Haines pair captures discus titles
Senior throwers Jesse Piper and Fran Daly scored personal bests to lead Haines teams at the state championship track meet last weekend in Fairbanks.
"Fran and Jesse peaked when they needed to," said coach Greg Schlachter.
The Haines boys placed 8th of 18 teams and the girls tied for 6th among 16 teams. Anchorage-area private schools dominated the 3A championship. Sitka, which placed fourth in men’s and women’s divisions, led Southeast finishers.
Piper’s discus toss of 137’2" smashed his previous best throw of 128’9", winning the event. "He’s been throwing 135s consistently in practice, so we knew it was only a matter of time before he did it in a meet," Schlachter said.
Piper also took about a half-second off his best time in the 110-meter hurdles, finishing in second place in 16.23. The winning time was 16.16. "It was the first time he’d been challenged. He feeds off competition. Some people melt. Jesse rises to it."
Piper put the shot 39’9.25", a few inches shy of his best, for fourth place.
Daly’s best shot put ever – 33’3.75" – earned her second place in the event. Daly won discus with a toss of 111’08", about six feet off the state record and school record she set two weeks ago at regionals (117’7").
But it beat the second-place throw by 12 feet and topped even the best throws by girls from Alaska’s largest schools.
Assistant coach Jim Stanford, who has helped make Haines competitive in throwing events for years, said Daly was determined after fouling out in discus last year. "She had a mission… She’s such an exceptional athlete, I hope she’s able to do something at the next level (of track competition)."
Stanford noted that Daly also competed in cross-country, basketball and wrestling this year, and Piper competed at state championships in wrestling and basketball. "It will be a long time before we have two kids like that who are so alike and so versatile. If there was an all-around athlete-of-the-year award for the school, those two would win it."
Piper helped push the boys’ 4-by-100 yard relay (Piper, Caullen Taylor, Austin Badger, Brian Huntsman) to third place; Daly anchored the girls’ 4-by-200 relay that placed third (Teolani Lynch, Marnie Rasmussen, Jess Giddings, Daly).
Lynch, Anna Jacobson, Jackie St. Clair and Rasumssen placed third in the 4-by-400 relay, and a dropped baton cost the Haines girls’ 4-by-100 relay team (St. Clair, Lynch, Giddings, Daly). They placed eighth. The boys’ 4-by-200 team of Badger, Taylor, Tyler Thomas and Huntsman was sixth.
Senior Jordan Piper was 9th in girls’ high jump at 4’4" and Lynch was seventh in long jump at 13’11.25. Piper’s leap was two inches off her 4’6" peak two weeks ago and Lynch’s jump was under her 14’7" best from last year.
Schlachter said next year’s team stands to gain from sprinters and distance runners who’ll be entering high school, as well as improving underclassmen like St. Clair, Corey Piper, Anna Jacobson and Patrick Henderson.
He’ll be looking for Taylor and Badger to lead sprinting, Blake Ward, Alisha Young and Aaron Tupou in throwing events, jumpers Chris Olsen and Esther Bower and hurdlers Bower and Devin Braaten.
The team has great potential but Schlachter said he’s also challenged keeping athletes competitive and focused.