The gun has fired and the track and field season has started with a bang.
The Kenai Peninsula's first meet featured Kenai, Seward, Nikiski, Ninilchik and host Homer. Team scores were not kept and official places were not given, though, as coaches and officials that participated felt it would be a better start for their teams.
"We also have a lot of kids without track experience," said Seward assistant coach Dan Krier. "I think it is just a better start in Homer instead of Wasilla."
Wasilla also held a track meet, but Skyview was the only peninsula high school that attended.
Scores or not, competition was evident in all the events Friday at the Homer High School track.
Senior John McGlasson of Kenai anchored two relay teams and was the first to cross the finish line in the 100-meter dash and the 200.
"It went pretty good today," McGlasson said. "Last year I had a hamstring injury at state, so this year I'm just trying to stay in better shape and prevent injuries."
The state's track and field participants face a slightly shorter season than usual with the state meet on May 20 and 21. Workouts may seem more urgent with region meets only four weeks away, followed by the state meet, but teams should be cautious since small injuries could end the season for many participants.
"Luckily, no injuries today, even though several events were scrunched together," Nikiski coach Ned Clooten said.
Nikiski's Angie Doty had the top performance for Nikiski as she notched first-place finishes in the 100 and 400, and was third in the 200. Clooten also noted Justin Trenton's personal record in the shot put.
In the high jump, Kelvin Blanning of Kenai cleared 5 feet, 10 inches, for the best high jump of the day for the boys. Teammate Kyle Coleman came in a second, clearing 5-8.
Ninilchik freshman Ashley Bartolowits cleared 4-8 for the top jump on the girls side. Bartolowits also took first in the long jump, with a leap of 14-7.
"Our freshman jumpers did a great job today," Ninilchik coach Chris Hanson said.
Hanson said three school jump records fell Friday. In addition to Bartolowits' high jump mark, Deonte Powe broke records in the high jump and long jump. Powe cleared 5-6 in the high jump and sailed 17-5 in the long jump.
For Homer, coach Harry Rasmussen said he was very pleased with the girls team but noted that the boys probably realized how hard they need to work after the competition. The Homer girls relay teams had two of the best times of the day in the 800-meter relay and the 400 relay.
"It was just a fun meet and everything went nice today," Rasmussen added.
In the throwing events, Kenai's Papapa Nicholas had throws of 51-3 in the shot put and 148-1 1-2 in the discus to show how he should remain one of the better throwers in the state.
"Nicholas didn't have his best day, but he did well for his first meet," Kenai throwing coach Clayton Holland said.
On the girls side, Nikiski's Debbie Duggin and Seward's Lara Loomis traded the day's top throws in the girls shot put and discus. Loomis edged Duggin by 16 inches, throwing 31-1 in the shot put, but Duggin launched the discus 99 feet to top Loomis.
Krier summed up the feeling amongst Friday's competitors.
"The (track and field) season just sneaks up on you and before you know it, it's gone with a snap of the fingers," Krier said. "We are just trying to peak at the right time along with everyone else."
Shot Put #&151; 1. Loomis, Sew, 31 feet, 1 inch; 2. Duggin, Nik. 29-7; 3. Johnson, Sew, 25-4; 4. Hamer, Hom, 25-0; 5. Ping, Nik, 24-11 1-2; 6. Devaney, Hom, 23-10 1-2.
Discus #&151; 1. Duggin, Nik, 99-0; 2. Loomis, Sew, 87-1; 3. Hughes, Hom, 74-7 1-2; 4. Kain, Sew, 66-4; 5. Johnson, Sew, 58-11 1-2; 6. Millyard, Nik, 57-11.
Long Jump #&151; 1. Bartolowits, Nin, 14-7; 2. Banic, Sew, 13-7 1-2; 3. Halpin, Hom, 12-6; 4. Mannier, Sew, 11-8 3-4.
Triple Jump #&151; 1. Banic, Sew, 28-1/2.
High Jump #&151; 1. Bartolowits, Nin, 4-8; 2. R. Foldager, Sew, 4-4; 3. Buchanon, Sew.; D. Foldager, Sew, 4-2; 5. Clemens, Sew, 4-1.
Shot Put #&151; 1. Nicholas, Ken. 51-3; 2. Boyle, Ken, 39-8; 3. Trenton, Nik, 36-11; 4. Romanchuk, Hom, 35-11 1-2; 5. Stretch, Ken, 35-8; 6. Rasmussen, Hom, 35-6.
Discus #&151; 1. Nicholas, Ken, 148-1 1-2; 2. Aase, Sew, 114-8; 3. Keener, Ken, 113-6; 4. Rasmussen, Hom, 111-4; 5. Layland, Hom, 101-1; 6. Stretch, Ken, 98-0.
Long Jump #&151; Sutton, Ken, 17-10; 2. Powe, Nin, 17-5 5/8; 3. Chimpili, Ken, 17-4 1-2; 4. Coleman, Ken, 16-9; 5. Pinchuk, Sew, 16-8; 6. Ningilium, Hom, 16-7.
Triple Jump #&151; 1. Chimpili, Ken, 38-1/2; 2. Coleman, Ken, 35-8 1-2; 3. Flanigan, Ken, 34-7; 4. Leman, Nin, 33-7; 5. Kinny, Hom, 33-3; 6. Martin, Hom, 28-2.
High Jump #&151; 1. Blanning, Ken, 5-10; 2. Coleman, Ken, 5-8; 3. Powe, Nin, 5-6; 4. Martin, Hom, 5-4; 5. Smith, Nin, 5-0; 6. Haas, Hom, 4-8.
Results were not available for all events.
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