JC Davis during a 110 meter hurdle (Matt Davis photo)
JC Davis during a 110 meter hurdle (Matt Davis photo)

Glacier Bears athletes bounced back from a hectic week of travel to crack the top 10 in several individual events at state track and field championships in Anchorage over the weekend. 

The Bears were led by senior Gracie Stickler, who nabbed fourth place in the girls shot put with a 31-foot 8-inch throw. 

“The nerves definitely build up more when there are more girls there,” said Stickler. “It wasn’t my PR but it was still good.” 

Stickler’s best was a 32-foot, 3-inch throw. She said she was working on using momentum to spin across the ring quickly. She wasn’t far from her personal record, but felt she had more to give. 

“It didn’t really click,” she said. 

Several of the 11 athletes had similar experiences at the state meet with performances they said didn’t quite live up to their aspirations. Still, head coach Jessie Sanders said the season was a success. 

“There were some learning opportunities that only growth will come from with a young team. We’re already excited about the 2025 season and the sky’s the limit for what this team can accomplish,” he said. 

Three athletes, including Stickler, graduated this year, and Sanders said there are already new athletes hoping to compete next year. 

The 11-person state team contended not just with the steep competition, but also a hectic travel schedule during the last week of the semester. After their flight was canceled on the tarmac from Ketchikan, the team was forced to take a 40-hour ferry ride and arrived the morning of senior graduation. The next morning, the team set off for the 15-hour drive to Anchorage with a quick stop in Tok. 

“It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was. I only had a couple of finals to do. I was able to organize my life a little,” said JC Davis. 

Only a handful of Bears athletes nabbed personal bests during the meet, which was held at Dimond High School. Davis hit a new personal record during his preliminary for the 110-meter hurdles, but settled for fifth in the final in that event. 

“Nothing really went wrong. I just wasn’t running as fast as the other guys,” said Davis. “I wanted to place, but that’s okay because I’m a sophomore.”

Davis showed impressive consistency in the three events he qualified for. He finished fifth in the 300-meter hurdles — about a half second from his personal record — and fifth in the discus with a 108-foot throw.

Phoenix Swanner also didn’t quite match his personal best. He fell short in the high jump by two inches but nabbed a solid eighth place finish. He said this was his first time competing in the high jump at state.

Some small technical issues came up during the season that he tried to correct along with jumping coach Hailey Sanders. 

“I kept rolling my back too soon causing hips to hit the bar,” Swanner said. 

Still he was happy with his finish. He said he was worn out after all the travel, but the “adrenaline kicked in” when he arrived at the Dimond High track. 

He said he’s motivated to stay in shape this year mostly through training for basketball, but hopes to give the high jump one more go a year from now. 

Glacier Bears state performances

JC Davis 

5th in 110 Hurdles 17.96 

5th in 300m hurdles 44.53

5th in discus 108’ 04’’

Andrew Hansen 

4th in 1600m 5:01.48

15th in 3200m 11:00.65

Phoenix Swanner 

8th in high jump 5’06’’

Sarah Jones 

15th in 100 m 14.29

15th in 200 m 29.63 (PR)

Ari’el Godinez Long 

7th 800m 2:33.62 (PR)

13th in triple jump 28’00.75

Lilly Robinson 

10th in 100m hurdles 20.06

Ashlyn Ganey, Sydney Salmon, Ari’el Godinez Long, Sarah Jones

7th in 4x200m relay 2:02.26 (PR)

Gracie Stickler 

4th place in shot put 31’ 08.5’’

Emma Dohrn 

10th in discus 81’10’’