous held by Mirror Lake including standout runner Ethan Hewitt and previously thought to be invincible.
Gruening 8th grade boys also placed first in the 800m relay, with Altenburg and Denney teaming up with Daniel Foshee and Joseph Groth. The Colts won the 7th grade boys 1,600m relay with members Jared Heaston, Cordell Johnson, Darnyell Parker and Dylan West.
Other top finishes for Gruening included: Geena Graf, discus, 8th; Jack Smith, shotput, 7th; Derryk Snell, shot, 8th; Morgan Bolin, hurdles, 7th; Michael Maddox, 400m, 8th; and Chris Robinson-Merrill, triple jump, 8th grade.
Gruening coach Rachel Wall said the school’s 8th-grade boys squad was particularly amazing, led by Michael Maddox, 1st in the 400m, second in the 1,600m and the anchoring the record-setting 1,600m relay.
“We are all sad to see them leave, but excited to see what they accomplish in high school. I’m sure I’ll be seeing some of their names in the paper in the future,” she said.
Wall is also excited about those seventh-graders who can return for next year.
“I have a feelings we’ll be strong again in the 1,600m relay, the middle distance and throwing events. That’s where we tend to do our best,” she said.
Wall said the team is susceptible to losses due to military moves.
“Unfortunately we will be losing some of our strongest competitors as they are being relocated,” she said, a byproduct of having a student population that is 60 percent or more military based.
“I couldn’t be more proud of how our team pulls together and accomplishes such great things,” Wall said.
Mirror Lake coach Mitch Tarter said he was pleased with how the Coyotes, unbeaten in their four regular meets, stepped it up against their unknown competitors.
“Everyone brought it up a notch. Those seeded fifth or sixth, down to a third or fourth; those third and fourth, won events,” he said.
Mirror Lake’s team strength was particularly evident on the girls’ side with the seventh and eighth-grade providing nearly two-third the school’s total. In fact, just those two teams combined would have provided enough points to outdistance Mears, the overall second-best school.
Seventh-grader Sophia Lestina won the triple jump and 100m and classmate Max Hartke placed first in the 800m, and second in the 1,600m, to help the Coyotes to an overall team title.
Notable individual winners included: Luke Mouracade, 800m, 7th; Ashton Lekites, hurdles, 7tyh; Skylar Harth, 100, 8th; Rebekah Smith, triple jump, 8th; Austen Brewer, long jump, 7th; Emmy Nelson, long jump, 8th; Harry Turner, long jump, 8th.
Overall team scores – 1. Mirror Lake, 494 points; 2. Mears, 303; 3. Romig, 251; 4. Gruening, 239; 5. Hanshew, 204; 6. Goldenview, 181; 7. Central, 146; 8. Begich, 133; 9. Clark, 88; 10. Wendler, 59; 11. Girdwood, 36.
By grade (ML and Gruening only); 7th girls – 1. ML, 158; 4. Gru, 46; 7th boys – 3. ML, 68; 5. Gru, 53; 8th girls – 1. ML, 162; 9. Gru, 23; 8th boys – 1. Gru, 117; 2. ML, 106.