Track teams near top in opener
Stellar field events and a few good runs lifted the Haines track team at last weekend’s Juneau Invitational track meet.
The Glacier Bear boys finished third behind Thunder Mountain and Juneau. Haines girls were fourth, behind Juneau, Petersburg, and Thunder Mountain, respectively.
They’ll run their only home meet of the year Friday and Saturday at the Haines track. "We hope people come out and see us and see what we’re capable of," said coach Jeremy Strong.
Factoring in last weekend’s chilly weather, the team’s inexperience and an art festival that drew four off the girls’ squad, Strong said he was enthused.
"The kids really performed well. They were long, windy days. Especially for our young kids to do so well against seniors with more experience and muscle on them was impressive," Strong said.
Senior transfer student Nathan Piper emulated older brother Jesse, winning discus and shot put and placing second in long jump. Even athletes from bigger schools couldn’t approach Piper’s first put of 42’2".
"You’ve got to think he’ll do better at regionals with better weather and some more competition," Strong said. "He had a pretty good meet all around." Nathan’s discus toss was about 20 feet shy of the best thrown by his brother, who won state in the event last year, but Nathan’s put topped Jesse’s best by about two feet.
Haines girls were as daunting in throwing and jumping. Senior Abby Jones won the discus and was second in shot put. Sophomore Alisha Young won the shot put and placed second in discus.
Freshman Serena Badgley won the triple jump by more than 12 inches and senior Jolene Lemieux, in her first attempt in the event, won the 800-meter run.
Lemieux didn’t run last year, but was previously a short-distance sprinter, Strong said. "She just tried it and it turned out really well."
Junior Marnie Rasmussen and Lemieux placed third and fifth, respectively, in the 400 meter dash and the squad of Badgley, Rasmussen, Lemieux and Abby Jones was second in the 4-by-200 relay.
In the boys’ discus, Haines showed depth, winning four of the top eight places including third (junior Brandon Haxton), sixth (junior Logan Simpson) and eighth (senior John Downer).
Junior Devin Braaten notched second in the 110-hurdles and third in the 300-meter hurdles. Sophomore Patrick Henderson was second in the 800-meter run, with an impressive time of 2:15.93. Freshman sprinter Devin Light got third in the 100-meter; sophomore Caullen Taylor was fourth. Junior Austin Badger was third in the 400-meter run. Sophomore Chris Olsen was fourth in triple jump.
The 4-by-100 relay team of Badger, Taylor, Light and Piper placed third, posting the second best time in the event this season by a 3A squad, Strong said. In the 4-by-400 race, the squad of Badger, Blake Hamilton, Jimmy Thomsen and Chris Olsen placed fourth.
Several athletes set personal records at the meet, coach Strong said.