SoHi girls, Kenai boys hunt region titles

Posted: Friday, May 13, 2005

The Soldotna girls will be looking for a repeat performance Friday and Saturday at the Region III track and field championships at Skyview High School.

The Kenai Central boys want anything but a repeat performance.

The Soldotna girls and Kenai Central boys are the Kenai Peninsula Borough champions and thus the teams with the best shots to come away with Region III hardware.

Last year, the Soldotna girls turned in a dominating performance to win their eighth region title in 12 years. The Stars scored 160 points, which was good for a 74-point victory over runner-up Colony.

The Kardinals also came in with hopes of a region title, but finished 18.25 points in back of champion Palmer.

This year, Kenai coach Liz Burck would like a different result.

"We still have sort of a bad taste in our mouths from last year's regions," Burck said. "We don't want that to happen again."

Burck said her boys squad did not have a good day at regions last year. She said there are some things that could have gone worse, but not many.

"We had some strange things happen, and it caused us to lose focus," Burck said.

The Kenai boys have chances to score decent points in all the areas of the meet, but other region coaches mention Colony and Kodiak as teams that could give the Kardinals a run for their money.

Kenai's Micah Lillard has the top region times in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, while Papapa Nicholas has the region's top marks in the shot put and discus. Kenai's Trevor Baldwin has top region times in the 800 and 3,200 runs.

Burck also said jumper and hurdler Bill Chimphalee, mid-distance runner Levi Sutton, jumper Kyle Coleman, jumper Kelvin Blanning and hurdler Jed McGlasson will add depth to Kenai's effort.

On the girls side, Burck said her team does not have the depth to compete with Soldotna. However, she is looking for sprinter Candace Walker, mid-distance runners Michelle Oberg and Lauren Baldwin, distance runners Alee Rowley and Elena Bird and hurdler Amber McGlasson to compete for slots at state.

Soldotna coach Mark Devenney said his girls squad has not lost to a region team in a meet this year.

"They just work pretty hard," Devenney said. "Right now, we're coming along about as well as we can."

The Stars will be led by Ari Goldstein and Katie Franzmann, the top two distance runners in the region. Lauren Olendorff has the top 100 hurdles time in the region, while Paige Blackburn has the top shot put mark in the region.

Devenney also is expecting points from mid-distance runner Rachel McCartan, hurdler Dani Donaldson and jumper Annie Gardner.

"We've got a lot of girls that could make it through to state," Devenney said.

On the boys side, Devenney is looking for thrower Matt Hicks, jumper Patrick Lybrand, jumper Cameron Schneider and hurdler Aleks Pfaffe to earn state berths.

Elsewhere on the peninsula, a number of athletes would like to qualify for state.

Nikiski coach Ned Clooten said sprinter Angie Doty has a good shot at making state, and said the 1,600 relay of Doty, Georgie Heaverley, Hannah Thompson and Laura Rooper has a chance.

Debbie Duggin has the region's top mark in the discus, while Rooper has a shot in the 1,600 and Heaverley has a chance in the 400.

Skyview coach Rob Sparks said hurdler Ella Fehrer and high jumper Jennifer Holland are positioned for repeat trips to state.

On the boys side, 400 runner Tyler Wehrli and sprinter Eddie Buffington are good bets to run at state for Skyview. The 1,600 relay also has a shot.

Homer coach Harry Rasmussen said sprinter Erika Klaar and 400 runner Tatiana Gruber will be in the mix for a state berth. The coach also said distance runner Anna Duz has been a joy to work with this year, but that she will have a tough time battling Franzmann and Goldstein.

On the boys side, Rasmussen said his 400 and 800 relays have excellent shots at state.

Sprinter Justin Smith needs to get healthy to make a bid at state, while 400 runner Alex Inglima and thrower Erik Rasmussen would need improved performances to make state.

The Seward girls took second in the borough, but coach Mark Woodward said the Seahawks would be a long shot to unseat the Stars.

Seward still should push a lot of athletes to state. Monika Banic is a threat in the triple and long jumps, while the 1,600 and 3,200 relays of Denali Foldager, Rubye Foldager, Lara Loomis and Anna Clock have been putting up nice times.

The Foldagers finished one-two at the borough meet in the 400, while Loomis leads a group of throwers that have the potential to make state.

On the boys side, distance runner Matt Adams has a good shot to qualify in multiple events. The 3,200-relay team of Adams, David Apperson, Nate Buchanan and Matt Nyholm also has been impressive. Finally, Woodward said Mark Chase has been coming on strong in the 300 hurdles thanks to good coaching of Lori Krier.

CIA, Ninilchik compete at Region II meet

Cook Inlet Academy and Ninilchik will travel to Susitna Valley High School to compete in the Region II track and field championships.

CIA coach Heath Fulk said his girls 400 relay team of Alyse Bell, Stephanie McNutt, Sharon Lindow and Brooke Forsi is hungry for a state berth after winning boroughs.

On the boys side, Andy Hall looks primed for a state berth after winning the borough long jump title. Blake Gabriel has been coming on in the shot put and discus, while distance runner Brian Beeson also has a good shot at state.

Ninilchik coach Chris Hanson said freshman Ashley Bartolowits could qualify in the long jump and possibly the high jump.

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