Runners make a splash in the 1600-meter event Friday at Skyview.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
There were puddles all over the track at Skyview High School Friday during a tri-meet, but, with just two weeks until the region meet, beggars can’t be choosers.
Skyview, which traditionally hosts all the big meets on the central Kenai Peninsula because it has the best track surface, finally opened for business Friday with a tri-meet including the Panthers, Seward and Anchorage Christian Schools.
“They ran through the puddles,” Seward coach Lori Krier said. “These kids are Alaskans. They know what it’s about.”
The puddles actually got bigger as the meet progressed, because the track is located in a low area at Skyview’s campus. The sun melted snow and some of that water drained onto the track, particularly onto depressions created by frost heaves.
Jason Hofacker, the ACS coach, said his team practices in a parking lot and sets up cones to replicate a track, so the puddles were fine with him.
“Hey, it’s sunny out. They’re happy,” Hofacker said of his team.
Even though calendars are ready to flop over into May, the tri-meet did not come without some hard work by Skyview’s track team.
Skyview's Michael Thornton clears the final barrier to win the 300-meter hurdles Friday afternoon.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
Skyview track coach Rob Sparks said a number of factors have made clearing the track at Skyview harder than it has been at any other time in his 16 years there. He said freeze-thaw conditions from early winter left a thick layer of ice on the track. The track was partially cleared off by snowblowers, but they couldn’t do anything about that ice for fear of damaging the track.
Then came April, where freezing temperatures at night kept the ice from breaking up.
“We’ve been outside for two and a half weeks, and every day we’ve spent time getting ice and water off the track,” Sparks said.
For the last two days, the team used garbage cans from the school to scoop water out of the jumping pits. The pits were ready for action at the tri-meet, although athletes gamely had to land in sand saturated with water.
The meet was a low-key event. There were no official results kept or team scores tallied.
“Teams were just looking to get some times,” Sparks said. “These small meets also are nice because it’s easier to compete for second, third or fourth place.”
Sparks said Jennifer Holland and Tina Barnes continued to do solid work in the high jump. Both cleared 4 feet, 10 inches, with Barnes taking first and Holland second.
Skyview freshman Michael Thornton ran the 300 hurdles for the first time and won the race in 46.03, which Sparks said is promising for the future. Sparks also said freshman hurdlers Marquee Lucas and Kadie Perletti showed promise at the meet.
Sparks said Kenny Mahan had a solid meet by winning the shot put and placing third in the discus, while distance runners Alex West, Kendra Merkes, Ariel Barker, Tommy Honer and Jeff Nelson continue to work hard and improve.
Krier said her team also had several highlights, including Rubye Foldager’s victory in the 800, David Apperson’s victory in the 1,600 and Matt Nyholm coming from behind on the anchor leg for a victory in the 1,600 relay. Krier also said Matt Blair, Luke Fry and Travis Price showed a lot of heart with their performances.
Hofacker said the Lions’ highlights at the meet came from distance runner Nychele Fischetti, hurdler Aimee Villard, 400-meter runner Bekah Bang, sprinter Candace Dyson, jumper Joel Rich, hurdler Michael Coderre and middle distance runner Michael Miller.
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