Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé needed to win the final event at Saturday’s Region V Track & Field Championships to secure the Division I boys title, and the Crimson Bears 4×400 relay team did just that with a six-second win over Ketchikan and 30 seconds over Thunder Mountain to finish with a total of 71 points to Kayhi’s 66 and Thunder Mountain’s 38.
“I think that was great,” JDHS coach Jesse Stringer said. “I think they all worked together really great as a team to make sure we were getting points on the field in throws, in jumps — our jumpers really came in clutch to get points — and the athletes that scored third and fourth place really worked hard to get two or one point. They knew how much that mattered and worked hard along with our leaders who were scoring the big points.”
Those final big points in the 4×400 were seniors Kyle Dusenberry, Robbie Gabel, Tobin Montalbo and junior anchor leg Wilder Dillingham with a time of 3:42.06 (2. KTN 3:48.94; 3. TMHS 4:12.54).
The scoring for all teams started in the long jump pit and saw one of the largest displays of heart, resilience and honor as TMHS senior Chase Darbonne leapt to an emotional win.
Darbonne’s father passed suddenly last week and with the support of his teammates, friends, family, school and community he found strength.
“I’m doing it for him,” Darbonne said.
Darbonne went 19’10 in the long jump (2. KTN sophomore Jason Lorig; 3. JDHS sophomore Andy Ramirez 19’0.25) and hit 40’0.5 to win the triple jump on Friday (2. KTN junior Jared Rhoads 38’4.5, 3. JDHS Ramirez 38’3).
“I had to go hard,” Darbonne said. “I had to finish, go all the way. This definitely helps the team a whole lot. Each event we are in helps the team no matter what place we get. This is important to me because… I am doing it for him.”
Lorig was voted the Division I Male Athlete of the Meet by virtue of winning the 100 meter dash in 10.69 (2. TMHS sophomore Jayden Johnson 11.08; 3. JDHS Montalbo 11.35) and the 200 in 22.98 (2. Montalbo 23.24; 3. TMHS Dillingham 23.26).
“It feels pretty good,” Lorig said after his 100 win. “It takes a lot of work to run it. A lot of practice to do, stuff like that. It’s pretty motivating to have people running after me but I’ll find out more at state, see how they run. I can go a lot faster.”
JDHS’ Dillingham, Montalbo, Gabel and junior Brendan West won the 4×200 in 1:35.28 (2. KTN 1:43.55; 3. TMHS DQ).
“First leg kind of sets the pace for how the race is going to go,” Dillingham said. “It’s really important for the first leg to come out really fast and try to get it to the next runner as fast as possible and then we just carry around the momentum from there. This was a really good race for our team.”
Dillingham also won the 400 meters in 51.72 (2. KTN junior Phoenix Boles 53.05; 3. TMHS senior Justus Caden 55.63).
JDHS’ 4×800 team of junior Leif St. Clair and sophomores Corder Janes, Finn Lamb and Nick Iverson posted a winning time of 8:58.22 (2. Ketchikan 9:36.20; 3. TMHS 10:00.26).
“This means we won a region event and get to go to state for it,” Iverson said. “Once we go up there and it is different competition we can get a real fast time up there.”
The TMHS Falcons fabulous football foursome of sophomore Jayden Johnson and seniors Lucas White, Jamal Johnson and Jarrell Williams ripped around the oval to win the 4×100 in 44.70 (2. KTN 46.30; 3. JDHS 49.51) and secured a top ranking in the state.
“This is important to me because these are my senior friends and they are going to be leaving me,” first leg Jayden Johnson said. “It is nice to be out here with them one last season.”
Second leg White said: “It is great because we get another dance… it’s like last dance for us. We are all graduating and leaving for college. Last time we compete with Jayden, it’s just a great last time to do something.”
Third leg Jamal Johnson said: “The last dance with these guys before we all head off. Just try to win another one.”
Anchor leg Williams said: “Quote it. Last dance, it really is. Just wanted a good experience for the four of us. I’m glad it is happening this way and hopefully at state we can do something.”
TMHS’ White and junior Silvester Montez earned points in the discus, hitting 95’5 and 92’4, respectively, for second and third (1. KTN junior Jared Rhoads 114’1).
JDHS junior Caden Johns won the 110 and 300 hurdles in 17.24 and 43.42, respectively, with TMHS sophomore Finley Hightower earning second in both (18.26 and 44.26).
“I think key for the hurdles is keeping concentration,” Johns said after the 110. “Knowing that whenever you get to the hurdle you just have to go over, even if you are behind, you have to keep pushing through. You have to get from the start to the finish. It is pretty fun getting J-D out here in all the events and hopefully win the regions.”
After the 300, Johns said the key is to “keep your speed. Maintain it. If you go out too fast you are going to die halfway through. It is kind of like the 400, I guess. At the end I had nothing left. By the last hurdle I was dead. I just tried to make sure I jumped over it.”
JDHS junior Edgar Vera Alvarado won the 1,600 meters in a personal record time of 4:46.14 (2. KTN freshman Carter Phillips 5:01.30; 3. JDHS sophomore Joshua Reed 5:09.92).
“The heat wasn’t a problem actually,” Vera Alvarado said. “It was feeling nice and comfortable. There was a nice breeze coming in on the sides but it was pretty difficult running out front with nobody to push. I mostly run by feel. I was hitting perfect splits by 200 meters so didn’t look at my watch at all, it just felt like a perfect race. It was pretty awesome and fun, I had nothing left. I think I gave it my all.”
Vera Alvarado also won the 3,200 on Friday in 10:18.80 (2. JDHS Reed 10:26.76; 3. KTN Phillips 10:48.12).
KTN sophomore Casey Styles won the 800 meters in 2:07.78 (2. JDHS Iverson 2:09.66; JDHS Lamb 2:10.70).
“Just going out fast,” Styles said. “Just trying to keep a head of everybody, that was my goal. I felt threatened through the whole entire thing, they were right behind me. My friends were yelling at me and I was dying, you know? For state I need to work on pacing.”
On Friday JDHS’ West won the high jump with 5’6 (2. KTN sophomore Trey Colbert 5’6; 3. Rhoads 5’4) and Colbert the shot with 40’7 (2. KTN senior Tyler Mannypenny 39’7.25; TMHS Montez 37’7.25).
“Both Juneau teams came into the meet with such good attitudes and they left with good attitudes,” JDHS’ Stringer said. “And doing that no matter what the outcome was. That is a really neat thing to be a part of. A team that is just going to celebrate the journey.”
The 2023 ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Track & Field State Championships are May 26-27 at Palmer High School.
• Contact reporter Klas Stolpe at Klas.Stolpe@juneauempire.com.