The Thunder Mountain High School girls track and field team nipped the Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé Crimson Bears by a point to defend their title at the Region V Track & Field Championships Friday and Saturday on Falcons Field.
“Overall it was a very competitive meet that saw a lot of personal records made,” TMHS coach Dwayne Duskin said. “I am looking forward to the state meet and seeing the results it produces.”
TMHS totaled 63 points to JDHS’ 62 and Ketchikan’s 49.
“One point,” JDHS coach Jesse Stringer said. “That is just good competition, you know, that’s what you want. So congratulations to Thunder Mountain. It was their day.”
TMHS senior Malloy Welling was voted the Outstanding Female Athlete of the Meet. Welling won Friday’s high jump with 4’8 (2. KTN senior Anneliese Hiatt 4’5; 3. JDHS sophomore Ayla Keller 4’0) and swept the hurdles Saturday, winning the 100 hurdles in 15.81 (2. KTN junior Linnea Loretan 17.81; 3. JDHS junior Hannah Brennell 18.80) and the 300 in 48.92 (2. Loretan 51.77; 3. JDHS freshman Isabella Reyes-Boyer 57.36).
“This could be a PR,” Welling said after the 100 hurdles. “I think we are doing really well in the team competition because we have a lot of really talented girls this year so I am excited to see how we place for that.”
The TMHS 4×200 relay team of Welling, twin sophomore sisters Kerra Baxter and Cailynn Baxter and junior Hayden Loggy-Smith won in 1:49.92 (2. KTN 2:06.78; 3. JDHS 2:18.84), setting a new school record by two seconds, one they had set last week.
“Well, it’s our second time running it,” Loggy-Smith said. “So we’re really happy about getting a PR twice and setting another school record with it.”
Welling said the first leg key is to get the lead: “You have to go all out because that kind of sets the tone for the rest of the race.”
Loggy-Smith noted that she has to “get the baton and gauge their speed and then get to the next person’s speed and just keep up even though you are really tired.”
Kerra Baxter said she just had to keep pushing in the third leg.
“I knew we were in the lead, and I fell after the hand off but I made it work, I fell in my own lane,” she said.
“It is definitely a team race,” C. Baxter, the fourth leg, said. “But being last leg is definitely how you finish it and really push yourself.”
The Baxter sisters also set personal records in the 100 meters, with Kerra finishing first and Cailynn second, respectively, in 13.31 and 13.41.
“I really think it is awesome,” K. Baxter said. “She’s my biggest competition. We hope for more up at state, and there will be.”
Cailynn Baxter said their sisterly rivalry makes her laugh.
“Sometimes during a race, but for sure at the finish,” she said.
Cailynn Baxter also won the long jump with a PR 17’0 leap (2. K. Baxter 16’5.75 PR; 3. KTN senior Anneliese Hiatt 14’2.75 PR) and Kerra Baxter won the triple jump Friday with a PR 33’8.5 (2. C. Baxter 33’5; 3. JDHS junior Hannah Brennell 28’9.5).
Loggy-Smith also won the 200 meters in 23.13 (2. KTN sophomore Clara Odden 28.49; 3. JDHS junior Rayna Tuckwood 29.55).
“I wanted to come out of the blocks really hard,” Loggy-Smith said. “And then really lean on the curve and build up the last 100 and just go for it. The next step for state is to work on my leg speed so I can move faster.”
JDHS junior Etta Eller won the 1,600 in 5:25.53 (2. JDHS sophomore Ida Meyer 5:27.06; 3. JDHS sophomore Pacific Ricke 5:36.50).
“It was a hard mile,” Eller said. “There is pressure because of the stakes of wanting to qualify for state and it’s hot out and I just learned a lot from this meet about obstacles, but it made it a lot easier running with really speedy teammates.”
Eller, junior Maisy Morley and freshmen Kate Schwarting and Siena Farr won the 4×400 in 4:28.18 (2. KTN 4:31.03; 3. TMHS 5:19.04).
JDHS junior Iris White, freshman Lua Mangaccat, Meyer and Schwarting opened Saturday’s running events with a 11:00.78 win in the 4×800 relay (2. KTN 11:20.78; 3. TMHS 12:27.64).
“I was really nervous about getting out there and getting a good strong start,” White said. “But everybody really helped push and it was good energy.”
Mangaccat said, “It was really fun just to get to do it.”
Meyer said: “I was just trying to keep even splits and not going too hard.”
Said Schwarting: “I think it was just being at home, staying in the lead, and it was fun.”
Schwarting also won the 800 in a PR 2:26.82 (2. Morley 2:34.27; 3. White 2:43.48).
“I have been running a lot of tempo laps in this,” Schwarting said. “Just pushing the first lap, going out faster than feels comfortable or normal is kind of what I was thinking. Then pushing in the back stretch because that is where it starts to hurt.”
Meyer won the 3,200 on Friday in 11:34.27 (2. Ricke 12:00.90; 3. Eller 12:12.99).
Ketchikan sophomore Clara Odden won the 400 in a PR 1:03.21 (2. TMHS Loggy-Smith 1:05.64; 3. JDHS Farr 1:10.11).
“My strategy is kind of just run a 200 and hope for the best for the rest of it,” Odden said. “I feel pretty good. It was fun. It kind of hurt but that’s okay. For state I really need to work on my form for the last 100 meters. Got to get a little stronger. Once I get that I think I should be okay.”
Ketchikan won the 4×100 relay in 55.52 (2. TM 58.99; 3. JDHS 1:04.43) with juniors Julia Biagi, Alyanna DelaCruz, Linnea Loretan and Odden.
“The handoffs were key to get to state,” Biagi said.
Biagi also won the discus with a PR toss of 84’10.5 (2. TMHS sophomore Amelia Lockwood 61’3; 3. KTN senior Kaylee Scamahorn 61’1).
Biagi’s winning throw wasn’t an outlier, as she had three other throws that eclipsed 80 feet.
“Normally, I’m pretty consistent,” Biagi said after the event, adding she was glad the weather stayed pleasant for the DI throwers.”I’m just glad it’s not raining.”
JDHS sophomore Ayla Keller won the shot put on Friday with a PR 27’2.25 (2. Biagi 26’9; 3. TMHS freshman Meliame Tupou 23’0).
The 2023 ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Track & Field State Championships are May 26-27 at Palmer High School.
• Contact Klas Stolpe at Klas.Stolpe@juneauempire.com. Ben Hohenstatt contributed to this article.