Kalee Alsworth hands to Lierin Flanagan in the 1,600-meter relay on Saturday at the Kenai Peninsula Borough met. The Kenai 1,600 team is looking for a spot at state this weekend at the Region III track meet.
Photo by Matthew Carroll
It was the first time this year that Skyview track coach Rob Sparks had taken a look at the Kodiak boys’ times.
After viewing them, he was grateful he hadn’t witnessed them firsthand.
“I’m glad we didn’t see them this year,” Sparks said. “They are good. They are good in a lot of events.”
He’s not alone, though.
No teams from the Kenai Peninsula have run with the Bears this season that is, until today, when the Region III meet gets under way at Skyview High School with 11 a.m. field events.
“I get to see their times every week and they are low. They are tough,” said Kenai coach Tim Sandahl, whose boys will contend with Kodiak for the region crown. “They are just so strong in distance, middle distance and every one of their relays are on the state best list. Every one of them.”
Homer coach Harry Rasmussen believes that was Kodiak’s intent.
“They swoop down with this huge powerhouse and only the most ignorant and the most illiterate would be looking past them at this point,” he said. “Kodiak is so strong from the 400 on up, and they’re deep. They add a different dimension and dynamic to this.”
Leading the way for the Bears are Trevor Dunbar and Cory Pena, who hold the state’s top two slots in the 1,600 with electric times of 4:20.34 and 4:23.24, respectively. Dunbar also owns the state’s best time in the 3,200 at 9:21.85, while Pena is the top dog in the 800 with a time of 1:58.33.
“There’s nobody that can touch a 4:21 in our region other than the two Kodiak kids,” Sandahl said. “We haven’t seen anything that low. Not even close.”
With no Kardinals entered in the two longest races, Sandahl and Co. can sit back, relax and possibly watch history transpire.
“It’s going to be really cool to watch. We’re going to have some of the best runners in the state here and some of the best ever,” he said. “When you talk about people potentially breaking a state record that’s been around since 1985 (Bartlett’s Doug Herron, 4:13), that’s going to be something to watch.”
But the Kenai boys shouldn’t be counted out just yet. After all, they have won all five meets they’ve competed in this season.
“If things go right, really, anything can happen,” Sandahl explained. “A lot of things can happen in track and that goes for any team. False starts, dropped batons so you never know. But looking at things on paper ... Kodiak is definitely the frontrunner.”
Sandahl is depending on his hurdlers, jumpers and relay teams to earn some major points.
He’s expecting senior Jed McGlasson (110 hurdles, 300 hurdles, 4x200 and 4x400) to make a strong run toward state in all four events, returning 400 state champion Levi Sutton to compete in that event, as well as the 4x200 and 4x400 and Stephen Wilson (triple jump, long jump, 110 hurdles and 4x200) to also contend for state in all of his events.
“These guys have been running in wind all year long, so if (Wilson) has the right weather, he can go down around 15-flat (110 hurdles) which would put him in a really good time going into state,” Sandahl said.
Bill Chimphalee is looking to return to state in the triple and long jumps and is hoping to avenge last year’s disqualification in the 110 hurdles.
Also for the Kardinals, Casey Ellis (high jump), Nikita Naumoff (triple jump, high jump), Nathan Byrd (discus), Corey Rainey (300 hurdles) and Billy Kiefer (800) should also have strong showings and contend for state.
Sparks believes Eddie Buffington could qualify in the 100 and 200, having already broken the school record for the 100 in the preliminaries of the borough track meet.
As for the girls, both Sandahl and Sparks said ACS will probably lead the way with Kodiak not too far behind.
Kenai, however, has its share of stars.
Freshman phenom Lierin Flanagan has won the 100 and 200 at every meet she’s competed in and finally captured first in the 400 at last weekend’s borough meet. She’ll also anchor the Kardinals’ 4x400 relay team, a squad that owns the fourth best time in the state.
“She’s been doing very well in those all year long,” Sandahl said. “She has a lot of confidence in herself right now. She’s feeling good about it.”
Sandahl also said Flanagan is well aware of her surroundings.
“She knows what other girls are running. She knows what’s happening in Anchorage. Her mind’s on how well she going to do,” he said. “I’d like to see her take it one step at a time and not worry about the Anchorage girls or the kind of times they’re running until that meet happens.
“It is good to know she’s gunning for some girls, but you can’t just get wrapped up in it because we have another meet to deal with before we get (to state).”
The rest of the 4x400 team is comprised of Lauren Baldwin, Kalee Alsworth and Molly Watkins, who should contend for state in the 1,600 and maybe even the 3,200.
Kristi Louthan’s best chance of advancing to state will be in the high jump, Sandahl said, but she’s also slated to run the 100 and 200 as well.
Soldotna’s Kelly Seggerman will most likely be returning to state in the 100, as he is the proud owner of the third best time in the state, but may also qualify in the 200.
“Kelly’s starting to come on late here in the season,” said SoHi coach Galen Brantley Jr. “He got off to slow start. He’s running well. He’s continued to improve over the course of the season.”
But the cream of the Stars’ crop is Paige Blackburn, who has a firm grasp on the state’s top throws in both the shot put and discus and set a new school record in the shot last week.
“Obviously, I think she’s kind of the premier thrower in the state right now,” Brantley Jr. said. “She’s really chasing her own records. She’s throwing against herself.”
Ryan Shelton’s not too shabby, either, possessing the state’s second best discus toss and third best shot put throw, one spot behind Homer’s Erik Rasmussen.
“I expect a really good battle between Ryan and Rasmussen. That should be exciting,” he said. “They’re both competitors and it’s exciting to watch them compete against each other.”
Brantley Jr. also expects Chase Jenson (300 hurdles), Chelsea Wilbanks (high jump, 4x100) and April Heffner (100, 200, 4x100) to be fighting for state berths.
“I think they’ve got as good a chance as anybody,” he said of the 4x100 team, which also consists of Megan Hardy and Blackburn.
Skyview freshman Ivy O’Guinn is expected to thrive in the 1,600 and 3,200 after winning both at boroughs.
“Sometimes the nice thing about freshmen is they don’t know they’re supposed to be intimidated. Sometimes older kids who have raced against these people for two or three years are convinced they’re so good,” Sparks said. “(Freshmen) just go out and do their thing. I think it’s to her advantage she’s a freshman this year. She’s just going to go out and race these kids.”
Alex West and Kristina Barnes may also make state in the 800 and the high jump, respectively.
Homer is having a fine season itself.
Rasmussen’s son, Erik, should return to state in the discus as well as the shot.
“Traditionally, Region III has been really strong. We usually send five or six,” coach Rasmussen said. “So, if we don’t send four or five from our region in shot and disc, I’ll be shocked.”
Deonte Powe is also coming off a stellar borough meet in which he edged Kenai’s Sutton by only .05 seconds. He’ll also be competing in the 200, the long jump and is anchoring the 4x100 relay team, also comprised of Collin Hagen, David So and Starling Smith.
“I think his chances of qualifying for state (in the 400) are excellent and his chances of winning regions are good,” he said. “Making state in the long jump’s more realistic than the 200.”
Noah McWilliams (shot put), Marina Critchett (triple jump, 100), Erika Klaar (200, 400), Brittany Wyatt (100 hurdles), Reba Temple (shot put) and Lindsay Layland (shot put) are also vying for state meet spots.
Seward’s Denali and Rubye Foldager will be fighting for bragging rights.
The twin sisters are both members of the 4x200 and 4x800 relay teams that placed first at boroughs.
“It’s extremely important in relays to be very fast,” said Seahawks’ coach Lori Krier. “You’ve got to be at least second. If not second, you’re not going.”
Owning the state’s third best time, Denali is hoping to qualify in the 300 hurdles which she won at state last year and is also in contention for the 1,600.
“I think, knowing Denali’s heart, she’s going to have a great weekend with the 300 hurdles,” Krier said.
Rubye, on the other hand, won last weekend’s 800 and placed second in the 3,200, events she qualified for last season.
“I really believe that they’re coming to a peak right now. They’re going to be contenders.”
Travis Price is another one to keep an eye on in the 800, 1,600, 4x400 and 4x800.
Nikiski’s Eliza Chadwick won the borough meet’s 100 hurdles, claimed third in the 300 hurdles and will be looking to place high again at regions.
At the Region II meet in Fairbanks today and Saturday, Cook Inlet Academy is ripe with talent and coach Heath Fulk is brimming with excitement.
“Our team’s looking strong and it looks like we’ll have a strong showing at the region meet,” he said on his way to Fairbanks.
Headlining the squad is junior Brooke Forsi, who is hoping to make a return trip to state next weekend to compete in the 400, which she placed fourth in last season.
“She’s looking to win the regional meet and go on to state,” Fulk said.
Forsi is also a member of the borough champion 4x100 (Sadie Arneson, Melissa Moffis, Amie Smithwick) and 4x400 (Arneson, Smithwick, Holly Kopp) teams which are looking strong.
Smithwick is also running in both the 100 and 300 hurdles.
“She’s looking to do really well,” he said. “It looks like she might go to state.”
The CIA boys’ 4x100 team (Lars Arneson, Eric Bell, John Forsi, Scott Litchfield) will also be vying for a state spot.
As will Ninilchik’s Ashley Bartolowits, who won the long jump and placed second in last weekend’s high jump. Seldovia is also competing at the Region II meet.
Matthew Carroll can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2007 State Track and Field Bests
Shot put Clarke, Bartlett, 60 feet, 11 1/2 inches; Rasmussen, Homer, 52-8 1/4; Shelton, Soldotna, 51-7; Odell, Kodiak, 49-11 1/2; Kalifa, Dimond, 46-1 1/2.
Discus Clarke, Bartlett, 192-5; Shelton, Soldotna, 162-3; Kalifa, Dimond, 160-3; Rasmussen, Homer, 159-6; Svedin, Palmer, 141-10.
High jump Maynard, South, 6-4; Jackson, Service, 6-4; Woolf, West Valley, 6-2; Multiple tied at 6-0.
Long jump Woolf, West Valley, 21-6; Kearns, Juneau, 21-0 3/4; Wilson, Kenai, 20-6 3/4; Hewitt, Chugiak, 20-5; Skillern, South, 20-2 1/4.
Triple jump Woolf, West Valley, 43-3 1/2; Wilson, Kenai, 42-7; Jackson, Service, 42-3; Richwine, ACS, 42-2 1/2; Zagars, Colony, 40-2 1/4.
110-meter hurdles Ward, Chugiak, 15.35 seconds; Wilson, Kenai, 15.35; Andersen, South, 15.55; Woolf, West Valley, 15.55; Benning, Juneau, 15.62.
300 hurdles Ward, Chugiak, 39.83; Benning, Juneau, 40.45; McGlasson, Kenai, 40.81; Jackson, West Valley, 42.06; Leath, Kodiak, 42.07.
100 Da. Wilson, East, 10.8; Preston, Service, 11.0; Seggerman, Soldotna, 11.16; Williams, Wasilla, 11.42; Arnold, Grace, 11.42.
200 Hewitt, Chugiak, 22.9; Arnold, Grace, 22.91; Daly, Palmer, 23.12; Da. Wilson, East, 23.28; Preston, Service, 23.3.
400 Hewitt, Chugiak, 49.33; Pena, Kodiak, 50.89; Melendez, Dimond, 51.31; Preston, Service, 51.8; Edwards, Grace, 51.82.
800 Pena, Kodiak, 1:58.33; Weissberg, Sitka, 2:00.79; Edwards, Grace, 2:01.38; Hewitt, Chugiak, 2:01.67; Dunbar, Kodiak, 2:01.92.
1,600 Dunbar, Kodiak, 4:20.34; Pena, Kodiak, 4:23.24; Weissberg, Sitka, 4:29.07; Fletcher, South, 4:33.33; Price, Seward, 4:34.13.
3,200 Dunbar, Kodiak, 9:21.85; Fletcher, South, 9:44.10; Miller, ACS, 9:47.57; Hanley, Dimond, 9:53.60; Kemp, Haines, 9:53.80.
400 relay Bartlett 44.73; Palmer 45.0; Chugiak 45.5; Kodiak 45.53; Lathrop 45.78.
800 relay Bartlett 1:32.12; Chugiak 1:33.95; Kodiak 1:34.03; Palmer 1:34.34; Kenai 1:34.91.
1,600 relay Kodiak 3:35.82; Service 3:36.15; Kenai 3:36.62; Grace 3:36.68; West Valley 3:37.66.
3,200 relay Kodiak 8:00.43; Bartlett 8:21.90; Service 8:27.10; West Valley 8:28.5; Seward 8:32.80.
Shot put Blackburn, Soldotna, 40-6; Mickens, Eagle River, 36-4 1/4; DeLa Vega, Bartlett, 35-4; Arnold, Grace, 35-2 3/4; Jackson, East, 34-6.
Discus Blackburn, Soldotna, 126-6; DeLa Vega, Bartlett, 118-1; Lazoya, East, 114-5; Elvie, Service, 112-5; Riopelle, Grace, 109-7.
High jump Harlan, East, 5-2; Todd, Bartlett, 5-2; Frost, Service, 5-2; Putnam, Wasilla, 5-0; Wilbanks, Soldotna, 5-0.
Long jump Putnam, Wasilla, 16-1 1/2; Johnson, Sitka, 16-1; Ely, Juneau, 15-10; Wilson, Hutchison, 15-8 3/4; Tolliver, Lathrop, 15-8 1/2.
Triple jump Hunter-Barron, West Valley, 34-8 1/2; Putnam, Wasilla, 33-10 3/4; Wilson, Hutchison, 33-7 1/2; Everett, Colony, 33-6 1/2; M. Simmers, ACS, 33-4 1/2.
100-meter hurdles Jayne, Eagle River, 16.1; A. Simmers, ACS, 16.10; Soderland, West, 16.4; Hornbeck, Lathrop, 16.52; Putnam, Wasilla, 16.56.
300 hurdles Wheeler, West, 47.83; Holdorf, Bartlett, 48.00; D. Foldager, Seward, 48.47; Dupea, Grace, 49.44; Francis, Juneau, 49.64.
100 Jeans, Bartlett, 12.4; Jayne, Eagle River, 12.6; Renfro, West Valley, 12.73; Wilson, Hutchison, 13.04; Flanagan, Kenai, 13.06.
200 Crook, Bartlett, 25.85; Jeans, Bartlett, 26.1; Renfro, West Valley, 26.79; Wilson, Hutchison, 26.88; Harris, Dimond, 27.0.
400 Crook, Bartlett, 58.52; Flanagan, Kenai, 1:00.20; Harris, Dimond, 1:00.9; Echols, Bartlett, 1:01.1; Forsi, CIA, 1:01.12.
800 Davis, West Valley, 2:18.11; Teslow, West Valley, 2:22.26; Francis, Juneau, 2:23.0; Miller, ACS, 2:25.70; R. Foldager, Seward, 2:27.27.
1,600 Davis, West Valley, 5:08.48; Francis, Juneau, 5:18.20; Teslow, West Valley, 5:19.70; Keegan, West, 5:20.70; Fischetti, ACS, 5:25.03.
3,200 Davis, West Valley, 10:57.01; Keegan, West, 11:05.87; Francis, Juneau, 11:11.86; Pitney, West Valley, 11:25.30; L. Luch 11:30.5.
400 relay Bartlett 50.7; Lathrop 52.88; Kodiak 53.25; West Valley 53.57; East 54.09.
800 relay Bartlett 1:48.41; West Valley 1:49.54 ; Dimond 1:50.27; Kodiak 1:50.82; Kenai 1:51.87.
1,600 relay Juneau 4:19.41; ACS 4:19.15; West Valley 4:22.55; Kenai 4:23.59; Juneau 4:23.79.
3,200 relay West Valley 9:40.88; Kodiak 10:00.67; ACS 10:02.97; West 10:03.56; Eagle River 10:20.10.
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