Six runners dash to Anchorage for state meet in nine events
May 24, 2018
Six members of the Haines High School track team, including five underclassmen, are on their way to Palmer for state competition after qualifying at last weekend's regional meet at Thunder Mountain High School.
Freshmen Haley Boron, Mark Davis and Wesley Verhamme, sophomores Siyel George and Becca Wheeler, and junior Kamakana Kanahele will each compete in several events at the statewide meet May 25-26. For all but George, this is their first time making it to the state meet.
"This is a great showing for Haines at the state meet entering nine different events in the boys' and girls' meets," coach Pete Degen said.
Davis said he was really happy to make it to state in his first year on the team.
"I wasn't sure I was going to make it in anything," Davis said. "I really like the 300-meter hurdles. There aren't that many people who run it, so coach Degen said make sure you get a good time, and I did." Davis placed fourth in the event with a personal record of 47.28 seconds, beating his time at the Juneau Invitational Meet by three seconds. "I'm really happy about it," he said.
Wheeler said she accomplished her goals by qualifying for state in shot put and discus for the first time. "It's pretty great," she said. She placed fourth in shot put with a personal record distance of 26 feet, 3.75 inches. She also placed third in discus. When asked if she was nervous to face off against the best in the state, Wheeler said, "I'm not nervous, just excited. I'm going to try to throw and not think about anything else."
Degen said the accomplishments of the entire team are noteworthy. In the regional meet in Juneau, all 19 athletes set personal records in nearly all of their respective events. Twelve of the 19 team members set personal records in all of the events they entered, Degen said.
"At the start of the season I told the kids that my goal was for them to improve at every stage of the season and that they must compete against themselves for improvement first and foremost," Degen said. "This is what Joan (Degen) and I reinforced throughout the spring. And so far, the kids have risen to that expectation."
Degen said he hopes at the state meet the goal of personal improvement continues. "We go there respecting our competition and relishing in the fact that some of the team have the opportunity to compete one more time this season. It will be a time of learning, just as the previous meets have been for the entire team," he said.
The students will compete in the following events: Siyel George – 800-meter run, 1,600-meter run, 3,200-meter run; Haley Boron – 100-meter dash, discus; Mark Davis – 300-meter hurdles; Kamakana Kanahele - Discus; Wesley Verhamme - Shot put and discus throw; Becca Wheeler - Shot put and discus.