Papapa Nicholas will represent Kenai Central in the shot put and discus events at this weekend's state championship track and field meet.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
Forty-eight athletes from the Kenai Peninsula qualified for the state track and field championships, which begin today in Fairbanks, and while just a few may have their sites set on a state title, just about every athlete on the roster has a shot at a place on the podium.
“I think we’re taking a real solid team up there,” said Kenai coach Tim Sandahl.
Leading the way for the Kardinals will be the peninsula’s two defending champions. Papapa Nicholas won the boys discus event last season, and Amber McGlasson took the 300 hurdles.
Sandahl noted that McGlasson beat Colony’s Hallie Huggins in the 100-meter hurdles for the first time at last week’s region meet, giving her an extra boost of confidence heading into the state meet. To date, McGlasson has clocked the state’s best time in the 100 hurdles at 16.06 seconds.
Sandahl added that he was pleasantly surprised to see Eliza Chadwick make it to state in the 100 hurdles after battling the flu the week before regions.
Kenai’s boys 1,600 relay also is heading into the meet with the state’s best time after clocking 3:32.00 at the region meet. Sandahl said the relay team, which includes Corey Rainey, pulled together after Rainey fell in the 300 hurdles.
“I think they really got behind him. It was a high motivator to get to state and win that one. They pulled together for him,” Sandahl said, adding that the team broke the school record by a second in the event.
Kenai’s crew of jumpers Bill Chimphalee, Stephen Wilson, Jed McGlasson and Kyle Coleman, also are poised for a big meet.
For the Soldotna girls, Paige Blackburn enters the meet with the state’s best distance in the shot put at 38 feet, 5 inches, and is also one of the top discus throwers in the state.
Ryan Shelton has quietly posted some of the top marks in the state in the throwing events, and Aleks Pfaffe has the state’s second-best time in the 110 hurdles. The Stars 400 relay also has come on strong this season.
Cook Inlet Academy will send five athletes to the meet, led by Brooke Forsi in the girls 400 and 200, and Holly Kopp in the 3,200 and the 1,600. Cook Inlet’s girls 400 relay also will compete at the meet.
For Nikiski, Sam Rorrison qualified in the girls shot put, Ashley Bartolowits will represent Ninilchik in the high jump and long jump, and Jennifer Holland will compete in the high jump for Skyview.
Also qualifying for Skyview is Jamie Duke and Michael Thornton.
“They’re very excited about it,” Sandahl said of his athletes. “There’s something about the state meet where the crowds are a lot bigger and the competition is very close. You really have to perform, and that’s why you see times go way down.”
Alaska School Activities Association/First National Bank Alaska State Track and Field Championships
Friday and Saturday at West Valley High School, Fairbanks
Kenai Peninsula qualifiers
Cook Inlet Academy Girls: Brooke Forsi (400 meters, 200, 400 relay), Holly Kopp (3,200, 1,600, 400 relay), Sharon Lindow (400 relay), Ashley Michel (400 relay); Boys: Nate Byrd (discus).
Homer Girls: Erika Klaar (100, 200); Boys: Taylor Layland (discus), Lars Matkin (800), Erik Rasmussen (discus), Justin Smith (200).
Kenai Central Girls: Kalee Alsworth (800 relay), Lauren Baldwin (400, 800 relay), Eliza Chadwick (100 hurdles, 800 relay), Amber McGlasson (100 hurdles, 300 hurdles, 800 relay), Elissa White (800 relay); Boys: Greg Aho (400 relay), Kelvin Blanning (high jump), Mackenzie Boyle (100, 400 relay), Bill Chimphalee (long jump, triple jump, 400 relay), Kyle Coleman (high jump), Kellan Flanagan (1,600 relay), James Gough (1,600 relay), Papapa Nicholas (shot put, discus), Luke Oliver (400 relay), Wesley Quade (1,600 relay), Corey Rainey (1,600 relay), Levi Sutton (400, 1,600 relay), Stephen Wilson (long jump, triple jump, 110 hurdles, 400 relay).
Nikiski Girls: Sam Rorrison (shot put).
Ninilchik Girls: Ashley Bartolowits (high jump, long jump).
Seward Girls: Denali Foldager (3,200, 1,600, 300 hurdles), Rubye Foldager (800), Jacqueline VanDriesche (discus). Boys: Travis Price (800).
Skyview Girls: Jennifer Holland (high jump). Boys: Jamie Duke (discus), Michael Thornton (110 hurdles).
Soldotna Girls: Paige Blackburn (discus, shot put), Ashley Earll (shot put, discus). Boys: Jason Beals (400 relay), Jake Ciufo (400 relay), Patrick Lybrand (triple jump, 400 relay), Aleks Pfaffe (110 hurdles, 400 relay), Austin Roberts (shot put), Kelly Seggerman (100, 400 relay), Ryan Shelton (shot put, discus), Marvin Tate (400 relay).
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