Track teams near top at state championship
Senior hurdler Devin Braaten, notching his fastest times of the season, led the Haines boys to a third-place finish in a field of 18 teams at the Alaska state track and field championship meet last weekend in Fairbanks.
With 82.33 points, the Glacier Bear boys finished just behind Anchorage Christian, 88 points, and not far from meet winner Grace Christian, 99 points.
The Haines girls placed fifth of 16 squads with top finishes from junior Alisha Young, senior Hannah Wing, and sophomore Serena Badgley.
“It was exemplary. The kids did a tremendous job all season long,” said first-year coach Ray Chapin. “I’d like to see this momentum carry forward, bring new kids into the program and keep it strong. We’re creating quite a name for ourselves in track and field.”
Braaten, who recently was awarded a track scholarship to college, won the 100-meter hurdles in Fairbanks by more than a second. But he wasn’t expecting to beat Jordan Railing of Anchorage Christian in the 300-meter race.
Braaten said he was hoping to just keep ahead of Petersburg’s Joe Zarlengo, who was in third place, when he realized his surge put him within striking distance of victory. The final hurdle came at a good place in his stride, Braaten said, and he nipped Railing by .02 seconds.
His finish time was a two-second improvement for the year and nearly three seconds faster than his winning time at the regional championships two weeks ago. “He’s a great athlete and has had a great senior year,” said coach Chapin.
Braaten, along with junior Caullen Taylor and sophomores Devin Light and Isaac Wing, also won the 4 by 100-meter relay.
Light and senior Brandon Haxton grabbed the only other first-place finishes for the boys. Light was 11.61 in the 100-meter dash, well ahead of second-place Donovan Drew of Delta Junction at 11.74. Haxton’s discus toss of 135’9’’ beat Grant George of Grace Christian by more than a foot. Haxton also placed fifth in the shot put with a toss of 43’.75”.
Other top finishes for Haines included junior Chris Olsen’s second-place in the triple jump, 36’10.25 and Light’s third-place leap in the long jump, 18’8.25”. Fourth places went to Patrick Henderson in the high jump, 5’6”, and Tyler Swinton’s 131’01” toss in the discus. The winning high jump was 5’10”.
Henderson placed sixth in the 800-meters in 2.06.10, his best time of the season in the grueling event that’s halfway between a sprint and a distance run.
Relay finishes for the boys included third place in the 4 by 200-meter, Taylor, Wing, Light and Olsen, 1:38.50; 7th, 4 by 400-meter, junior Zach Rossman, sophomore Chevy Fowler, sophomore Kai Sato-Franks, and Olsen, 4:01.68, and 6th, 4 by 800-meter, junior Corey Piper, junior Brandon Bachman, Rossman and Henderson.
Haines girls competed well but several were off their best performances of the year. Grace Christian won the meet, followed by squads from Anchorage Christian, Monroe Catholic and Cook Inlet Academy.
Seniors Hannah Wing and Marnie Rasmussen posted surprising performances. Wing was ranked fourth but took second in the 100-meter dash with a time of 13.75, off her best time of 13.55. Rasmussen, who wasn’t ranked in the top 10, placed seventh in the 400-meter dash in 1:09.10.
Season standout Alisha Young, a junior, again led the girls in individual events. Young placed second in the discus with a throw of 96’8”, a distance short of her season-best, 101’8”. The winning toss was 102’2”. Young got fourth in shot with 30’11.5”, about a foot shy of her best performance of the season but still about four feet off the day’s winning toss.
Sophomore Serena Badgley placed third in the triple jump and may have had trouble with winds in Fairbanks, coach Chapin said. Badgley’s top season jump was 33’4.5”, a hop-skip-jump that would have put her on the winner’s stand.
Freshman Zayla Asquith-Heinz placed eighth in the 1,600-meter run in 5:59.41.
Relay finishes included a season-best time in the 4 by 400-meter event, 5th, sophomore Libby Jacobson, Asquith-Heinz, senior Anna Jacobson, and Rasmussen, 4:39.70; 4 by 200-meter, 4th, Badgley, freshman Celia Bower, Rasmussen and Wing, 1:56.48; 4 by 800-meter, 5th, L. Jacobson, A. Jacobson, freshman Jennie Humphrey and Asquith-Heinz; 4 by 100-meter, 6th, Badgley, Young, Bower and Wing, 57.64.