Track athletes battle through chilly conditions

Monday, May 14, 2018 - 23:12
  • Chugiak’s Lincoln Oldham soars into the air during the boys’ long jump competition during a four-team track and field meet at Service High on Friday, April 27, 2018. Oldham won the event, helping the Chugiak boys to a team victory over Eagle River, Service and Bartlett. (Matt Tunseth/Alaska Star)
  • Runners leave the startling line of the girls’ 1,600 meter run at the Service quad meet on Friday, April 27, 2018 at Service High. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Chugiak’s Adrianna Proffitt runs in the 800 meter race at the Service quad meet on Friday, April 27, 2018 at Service High. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Chugiak’s Brooklynn Gould crosses the finish line in first place for Chugiak’s winning 4X200 meter relay
  • Chugiak’s Lindsey Gerlach collapses into the arms of teammate Breanna Day after both finished the 1,600 meter run at the Service quad meet on Friday, April 27, 2018 at Service High. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Chugiak’s Sam lily hands off to teammate Justin Davis during the boys’ 4X200 meter relay at the Service quad meet on Friday, April 27, 2018 at Service High. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Chugiak’s Emma Nelson takes the baton from teammate Alexus Babb during the girls’ 4X200 meter relay at the Service quad meet on Friday, April 27, 2018 at Service High. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Teams from Eagle River, Chugiak, Bartlett and Service competed at the Service quad meet on Friday, April 27, 2018 at Service High. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth) Teams from Eagle River, Chugiak, Bartlett and Service competed at the Service quad meet on Friday, April 27, 2018 at Service High. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Eagle River’s Ben Hamilton prepares to throw the shot during the Service quad track and field meet on Friday, April 27, 2018 at Service High. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Chugiak’s Hyrum Nelson leads the field in the boys’ 1,600 meter run at the Service quad meet on Friday, April 27, 2018 at Service High. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Chugiak’s Lincoln Oldham leaps into the air during the boys’ long jump event at the Service quad meet on Friday, April 27, 2018 at Service High. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Eagle River’s Mason Wadsworth races to victory in the boys’ 300 meter hurdles at the Service quad meet on Friday, April 27, 2018 at Service High. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Chugiak’s Matthew Keller throws the shot during the Service quad meet on Friday, April 27, 2018 at Service High. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Chugiak’s Michael Earnhart, left, and Eagle River’s Carter Gladwill jockey for position during the boys’ 1,600 meter race at the Service quad meet on Friday, April 27, 2018 at Service High. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Chugiak’s Reilly Hall, left, and Eagle River’s Anna Ripp leave the starting blocks during the girls’ 4X200 meter relay at the Service quad meet on Friday, April 27, 2018 at Service High. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)

Ice fishing tents dotted the infield at Service High School, where athletes and coaches battled to keep from freezing in the always challenging springtime track and field conditions.

“I’d love to say we’re Alaskans and we need to be tough, but you worry about quads, you worry about hamstrings,” said Chugiak head coach Melissa Hall.

Along with the portable pop-up tents, athletes bundled inside winter parkas and sleeping bags to ward off the cold. Coaches like Hall said they continually stress the importance of keeping warm during early season outdoor meets.

“They’re just warming up extra long,” she said.

Eagle River coach Matt Turner said that’s not always an easy message to get across to teenagers who feel they’re invincible.

“Just because you feel warm doesn’t mean your muscles are warm,” he said.

Working to make sure athletes are ready to compete is coaches’ top concern this time of year.

“We really keep an eye on it,” Turner said.

Chugiak distance runner Hyrum Nelson, who won the 1,600 meter run and finished second in the 800, said he wore “a bunch of layers” to keep warm at Service. He and his teammates also spent plenty of time taking slow jogs around the turf infield.

“If the race is short you do a longer warm-up,” he said.

Nelson said the toughest part of Friday’s meet was the wind, which hammered runners every time they hit the backstretch.

“It was brutal,” said Nelson, who nonetheless turned in a personal-best time of 4 minutes, 30.26 to win the 1,600 by almost 19 seconds over Eagle River’s Carter Gladwill.

Chugiak swept the four-team meet, which included Eagle River, Service and Bartlett. The CHS boys got individual wins from Jeremiah Wilson in the 100 meters, Charlie Latimer in the 800, Ryan Winborg in the discus and Lincoln Oldham in the long jump. Mason Wadsworth won the high jump and both hurdles races for fourth-place Eagle River.

Brooklynn Gould won the triple jump and both hurdles races for the Chugiak girls, who got two individual wins from Emma Nelson (long jump, 400 meters) and one from Adrianna Proffitt (1,600). Emily Walsh won the 800 and 1,600 for third-place Eagle River, which also got a win from Elizabeth Ruehle in the high jump.

Freshmen and sophomores from both Chugiak and Eagle River will compete Friday and Saturday, May 4-5 at the annual Frosh/Soph meet at Dimond High. There will be a “Last Chance” meet at West, with the Palmer Relays set for May 11-12. The Region meet is May 18-19, with state scheduled for May 25-26 in Palmer.

For complete results, visit athletic.net.

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