Amber McGlasson wins the 100-meter hurdles for Kenai Central at last weekend's borough championshps at Skyview High School. She hopes for a repeat performance at the weekend's region meet.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
Athletes from the Kenai Peninsula are about ready for a nice weekend and are keeping their fingers crossed in the hopes that the weather for this weekend’s Region III meet in Palmer will be just as sunny and warm as forecasters have predicted.
“We haven’t had that weekend yet,” said Soldotna High School coach Galen Brantley. “Typically, you get a couple meets in nice weather before regions. I think we’re going to see some really good performances. Hopefully, we can step up and do the same.”
The Kenai Central Kardinals enter the region meet with both the boys and girls borough meet titles. Head coach Tim Sandahl is hoping his squads will have put injuries and illness behind them for the meet.
“We haven’t run full-strength in any of our relays,” Sandahl said, adding that a good portion of practice this week would be spent working on things such as baton exchanges.
The Kenai boys are the defending region champions, though Sandahl expects it to be tough to repeat.
“If we can get everybody back (from injuries) and get points where we’re supposed to get points, we’ll have an opportunity,” Sandahl said.
The Kenai boys have picked up many of their points in the field events, led by thrower Papapa Nicholas and jumpers Bill Chimphalee, Kyle Coleman and Stephen Wilson.
Wilson, Jed McGlasson and Corey Rainey have scored points in the hurdle events, and Levi Sutton has given the Kardinals a boost at 400 and 800 meters.
Sandahl was happy to see Amber McGlasson back on the track for last week’s borough meet in the hurdle events, and the Kenai girls have a nice stable of young sprinters, led by Candace Walker, ready to go for the region meet.
The Soldotna girls are the defending region champs, but Brantley noted that the team that won the title last year graduated quite a few key athletes.
“I think the team going up is going to be competitive, and we have some individuals that are going to do pretty well,” Brantley said.
The Stars have come to expect big things from thrower Paige Blackburn, and Alyssa Emery was a placewinner in the discus last year at state. Ashley Earll has provided the surprise of the season for the Stars with her performance in the discus and shot put.
For the Soldotna boys, Aleks Pfaffe has a shot at a region title in the hurdles, and the sprint relays 400, 800, and 1,600 meters have been a point of pride for the Stars this season.
“Our sprint coach, Jason Buckbee, has done a phenomenal job with those kids. He’s put in a lot of time and effort. This is the time of year when you need to be running well, and those kids are starting to look good,” Brantley said.
Pfaffe and Patrick Lybrand are on all three relays, and Lybrand has had a strong season in the triple jump. Freshman hurdler Kraig Morris has improved steadily, and Ryan Shelton has consistently been one of the top shot putters in the state this season.
For Skyview, Clark Buffington has led the boys squad with his performances in the sprint events, and jumper Tina Barnes and Jennifer Holland have led the girls team.
For Nikiski, Sam Rorrison had a big meet in the girls shot put last week, placing second, and Nick Whitaker had a good race in the boys 300 hurdles, placing third.
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