When it comes time to award the team trophies at the Kenai Peninsula Borough Track and Field Meet this Saturday, it appears it will be business as usual for Soldotna's track team.
Under coach Mark Devenney, now in his 10th season, the Stars girls have won seven of the last eight borough crowns and the Soldotna boys have taken seven of the past nine.
The Soldotna boys and girls were the top finishers in the borough at the Skyview Invitational, and Devenney said he's not going to deny his teams are the favorites heading into Friday's and Saturday's meet at Skyview High School.
Some of the other borough coaches weren't about to deny that either.
"SoHi has had historically strong teams both ways," Nikiski coach Jim Arness said. "I would say they are the favorites."
The Soldotna girls will be led by Janna Schaafsma, who has the top time in the state in both the 100-meter and 300-meter hurdles.
Also for Soldotna, Sasha Cvetkovski has the top marks in the borough, and the second-best marks in the state, in both the shot put and discus. Another Star who should put up big points is Lissa Cristiano, who has the top time in the borough and state in the 100 and whose 200 time is second in the borough only to Ninilchik's Molly Bosick.
Other than that, Soldotna has decent depth and has some solid performers in the field events, where the Stars girls were decimated last year when the Kenai girls took the borough crown from them.
"These are the meets we live for -- boroughs, regions and state," Devenney said. "Hopefully, some of our young kids will learn what these meets are all about."
The Stars boys will be led by their mid- and long-distance athletes. Andy Liebner, with the fourth-best time in the state in the 3,200 and the third-best in the 1,600, will lead the pack made up of Brent Knight, Bill Keller, Kyle McBride, Matt Medina, Daniel Harro and Blake Mann-Schweigert.
Billy Moiles should score some points for Soldotna in the shot put and discus, while Justin Payment should also score points in the hurdles.
The Kenai girls, who broke Soldotna's string of seven straight borough titles last year with their first title since the early 1980s, will have trouble duplicating the feat this year.
"We don't have sprinters and we don't have hurdlers," Kenai coach Liz Burck said. "We'll be missing those kids that did those events for us last year.
"We have some really strong sprinters coming up, but they're still young."
The Kardinals should be covered in the high jump, where Dallas Baldwin and Erica Smith are not only the top two high jumpers in the borough, but two of the best in the state.
Led by Michelle Edwards, who has the state's top time in the 400, Kenai also is exceptional at middle and long distance. Smith, Mary Krusen, Katherine Amen and Shiloh Reilly help round out that group. Lindsey Church, normally part of that group, will be out of town this weekend.
Kenai should also get some points in the shot put and discus from Krista Miller and Kylee Vienna.
Kenai's boys won't have the depth to make noise in the battle for the team trophy, but Jay Hogue and Dane Myers are two of the top throwers in the state. Hogue has the best discus toss in the state this year, while Myers is fourth in the shot put.
The borough meet is a good place for young performers to make a statement, and Burck is expecting solid performances from sophomore Shaun Kiser in the sprints and freshman Nick Boyle in the distance events.
Burck also said distance runners Jacob La Shot and Tim Kirby will play key roles for the team.
Of all the boys teams in the borough, the Nikiski boys came closest to Soldotna at the Skyview Invitational, finishing 26 points behind the Stars. The Bulldogs also won the Kenai Invitational this year, where all the borough's teams were fully represented except for Soldotna.
"I think both our boys and girls teams will be strong," Arness said. "We're just not as big as some of the others."
Nikiski has traditionally made up for a lack of depth by having exceptional athletes score a lot of points, and this year should be no exception.
Josh Reilly, especially with Kenai rival Sepa Nicholas-Silvira out of the hurdles, will roll up a lot of points in the hurdles and triple jump. Meanwhile, David Holloway has the borough's best mark in the high jump. Angelo Luna and Michael Cox give the Bulldogs solid performers in the throws, while Ryan Wicker and Anthony Sykes will excel at mid-distance events.
Host Skyview High School also should play a big factor in the meet. Skyview has a large number of kids, and that can add up to a lot of points in smaller meets like boroughs.
"Obviously, the Soldotna boys and girls are the favorites coming in," Skyview coach Rob Sparks said. "In this borough, our boys will be in the top three for sure, if not one or two.
"Likewise, our girls should do pretty well."
Key performers for the Skyview girls will be Erika Edwards, who has the state's best time in the 1,600, and fellow distance runner Kaleena Schouweiler. Samantha Carlon also has been turning in good sprint times for the Panthers.
Skyview's boys are talented and deep, but they are also still young.
KENAI PENINSULA BOROUGH MEET TRACK AND FIELD RECORDS
(1978 to present)
100-METER DASH -- Hannah Sizemore, Soldotna, 12.9 seconds, 1996.
200 -- Joanna Knox, Soldotna, 26.6, 1994.
400 -- Michelle Edwards, Kenai, 58.78, 1999.
800 -- Annie Berdahl, Nikiski, 2:21.5, 1996.
1,600 -- Annie Berdahl, Nikiski, 5:12.9, 1996.
3,200 -- Erika Edwards, Sky, 11:20.0, 2000.
100 HURDLES -- Lindsy Glaze, Nikiski, 16.2, 1998.
300 HURDLES -- Mary Glaze, Nikiski, 46.8, 1996.
400 RELAY -- Soldotna, 51.61, 1999.
800 RELAY -- Soldotna, 1:48.5, 1993.
1,600 RELAY -- Soldotna, 4:12.6, 1996.
3,200 RELAY -- Soldotna, 9:57.7, 2000.
HIGH JUMP -- Renae Pickarsky, Soldotna, 5 feet, 6 inches, 1983.
LONG JUMP -- Rachel Jones, Soldotna, 17-1, 1996.
TRIPLE JUMP -- Heather Sorrell, Skyview, 34-6 3/4, 1993.
SHOT PUT -- Allen, Homer, 39-6, 1987.
DISCUS -- Romberg, Soldotna, 125-11, 1997.
100 -- Joel Knight, Soldotna, 10.9, 1995.
200 -- Joel Knight, Soldotna, 22.3, 1995.
400 -- John Becker, Homer, 50.4, 1994.
800 -- Ryan Ellis, Nikiski, 2:01.6, 1998.
1,600 -- Tim Jacobson, Soldotna, 4:29.0, 1987.
3,200 -- Markelz, Homer, 9:57.6, 1997.
110 HURDLES -- Doug Pike, Skyview, 14.9, 1994.
300 HURDLES -- Johnson, Seward, 40.7, 1997.
400 RELAY -- Soldotna, 45.0, 1994.
800 RELAY -- Soldotna, 1:32.6, 1990.
1,600 RELAY -- Homer, 3:36.1, 1994.
3,200 RELAY -- Skyview, 8:37.0, 1997.
HIGH JUMP -- Wallace, Homer, 6-5, 1993.
LONG JUMP -- Bruce Jackman, Kenai, 23-2, 1988.
TRIPLE JUMP -- Joel Mahaffey, Soldotna, 43-8 1/2, 1993.
SHOT PUT -- Magee, Kenai, 51-11 1/4, 1993.
DISCUS -- Bob Besch, Kenai, 163-2 1/2, 1983.
POLE VAULT (discontinued 1992) -- Reid Kornstad, Nikiski, 13-0, 1991.
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