Youngsters shine at freshman/sophomore meet

Kott and Hall make school records fall


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Chugiak’s Hali Young, left, and Eagle River’s Brooke Meredith run the freshman/sophomore girls 800 at Bartlett on Saturday, April 28. The event gave underclassmen a chance to compete solely against athletes their own age.

MIKE NESPER

The future of Chugiak and Eagle River High’s track and field programs are in good hands — and legs.

The local schools racked up a combined eight individual first-place finishes in the freshmen/sophomore championships Friday and Saturday, April 27-28 at a still-snowy Bartlett High.

Chugiak’s girls finished second as a team behind West and the boys were seventh. Eagle River’s boys finished fourth and the girls were sixth.

Eagle River sophomores Peter Kott and Ed Hall led the Wolves with two first-place finishes apiece. Kott blazed to victory in the 100- and 200-meter dash.

“Peter’s been a huge surprise,” Eagle River head coach Matt Turner said.

After watching Kott quarterback the Wolves this past season, Turner said he though the sophomore was just “football fast,” more of a shifty runner. But, Turner said, Kott’s proving in his first track season that the speed he uses to elude linebackers on the gridiron is resulting in quality times in the sprinting events.

Kott set a new school record of 11.18 seconds in the 100, which he ran at the Big “C” Relays on April 13-14.

Kott said he was mentally prepared heading into the 100 finals.

“I just got in there and got focused,” he said.

The 200 was the same scenario.

“I just got in there and do what I do,” Kott said.

Another sophomore, Ed Hall, has been a huge help to Eagle River this year, Turner said. Hall broke his own school record in the shot put Friday with a throw of 43 feet, 1 ¾ inches. Hall also won the discus with a hurl of 126 feet, 2 inches — nearly six feet better than East’s Tarini Tosi in second.

“Ed killed at throwing,” Kott said. “He did really good.”

Hall and Kott also run the 4x200 relay with seniors Ricky Ayala and Stephen Wescott. Turner’s hopeful the foursome will make state.

With half of Eagle River’s team made up of freshmen, Turner said, it’s nice to see them race against underclassmen.

“You get to see how they are against other kids in their age group,” he said.

Turner said the Wolves have a sizeable number of sophomores — many new to track — who have been improving all season.

“They’re getting PRs every week,” he said.

Chugiak had three freshmen and a sophomore win gold last week.

With a throw of 88 feet even, freshman Kaitlyn Gallagher won the discus. She took second in shot put.

Freshman Brandy Bookout won high jump with a leap of 4 feet, 10 inches — and nearly cleared the next height, Chugiak head coach Jon Schroeder said.

“She missed 5 foot by a whisper,” he said.

Freshman Rachel Gregg finished first in the triple jump with a jump of 31 feet, 10 ¼ inches.

Sophomore Savannah Nelson won the long jump ahead of fellow Mustang Alicia Reitz in second. For full results, visit www.athletic.net.

Dubbed the “arctic survival meet” by Schroeder, the winter’s record-breaking snowfall made for less-than-ideal conditions at Bartlett. Teams huddled on the bleachers — Chugiak set up a tarp under their tent on the pavement — and no one was allowed on the field. Spectators watched the meet from snow mounds several feet high that surrounded the track along the fence line.

Schroeder said he was proud of the way his team handled the situation.

“They’ve endured this really well,” he said. “Despite the conditions, we’ve had season-best marks today.”

 

Contact Mike Nesper at 694-2727 or mike.nesper@alaskastar.com

 

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