Less than a week into the 2013 track and field season, Chugiak High was literally hundreds of miles ahead of the pack.
The Mustangs held a fundraiser March 8-9 where at least one athlete ran on the school’s indoor track for 24 consecutive hours. Twenty-one Chugiak runners racked up a combined 2,170 laps — nearly 200 miles. Ty Jordan’s 305 laps — more than a marathon — were the most by any individual.
The Mustangs far exceeded head coach Jon Schroeder’s goal of 1,600 laps.
“I’m really proud of these kids,” he said.
The team and coaches created the new fundraiser, which brought in about $2,000.
“We all wanted to do something running related,” senior Nathan Dennis said.
As the event neared its end Saturday afternoon, fatigue started to set in, said Dennis, who was one of 12 tracksters that stayed the entire 24 hours.
“We’re all a little bit loopy,” he said.
Those who weren’t running played basketball and ping-pong on the gym floor — which also served as sleeping quarters.
“It’s surprising how soft wood feels at 2 a.m.,” Dennis said.
The even also served as a way to bring the team closer, Dennis said.
“It’s good team bonding,” he said. “It’s definitely a night you’re going to remember.”
Schroeder said he’d like to continue the fundraiser in the future.
“I’m hoping it’s something that might become a tradition,” he said.
Some of the funds will go toward sending 11 Mustangs to the Oregon Relays in Eugene, Ore., on April 19-20.
Those that are headed Outside will miss prom, but their commitment is indicative of the new mindset of Chugiak track, Schroeder said.
“That attitude is changing,” he said.
As of last week, 67 were on the team. Out of the 28 Mustangs who qualified for state last year, Tyler Rohde had the most success.
The senior set a new state record in the 110-meter hurdles, won the 300 hurdles, helped Chugiak’s 4x400 relay team to victory and was named 4A boys Most Outstanding Athlete of the meet.
Seniors Chris Kveseth and Dane Prince are two other returners who placed at state last season. Kveseth took fourth in the 400, was part of the winning 4x400 relay and teamed up with Prince to place second in the 4x200 relay.
On the girls side, senior Malia McVee took third in discus at state after winning the Cook Inlet Conference title as a junior.
Sophomores Rachel Gregg (fifth in long jump) and Brandy Bookout (fifth in 400) also placed at state for Chugiak last year. Gregg and Bookout joined Kelly McBride and Victoria Bensel on the sixth-place 4x200 team while Bensel, Hannah Bolin and Kenzie Matthis placed sixth in the 4x100 relay.
The season’s first meet, The Scramble, will be held Friday and Saturday, March 15-16 at the Dome.
Contact Mike Nesper at 694-2727 or [email protected].