Haines track teams win Southeast titles
Chris Olsen of Haines leaps in the triple jump at last week's Southeast championship track meet. Olsen won the event, jumping a distance that was the best of any jumper in the region. Lori Giddings photo.
Glacier Bear athletes competed in as many as four events each to capture the boys’ and girls’ 3A division crowns at last weekend’s Region V Track and Field Championship, held in a windy, winter-like, rainstorm at Juneau’s Thunder Mountain High School.
Saturday’s high temperature in the capital city was 43 F.
“Holy mackerel,” said throwing coach Jim Stanford. “I’ve never seen anything like it. The kids from Haines lit a fire on the track and in the field.”
Runners, jumpers and throwers from Haines topped even performances by athletes from Southeast’s largest schools in nine events, six of them in the field. Twenty-five Glacier Bears qualified for this weekend’s state championship in Fairbanks.
Junior Alisha Young led all Haines scorers and helped power the girls past Petersburg, 158-145. Young won the discus throw and shot put, ran on the first-place 4-by-100 relay team and snatched fifth place in the 100-meter hurdles.
“Every point counts,” she said in an interview this week.
Young started pitching a shot in eighth-grade but hadn’t sprinted or tried hurdles until this season. “Kids from Haines are just natural athletes,” she said. “Everybody does everything. We’ve been practicing hard and we have good coaches who are really patient.”
Teammate and senior Marnie Rasmussen also scored in four events, winning the 400-meter dash, placing fourth in the 200 meters and running on two, second-place relay squads. Freshman phenom Zayla Asquith-Heinz won the 1,600-meter run and placed second at 3,200 meters.
Sophomore Serena Badgley’s triple jump of 32’8.5” topped all girls in Southeast, as did senior Hannah Wing’s 13.55 seconds in the 100-meter dash and Young’s put of 31’3”. Badgley was third in the 100-meter dash, and ran on the relay teams that finished first and second.
Field coach Stanford said, “You can’t single out any one kid. There were gutsy performances by almost everyone on the squad.” For the girls, that included some impressive freshman finishes.
Freshman Celia Bower placed second in discus and fourth in shot put and ran a leg on the winning 4-by-100 relay. Classmate Natalia Taylor got third in the 400-meter dash, notched a fifth in the 300-meter hurdles, and helped the 4-by-400 relay squad to a second-place finish.
Freshman Jennie Humphrey squeezed between senior Anna Jacobson and sophomore sister Libby Jacobson, respectively, to help Haines score second, third and fourth in the 800-meter run. Humphrey also ran on two, second-place relay teams.
Other Haines scorers included junior Karlie Spud in discus throw, 5th; Anna Jacobson, Libby Jacobson and senior Sierra Lari in the 4-by-800 relay, 2nd; Hannah Wing in the 4-by-100 relay, 1st; junior Jess Giddings and Wing in the 4-by-200 relay, 2nd; and Anna Jacobson in the 4-by400 relay, 2nd.
Similarly, a combination of team veterans and some talented, green recruits lifted the Haines boys well above second-place Sitka, 180-128. Senior Devin Braaten led scorers, winning the 110-meter and 300-meter hurdle events in times that topped all schools, and running on the first-place 4-by-100 team relay and second-place 4-by-200 squad.
Sophomore Devin Light won the 100-meter dash, placed second in the long jump, and ran on the winning 4-by-100 squad and second-place 4-by-200 squads.
Junior long-distance runner Corey Piper placed second in the 1,600-meter and 3,200 meter runs and helped teammates to second in the 4-by-800 meter relay. Senior Brandon Haxton put the shot a meet-high 45’2.5” and placed second in discus.
The meet’s biggest surprises belonged to junior Patrick Henderson, who won high jump with a meet-high leap of 5’8’’ and also won the 800-meter run, and rookie senior Tyler Swinton, who won the discus after just six weeks at the event. He also placed fourth in shot put.
Swinton said he went out for track only to get in some workouts and wasn’t expecting to compete. At first he couldn’t throw the discus half the length of the gym. “After I got the hang of it, I took to it. A lot of it is how it comes off your fingers, and your hand position,” he said this week.
Junior Chris Olsen’s winning triple jump topped all meet competitors. He also placed fourth in the 400-meter dash and ran on the boys’ winning 4-by-400 team. Sophomore Isaac Wing placed second in the 200-meter dash and ran on the winning 4-by-100 relay and second-place 200-meter relay. Junior Caullen Taylor was on the same two relay teams and placed third in the 100-meter dash.
Sophomore Kai Sato-Franks placed fifth in the 800-meter run. Sato-Franks, junior Zack Rossman, sophomore Chevy Fowler combined with Olsen to win the 4-by-400 relay. Junior Reik Fischer was third in high jump. Junior Brandon Bachman, freshman Jordan Badger and freshman Keanu Lynch also will travel to state.