Local tracksters excel at conference meet
It’s a good thing Samantha Brown lives in Anchorage.
The Eagle River High senior went home — thinking her day at the Cook Inlet Conference Track and Field Championships was over — when she received a call from head coach Matt Turner.
“You have 20 minutes to get back here.”
After Shayna Wolery sustained an injury, Eagle River’s 4x400 relay needed Brown to run the first leg. She made it back to Dimond Alumni Field 10 minutes before the meet’s final race Saturday, May 11.
“I just drove here as fast as I could,” Brown said.
The last-minute substitution didn’t change the end result.
The Wolves’ relay (Brown, Jordyn Bruce, Allonna Walker, Nikki Boggs), which was ranked No. 1 in the state on www.athletic.net heading into the meet, won in 4 minutes, 15.36 seconds.
“That was awesome,” Brown said. “It was a good feeling.”
Eagle River’s girls won four conference titles and finished second in the team standings with 100 points behind first-place Dimond with 143. Chugiak’s girls finished fifth with 71 points.
The Lynx also won the boys title with 131 points, ahead of Chugiak (87) and Eagle River and East, who tied with 72 apiece.
The Wolves’ 4x800 relay (Kate Mondl, Bruce, Walker, Hannah Stevens) also punched their ticket to state with a time of 9:59.67, nearly five seconds ahead of second-place West.
“We were one second off the school record,” Mondl said. “We figure we’ll get it next week.”
The first-place finishers from each region and the next best 12 times/distances statewide earn a berth the state meet Friday and Saturday, May 17-18 at Lathrop High.
Eagle River captured five individual crowns. Scout Warners (200-meter dash) and Boggs (400) won girls titles, while Peter Kott (100), Ed Hall (discus) and Brandon Parrish (triple jump) won on the boys side.
Warners’ time of 26.22 is a new school record and the senior’s first CIC championship victory.
“That was my goal. To just get one region title,” she said.
Boggs, a sophomore, pulled away from Chugiak’s Brandy Bookout in the final 50 meters to win in 1:00.78. Boggs said she knew Bookout was closing in from the crowd of Mustangs cheering for her rival, which provided Boggs the extra kick needed to cross the finish line first.
“I’m glad she was there,” Boggs said. “It pushed me harder.”
Kott, a junior, blazed to victory in 11.26, edging East’s Jakeil Bell by just one-hundredth of a second.
“It felt really good,” Kott said. “I felt really fast.”
Parrish’s leap of 42 feet, 2 inches was by far the best triple jump of his senior season season.
“I beat my PR by about four feet,” he said.
Hall’s heave of 147 feet is a new school record and ranks him No. 1 among all 4A discus throwers. Hall, a junior, said he’s hoping to break 150 feet and capture his first state title.
Chugiak’s boys also shined at the conference meet, winning four individual titles and one relay. Senior Chris Kveseth was the most decorated local trackster, winning the 400, 800 and ran a leg of the Mustangs’ first-place 4x200 relay.
Kveseth, who’s ranked No. 1 in the state in both individual events, ran 50 seconds flat in the 400. Shortly after, he claimed his second title in the 800.
Kveseth was in control of the race until Bartlett’s Thomas Dolan passed him on the turn heading into the final 100-meter stretch.
Dolan’s lead didn’t last long.
Kveseth sprinted past Dolan in the final 50 meters, finishing in 2:00.30 — 0.61 seconds ahead of the Bartlett runner — and collapsed after crossing the finish line.
“I wanted it,” Kveseth said. “I didn’t want to lose it and finish with something left.”
Kveseth was also part of one of the more exciting races of the day in the 4x200 relay. Tyler Rohde, the Mustangs’ anchor, was about 20 meters behind Dimond’s Michael Jones when Kveseth passed the baton.
As his knee-high Superman socks would suggest, Rohde flew.
He caught Jones and leaned over the finish line to edge the Lynx by one-hundredth of a second before tumbling to the track.
“I promised my guys in that relay I’d give it everything I have,” Rohde said. “You have to sacrifice your body for the win.”
Chugiak’s time of 1:31.98 ranks them the top in the state.
Rohde also won the 200 in 22.44 seconds. Being assigned to lane three — Rohde’s favorite — was a good omen for the Chugiak senior.
“It’s just something about that lane,” he said. “I’m happy when I see it on the heat sheet.”
Rohde, the 110-meter hurdle state record holder, won’t be defending his title this year. Rohde was disqualified for impeding a competitor’s progress when his foot hit a hurdle in an adjacent lane during Friday’s preliminaries.
Rohde cited Dimond’s narrow lanes for contributing to the mishap. Dimond’s lanes are 30 inches wide, whereas most other tracks have 36-inch wide lanes.
Bartlett, which has 36-inch lanes, was originally scheduled to host the CIC meet. But it was moved to Dimond due to poor field conditions.
Rohde will have a chance to defend his 300 hurdle state title, having finished second to Bartlett’s Taj Showalter on Saturday.
Payton Fullmer also won an individual title for the Mustangs, claiming first in high jump with a leap of 5 feet, 10 inches. Fullmer, a junior, had only competed in one meet his freshman year before rejoining the track team this season.
West’s Leroy Elliott cleared 5 feet, 10 inches on his second attempt, leaving Fullmer an opportunity to win. Fullmer cleared the bar on his first attempt, earning him a conference title and a new personal record.
“It’s pretty exciting,” Fullmer said.