Juneau-Douglas High School’s Aaron Blust, right, accepts the baton from Owen Squires during a relay race at the Haines Invitational in Haines last weekend. (Courtesy Photo | Lori Giddings)

Juneau-Douglas High School’s Aaron Blust, right, accepts the baton from Owen Squires during a relay race at the Haines Invitational in Haines last weekend. (Courtesy Photo | Lori Giddings)

From pretenders to contenders: JDHS ready for Region V meet

Region V track meet begins Friday morning at TMHS

It’s been almost a decade since Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaat.at Kalé won the Region V Track & Field boys and girls titles in the same year.

The Crimson Bears might just have what it takes to do it this year, though.

JDHS grew by over a dozen athletes, and returned one of the strongest distance running corps in the state, including Sadie Tuckwood, Anna Iverson, Arne Ellefson-Carnes, Katie McKenna and Dalton Hoy. That distance running strength was one of the factors that reversed the tide for the Crimson Bears at the Capital City Invitational, which took place a little less than two weeks ago in Juneau.

The JDHS girls swept the 1600-meter race and the team placed first with 159 points. Thunder Mountain had 72.5 points and Ketchikan had 44 points. On the boys side, the Crimson Bears’ 94.5 points was just enough to slide past Ketchikan’s 88.5 points and Thunder Mountain’s 77 points.

“I’m really confident in the girls’ chances of winning — as long as we don’t have any injuries this week — we’re pretty strong across so many areas that that’ll help us,” JDHS coach Janette Gagnon said.

“On the boys side, it’s going to be a lot closer,” Gagnon added. “I’m hopeful that we can plan right and have some peak performances so we can take the crown for the boys, but Ketchikan is strong in a lot of areas. Where we have our strength in distance, they have their strength in hurdles and throwing.”

The Region V Track and Field Championships are this Friday and Saturday at Thunder Mountain High School, and JDHS, Thunder Mountain and Ketchikan will be in the running for the 4A championships.

Last year, Ketchikan won the 4A boys meet, Thunder Mountain won the 4A girls title and Sitka swept the 1A/2A/3A crowns.

TMHS coach Dwayne Duskin said what his team lacks depth this year, it makes up for in talent: Ali Beya (100 meters), Hannah Deer (400 meters), Iayanah Brewer (100 hurdles) and Tzadi Hauck (triple jump) each have top-10 marks in the state.

The field events begin at 11 a.m. on Friday and 8:30 a.m. on Saturday. The running events begin at 3 p.m. on Friday and 11 a.m. on Saturday.

• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or nainsworth@juneauempire.com. Follow Empire Sports on Twitter at @akempiresports.

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