Track athletes seek state bids

Posted: Friday, May 13, 2011

Track teams from across the Kenai Peninsula will fan out across the state this weekend looking to extend their seasons one more week by qualifying for the state meet.

Region III/4A teams Homer, Skyview, Soldotna and Kenai Central will stay on the Peninsula for a meet at Skyview today and Saturday. Region III/3A teams Nikiski and Seward will travel to Begich Middle School to compete today and Saturday. Also, Cook Inlet Academy and Ninilchik will travel all the way up to Talkeetna for the Region II meet at Susitna Valley High School today and Saturday.

At the Region III/4A meet, coaches expect the Wasilla girls to win.

"They have a lot of great female athletes," SoHi coach Dave Emery said.

Peninsula girls should be able to make noise as individuals.

Skyview's Thit Bak will be a threat in the high jump, triple jump and long jump. She currently has the best mark in Class 4A in the state in the high jump and triple jump, and is third in the long jump.

Skyview coach Rob Sparks said Bak also will team with Elisha Hollers, Sydney Roumagoux and Marlee Cunningham to try and make state in the 800-meter relay.

Other possible state qualifiers for the Skyview girls are Marissa Mahan in the shot put, Megan Parham in the discus, Hollers in the 300 hurdles and Cunningham in the high jump.

For the Kenai Central girls, coach Tim Sandahl said Bailey Beeson will look to qualify for state in four events -- the 400, 800, 400 relay and 800 relay. Her teammates on the 400 relay will be Carolyn Kiefer, Shaynee DeVito and Leah Sandahl. Joining Beeson in the 800 relay will be Kiefer, Freya Chay and Olivia Pfeifer.

Sandahl said the 400 relay has the fourth-best time in the state, but the 800 is more of a mystery.

Other good shots at state qualifiers come from DeVito in both hurdle events, Leah Sandahl in the 100 hurdles and maybe the 300 hurdles, and Kiefer in the 800.

The Soldotna girls will be led by Mariah Ulen. Emery said Ulen should qualify in the high jump, triple jump and 100 hurdles. She also will look to join Alicia Hamilton, Megan Gordon and Jelly Nolden on a state-qualifying 400 relay.

Emery also has high hopes for the 200 relay, where Gordon, Hamilton and Nolden will be joined by Bree Mucha. Mucha also will try to qualify in the 200 and 400.

In the field events, Emery said Jessie Duke and Hannah Cristiano have a good shot in the discus, and Duke could also go in the shot put. Emery also thinks Leah Garske has a chance in the discus.

Nolden could qualify in the 100 and 200, while Gordon has a shot in the 200 and Kaillee Skjold needs to knock some time off to qualify in the 800.

Diane Frank led Homer at the Kenai Peninsula Borough meet last weekend with a third in the long jump.

The team contest in the boys meet is expected to come down to Kodiak and Palmer. Sandahl said Kodiak's strength is depth, while Palmer will counter with some really fast sprinters.

Kenai Central senior Tyler Spalding will try to make sure the Moose and Bears don't pick up a lot of points in the high jump, triple jump, discus and shot put. He has the state's top marks in the high jump, triple jump and discus. Sandahl said Spalding would need a good day to win the shot put.

Spalding broke the school record by jumping 6 feet, 6 inches, in the high jump at boroughs, and Sandahl would like to see Spalding get to 6--7 or 6--8.

Other possible state qualifiers are Adam Agosti in the 400 and Joe Sandahl in the 110 hurdles.

The Skyview boys won the borough meet last weekend, but this weekend Sparks said the mission is to get as many boys to state as possible.

Sparks would like to see Cody Williams and Brayden Holt qualify in the 1,600 and 3,200. Daniel Rozak and Jeremiah Hilbish will join Williams and Holt for a 3,200 relay that has a chance.

Albert White and Jasen Suonvieri will try to make it in the 100. They also will key the 400, 800 and 1,600 relays. Joining them for the 400 relay will be Richard Reynolds, Cody Stephenson or Brandon Rice. Reynolds, White, Suonvieri and Kyle Shedd will run the 800 relay. The 1,600 relay will be White, Suonvieri, Reynolds and Williams.

Others with a shot to qualify are Shedd in the high jump, Alex Rodriguez in the shot put and Bud Sparks in the 300 hurdles.

The Soldotna boys will be led by Colton Schneider. Emery said Schneider should qualify in the 200 and 400. He also has a good shot in the long jump and high jump.

Emery also said he hopes Ross Skjold can perform some magic and qualify in the 800.

Homer will be led by Mitch Wyatt in the 300 hurdles. Wyatt won the event last week at boroughs.

At the Region III/3A meet in Anchorage, Nikiski coach Dan Adair said Anchorage Christian Schools and Grace Christian should battle for the girls and boys team titles.

Adair said Sayyid Parrish should go to state in both the 100 and 200, and he could possibly win both events at regions.

Parrish also will team with Trevor Ray, Jordan Taylor and Seth Carstens to try and qualify the 1,600 relay for state. Ray, Taylor and Parrish went to state in that relay last season.

On the girls side, Adair said Kerry Ross probably will not win regions in the 100 and 200, but she should qualify for state.

Adair said Carstens could qualify if he pops a really good high jump. Lincoln Johnson and Garrett Correson also will need to pop great throws to have a chance at state.

The Seward girls and boys also will look to build on a solid performance at boroughs, where Tessa Adelmann won the shot put.

For the boys, Brett Chase won the 800, Austin Gillespie won the 1,600 and Miles Knotek won the 3,200.

The Seward boys also did well in the relays, with Chase, Gillespie, Andrew Buchanan and Ryan O'Leary taking the 1,600 relay. Chase, Gillespie, Buchanan and Jacob Marshall won the 3,200 relay.

In Talkeetna, CIA coach Drew Dickson said he thinks a lot of athletes have a chance at qualifying for state, but he didn't want to mention any in particular so as not to put pressure on anybody.

At the borough meet, Ninilchik was led by Jack Wheeler, who finished second in the high jump and third in the long jump. The Ninilchik boys also were fourth in the 400 relay, fifth in the 800 relay and fourth in the 1,600 relay.

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