May 19, 2011 |

Piper, Lemieux, Jones lead Haines at regionals

Twenty-six Haines track and field athletes – including all the boys’ and girls’ relay teams – have qualified to compete in the state championship meet this weekend at Fairbanks’ Lathrop High School.

At last weekend’s regional championship in Juneau, the Haines boys placed first among small schools in Southeast. Haines girls finished second in the region behind Petersburg. Members of both teams turned in individual performances that topped ones by even larger schools.

"We came out firing on all cylinders," said coach Jeremy Strong. "All the hard work paid off. Most – if not all – of our athletes got personal records."

Senior Nathan Piper led Haines with four first-place finishes, besting even athletes from Southeast’s largest schools with his performances in the 100-meter run (11.40 seconds), shot put (43’10.5") and discus (132’8"). He won the long jump among 3A schools (19’11.5").

He was named the meet’s best 3A male athlete.

Piper is five feet short of older brother Jesse Piper’s best discus throw, one that won the 3A state championship last year. Nathan also wants to knock about a half-second off his 100-meter time, which would likely make him Alaska’s fastest man in 3A.

He said good weather and a focus on form gave him the edge last weekend. He said he’s not getting any special tips from his brother. "He just tells me to listen to what the coaches say," Piper said.

Seniors Jolene Lemieux and Abby Jones led the Haines girls. Lemieux was the fastest girl at the meet in the 800-meter run (2:31.44) and placed second among all schools in the 400-meter run (1:04.49). Her 800-meter time is second best among 3A Alaska schools this year.

Jones topped girls from all Southeast schools in the discus (107’2") and placed second in the shot put overall (32’4"). Freshman Serena Badgley posted the meet’s longest triple jump (32’4") and placed second in 3A in the 100-meter dash (13.92 seconds).

Southeast 3A winners for the Haines boys included sophomore Patrick Henderson in the 800-meter run (2:10.55), senior Blake Hamilton in the 3,200-meter run (10:39.35), junior Devin Braaten in the 300-meter hurdles (44.66), and sophomore Chris Olsen in the triple jump (38’3.75".)

Haines boys also won their division in Southeast in the 4-by-100 relay (sophomore Caullen Taylor, junior Austin Badger, and freshmen Isaac Wing and Devin Light) in 47.78, and in the 4-by-200 relay (Taylor, Badger, Light and Braaten) in 1:39.36.

Other top Southeast 3A finishes for the girls included the 4-by-200 relay (junior Teolani Lynch, junior Marnie Rasmussen, Lemieux and Badgley) in 1:57.80, and the 4-by-400 relay (Lynch, junior Jackie St. Clair, Rasmussen and Lemieux) in 4:34.27.

Haines also placed athletes near the top of Southeast 3A in several events. Boys’ team members finishing in the top five in events included Taylor (3rd, 11.93) and Light (4th,12.21), 100-meter run; Badger (2nd, 24.71), 200-meter run; Badger (3rd, 55.46), 400-meter run; Hamilton, (5th, 2:16.70), 800-meter run; freshman Dalton Tuohy (2nd, 5:06.20) and sophomore Corey Piper (3rd, 5:16.05), 1,600-meter run; Henderson (2nd, 10:54.64), 3,200-meter run; Light (2nd, 17.33) and senior Hunter Badgley, (5th, 20.91), 110-meter hurdles; junior Brandon Haxton (2nd, 40’10.5") in shot put.

Haines boys got second place in 3A in the 4-by-400 relay (sophomore Mario Benassi, senior John Downer, Hamilton, sophomore Jimmy Thomsen) in 4:01.89 and in the 4-by-800 relay (Henderson, junior Brad Wilson, Piper, Hamilton.)

Top-five finishers on the Haines girls’ team included Rasmussen (4th, 31.01) 200 meters and (3rd, 1:06.81) in the 400 meters; freshman Libby Jacobson (5th, 2:54.24), 800 meters; sophomore Alisha Young (3rd, 29’8") in the shot put and (2nd, 91") in discus; freshman Isobel Smith (3rd, 71’5"), discus; Lynch (5th, 13’7.75"), long jump.

Haines girls placed second in the 4-by-100 relay (Lynch, Jones, Jacobson, Badgley) in 58.85 and second in the 4-by-800 meter relay (St. Clair, junior Cassie Galasso, junior Sierra Lari, Jacobson) in 12:33.56.

Finishers in the top five places in the region and runners-up with the four best performances statewide in an event advance to the state championship.

At the Haines Invitational Meet May 6-7, Haines boys took five first places overall against a field that included Juneau Douglas, Thunder Mountain, Sitka, Gustavus and Skagway.

They included Piper in the discus (118’) and 100-meter run (11.58); Braaten in the 100-meter hurdles (17.59); Hamilton in the 3,200-meter (10:57.87); and Haxton in shot pot (41’10.5").

The boys placed second overall behind Thunder Mountain and first among 3A squads. Other team finishes, in order, were Juneau Douglas, Sitka, Gustavus and Skagway.

Haines girls taking first-place finishes in the home meet were Young in the shot put (32’.05’’); Badgley in the 100-meter-run (14:12) and triple jump (30’9"); Jones in discus (99’6.5"); Lemieux in the 400-meter-run (1:07.57). The Haines girls also won the 4-by-800 relay in a time of 13:35.83.

The Haines girls finished third overall behind Sitka and Juneau Douglas, respectively. Finishing behind the Glacier Bears in the meet were Thunder Mountain, Gustavus and Skagway.