Members of the Thunder Mountain High School track and field team practice at TMHS on Thursday, April 13, 2017. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Members of the Thunder Mountain High School track and field team practice at TMHS on Thursday, April 13, 2017. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Falcons upperclassmen shine in first track meet

The Thunder Mountain High School upperclassmen and Juneau-Douglas High School underclassmen excelled in the Ketchikan Invitational this past weekend. The invitational was the first official meet of the high school season, now in full-swing with meets every coming weekend until the end of May.

Both teams head to Sitka this weekend for the Sitka Invitational before TMHS hosts the Capital City Invite May 5-6 in Juneau.

The TMHS boys (164 points) and Petersburg girls (155 points) won their respective sides in the meet. The Falcons scored big in the sprints and relays despite missing senior Aiden Hildebrand, the only returner on last year’s state champion-winning 4×100-meter relay team. Hildebrand is expected to join the team after the cheer season concludes.

The Falcon boys won every relay in the meet while the TMHS girls won all but one of the relays they competed in (4×200).

TMHS junior Erick Whisenant ran a breakout meet, helping both the 4×100 and 4×200 relays to first place while also winning his individual events in the 100 and 200-meter dash. He finished the 100-meter dash in 11.71 seconds and 200-meter dash in 23.85 seconds.

“It was so amazing, honestly,” Whisenant said at practice Monday evening at TMHS. “I felt so good, I was so excited. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten first but this week, it was like, ‘Yeah, this is my year.’”

Whisenant is thrilled to be one of the three replacements on last year’s state championship-winning 4×100 team.

“I finally get to be part of this relay whose actually really, really good. Heck yeah, I’ve been waiting three years for this,” Whisenant said.

Other TMHS upperclassmen with first or second-place individual finishes included: Erin Wallace (800, 1600, 3200) Garth Tupou (discus, shot put), Gabe Crawford (triple and long jump, 110 hurdles), Jonah Penrose (1600), Ally Heaton (100) and Alvin Ailey (400, high jump).

Ailey, a newcomer to TMHS with high-jumping experience in Oregon, suprised himself in the 400 meter.

“I was really suprised by the 400 [win] because in the prelims I had gotten third,” Ailey said. “It’s one of my favorite events, but not my best,” Ailey said.

Juneau-Douglas finished fourth and fifth respectively in the team scores, not bad for the small but potent batch of 23 Crimson Bears that competed at the Ketchikan Invite.

The boys and girls 1600 meter races best highlighted the youth and speed of JDHS.

Reigning Gatorade State Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year and JDHS freshman Sadie Tuckwood won the 1600 meter in 5 minutes, 33 seconds. Finishing less than 20 seconds behind Tuckwood was JDHS’ Anna Iverson, good for third place.

On the boys side, sophomore Arne Ellefson-Carnes finished second in the 1600. Ellefson-Carnes clocked in at 4 minutes, 56 seconds. Shadrach Stitz finished sixth in the 1600 — eight seconds and four spots behind Ellefson-Carnes — proving just how tight of a race it was.

“All athletes are showing potential for a fantastic season, as their times, throws, and jumps are at or just below where they ended the season last year,” JDHS track coach Janette Gagnon said.

If anyone is interested in helping out at the Capital City invitational May 5-6 or Region V Championships May 19-20, please contact Scott May at 790-4544.


Girls team scores

Petersburg – 155

Sitka – 147

Thunder Mountain – 91

Juneau-Douglas – 58

Ketchikan – 29

Gustavus – 16

Boys team scores

Thunder Mountain – 164

Sitka/Ketchikan – 116

Petersburg – 60

Haines – 28

Juneau-Douglas – 21

Thorne Bay – 13



• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or



More in Sports

Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire
PHOTOS: An enormous roundup from the Gold Medal Basketball Tournament

The Juneau Empire’s expanded coverage of the Juneau Lions Club 74th Gold… Continue reading

C Bracket champions Filcom pose with their trophy. (left to right) Charlie Herrington, Alex Heumann, Tom Gizler, Adam Brown, Mike Lim, Andrew Malacas, Nino Bohulano, Ray Zimmer, Larry Cooper, Ronin Tagsip and Jason Haskell at the Gold Medal Basketball Tournament, Saturday, March 25, at Juneau-Douglas High School: Kalé. (Klas Stolpe/For the Juneau Empire)
Juneau’s Filcom wins Gold Medal C Bracket Championship

Filcom caps undefeated tournament run with 73-49 win over Klukwan

POW’s Gold Medal Champions: Lillian Borromeo, Molly Sharp, Michaela Demmert, Nani Weimer, Tina Steffen, Elizabeth Isaacs, Kenai Holein and Cassie Williams. (Klas Stolpe/For the Juneau Empire)
Prince of Wales defeats Yakutat for women’s title at Gold Medal

Prince of Wales claims town’s sixth championship with 79-38 win.

Hoonah’s Masters Bracket team poses for a group photo on Saturday after being crowned this year’s champs for the M bracket in the Gold Medal Basketball Tournament at JDHS. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
Hoonah crowned Gold Medal Masters Bracket champs

Hoonah’s Albert Hinchman named MVP.

Jesse McGraw, Matt Carle and Andrew Friske pose for a photo after their induction into the Gold Medal Hall of Fame, Friday, March 24, during the Juneau Lions Club 74th Annual Gold Medal Basketball Tournament at the Juneau-Douglas High School: Kalé gymnasium. (Klas Stolpe/For the Juneau Empire)
Friske, McGraw and Carle Inducted into Gold Medal Hall of Fame

Two teammates and one opponent share selection night together

Hydaburg’s George Peratrovich tips in teammate Vinnie Edenshaw’s missed free throw with 0.3 seconds remaining in overtime, forching a second overtime in a win over Angoon during Friday night’s elimination game at the Gold Medal Tournament in Juneau. (Klas Stolpe/For the Juneau Empire)
Hydaburg heroics eliminate Angoon 94-89 in 2-OT thriller

A game-tying play with just .3 seconds to go is just the tip of the iceberg.

Klukwan’s Daniel Stickler (0) defends a shot by Hoonah’s Lucas Johnson (21) during Friday’s C Bracket elimination game. Klukwan won 78-65 and will play Juneau Filcom in Saturday’s championship. (Klas Stolpe/For the Juneau Empire)
Klukwan advances to title game, eliminates Hoonah 78-65

Two team members elected to HOF before physical C Bracket court play.

Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File 
TMHS Kerra Baxter fights for the rebound against JDHS during Region V tournament play. The Lady Falcons won their game on Friday against Dimond in Anchorage as part of this year’s ASAA competition. TMHS will now face off against JDHS on Saturday.
Big day in Anchorage for Juneau high school basketball

JDHS vs. TMHS at state on Saturday.

Most Read