Track Teams Get Feet Wet in Season Opening Meet

    Thunder Mountain senior Hannah Deer digs down the final stretch to win the 200 meters on Saturday at Falcons Field. (Klas Stolpe)

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The Juneau-Douglas and Thunder Mountain High School track teams got their feet wet on Friday and competed through the sunshine on Saturday in their first dual meet of the season at Falcons Field.

      Thunder Mountain senior Hannah Deer notched a personal record in the girls 200 meters in 27.5 seconds, fourth-tenths of a second faster than Juneau-Douglas junior Cosley Bruno who ran a PR 27.9. Bruno nipped Deer in the 100 meters 13.3 to 13.4.

      Deer also won the 400 meters in 1:03.0 by five-tenths of a second over JDHS sophomore Skylar Tuckwood who ran a PR 1:03.5.

      “I am pretty excited about showing how you don’t have to be a victim of your circumstances and even though this year is kind of tough motivation wise it is still good to push yourself and get better,” she said.

      Deer has put in extra work through the pandemic non-season to transition from her start on the cross country season as a freshman to shorter and faster distances in track, challenging herself in a new way.

      “I definitely switched over from a lot of distance to this year doing mainly sprints,” she said. “I am excited to see how I adapt.”

      Deer said she has been focusing on training for power.

      Deer has always had success at distance races, a discipline she stated was hard, but transitioning from distance to speed events is difficult to do.

      “Sprints is easier to get into but a lot harder to get good at I think,” she said. “It has taken a few years but looks like it is somewhat paying off. Both distance and sprints are super hard.”

      Juneau-Douglas junior James Connally took the boys 100 and 200 meter races over TMHS senior Ali Beya by times of 11.1 to 11.3 and 23.7 to 24.0, respectively.

      Connally, a team captain who has never run track before, said the competition is exciting.

      “Ali Beya is a great, great runner,” Connally said. “Colton Johns (JDHS junior) is also a fantastic runner. My teammates and coaches just push me to be better. On the 200, once you hit that curve and see the end you just give it your all. It’s exciting, it’s nice, it is a thrill.”

      Top girls’ finishes included JDHS sophomore Skylar Tuckwood in the 800 with a PR of 2:37.6; JDHS freshman Etta Eller in the 1600 with a PR 5:46.9; JDHS junior Annika schwartz in the 3200 with a PR 12:16.0; TMHS senior Iayanah Brewer the 100 hurdles in 17.2; TMHS sophomore Mallory Welling the 300 hurdles in a PR 52.1 PR, the high jump in a PR 4’4 and the long jump in a PR 15’7.25; TMHS senior Sophia Harvey hit a PR 31’3 in the triple jump; and JDHS junior Mira Marthaler took the shot with a PR 23’1.75 and the discus with a PR 69’1.

      The JDHS girls 4x100 relay team of Bruno, junior McKenna McNutt, junior captain Trinity Jackson and freshman Ruby Rivas won in 58.8; the JDHS 4x200 relay team of sophomore Elizabeth Stitz, freshmen Claire Durling and Genevieve Pikul and senior Electra Morley won in 2:10.0; the JDHS 4x400 relay team of McNutt, Stitz, freshman Rayna Tuckwood and junior Lindsay McTague won in 4:51.0; and the JDHS 4x800 relay team of senior captain Linnea Lentfer, Schwartz, McTague and Eller won in 12:03.0.

      “We definitely got what we hoped for out of the meet,” JDHS head coach Janette Gagnon said. “The kids just needed their feet on a track after two years and they put all of their heart and soul into the races. There was a lot of grit out there, a lot of determination and then turning around after they finish and cheering on their teammates and congratulating everyone in the race… that is exactly what we ask of them and they showed the spirit.”

      JDHS assistant Daria Horn said it was good to see both the experienced and beginners getting on the track.

      “It was nice to still see PR’s today,” she said. “Daniel (Isaak) had PR’s in his throwing events, and won, and he is working part time while still attending school. He actually worked at Home Depot at six o’clock this morning and left at his lunch hour to go and throw today, so that was impressive, you have to respect that.”

      Unified athlete Gabriel Canon, a JDHS senior,  hit a PR of 81’6  in the discus, finishing second to Isaak who he credits for his improvement.

      “It felt great,” Canon said. “He pushes me. It takes a lot of technique and strength, but when you are throwing in the discus it mostly takes technique.”

      TMHS head coach Dwayne Duskin said the Falcons also did what he expected.

      “A lot of the kids were really nervous going into it,” Duskin said. “And even after the races some of them were a little nervous but it was good to experience the competition, we haven’t had that yet. Now they know what it is like. It is going to be a lot more organized next weekend but now they know how all the events work and they know what to expect from, at least, our cross-town rival. So it will be good for their confidence going into it.”

      Top boys’ finishes included JDHS senior captain Aiden Hollingsworth in the 400 meters in 57.4 and JD senior Finn Morley the 800 in a PR 2:06.5 and 1600 in a PR 4:43.4.

      Morley said ‘high arms’ were key for his runs this season.

      “For racing,” Morley said. “Also my teammates are awesome, they pull me along.”

      The JDHS 4x400 relay team of Morley, junior Aubrey Hekkers, Hollingsworth and sophomore Tobin Montalbo won in 3:50.3 and the JDHS 4x800 relay team of Morley, senior Isaac Schlosser, and freshmen Edgar Vera Alvarado and Leif St. Clair won in 10:04.5.

      “Just trust the system,” Morley said of running the past four years for the Crimson Bears. “The coaches want to make your faster if you just work hard. It feels good to leave it on the track. I want to make state, obviously, and do sub-two in the 800 so I have my work cut out for me that’s for sure. I would also like to get below four-35-ish in the 1600.”

      Schlosser won the 3200 in a PR 11:37.1; JDHS freshman Caden Johns the 110 hurdles in a PR 21.8; TMHS senior Elijah Mead the 300 hurdles in a PR 48.4; JDHS senior Daniel Isaak the shot in 38’4.75 and discus in a PR 123’4; JDHS junior captain Jake Sleppy the high jump in 5’2 and triple jump in 36’5.25; and JDHS senior Dawson Hickok the long jump in 18’5.25.

      The JDHS boys 1x400 relay team of Hickok, Connally, junior captain Colton Johns and freshman Brendan West won in 47.9 and the TMHS 4x200 relay team of senior Adam Bishop, Mead, junior Matthew Johns and Beya won in 1:42.3.

      The meet was to be a virtual event with Sitka but the Wolves had to cancel their home portion as a result of traveling to Ketchikan last weekend and possible coronavirus infection.

      The Falcons Field venue is also the site of next weekends Capital City Invitational and the following Region V Championships on May 22-23.

    Above: Juneau-Douglas senior Aiden Hollingsworth takes the baton from classmate Finn Morley in the boys 4x400 relay on Saturday at Falcons Field. (Klas Stolpe)

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