The long distance and assorted field events marked the first scoring results of the 2023 Region V Track & Field Championships at Thunder Mountain High School in Juneau.
Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé lead the DI girls with 20 points, followed by Thunder Mountain’s 16 and Ketchikan’s 7. The Ketchikan boys lead with 19 points, JDHS has 16 and TMHS nine. The Sitka boys and girls lead the DII championships with 50 and 65 points, respectively.
The 3200 meters, high jump, triple jump and shot put were the main events of the first day of action with all other races being preliminary.
JDHS junior Brendan West hit a personal record to win the DI boys high jump with 5’6, earning less misses at that height than Ketchikan sophomore Trey Colbert who opted to try 5’8 but displaced the bar three times.
“It’s great for the team,” West said. “I’m sure the rest of the team is hyped and I’m excited to see how the rest of the events go down. The cheering from my teammates helped me hit the PR and our other high jumper Paul (King) and the coaches giving me advice between jumps helped.”
Thunder Mountain senior Mallory Welling won the DI girls high jump with a 4’8 with Kayhi senior Anneliese Hiatt second at 4’5 and JDHS sophomore Ayla Keller third with 4’0.
“It’s nice,” Welling said. “Now it’s kind of on to the next thing because my running events are going to be tough endurance-wise, especially because they are the hurdles so I really need to focus. I’m happy to win the points for the team.”
Gustavus junior Molly Johnson surprised herself with a 4’2 PR to win the girls DII high jump.
“I’m going to call my mom,” an emotional Johnson said. “I didn’t expect to win my last meet with this team. We don’t have a track. We jump in front of the school. This was my best jump. I can’t stop crying.”
Johnson is moving into Juneau next season and will attend TMHS.
Sitka sophomore Trey Demmert earned the boys DII high jump title with a PR 5’6.
“I feel pretty good,” Demmert said. “I couldn’t clear five-eight but it’s all good. I’ll have to do better at state. We got some good team points.”
The 3200 meters combined DI and DII runners in their races but scored them separately.
JDHS junior Edgar Vera Alvarado won the DI boys 3200 in a PR 10:18.80 while Sitka senior Silas Demmert led the group pack to win the DII boys 3200 in a PR 9:44.95.
“A lot of pain,” Demmert said. “A lot of effort. Just all the miles I put in this year paid off. Senior year, last year. I’m looking to leave a name for myself, in a sense. I think all the work I have put in the past four years of running led up to this moment, just being a senior at Sitka High.”
Sitka had 94 athletes turn out for track this season.
“Our team is about a lot of effort and hard work,” said Demmert. “Being a teammate is something I really learned the value of. How not to, necessarily, do what you can for yourself but what you can for the future of a program. I think I got a lot of that from the runners before me and I can hope that I am a good influence to the younger guys. That is a Sitka High track value, finding ways to improve the program.”
JDHS sophomore Ida Meyer and classmate Pacific Ricke set PRs in a one-two finish in the DI girls 3200 meters with 11:34.27 and 12:00.90, respectively, leading a Crimson Bears podium sweep that included Juniors Etta Eller and Rayna Tuckwood going third-fourth.
“It just came from, I don’t know, the good weather,” Meyer said. “This was good race weather. And then I started running and thought ‘this feels pretty good’ so I just kept the pace and ran negative splits like I planned. I was really inspired by my teammates.”
Sitka senior Anna Prussian won the girls DII 3200 in 11:50.24.
Kayhi sophomore Trey Colbert won the DI boys shot put with a PR push of 40’7 and JDHS sophomore Ayla Keller won the DI girls shot with a PR 27’2.25.
“It was a surprise,” Colbert said. “I have been working on it a lot but I was really surprised to throw 40. My PR before was 37’10. Juneau weather, that’s what it is.”
Gustavus junior Madeline Wagner won the DII girls shot with a PR 31’10.5 and Yakutat sophomore Petersen Dylan won the boys DII shot with a PR 37’2.75.
“It feels great,” Dylan said. “I did not expect winning regionals. The first month in Yakutat we practice on a dirt road, throwing behind our school. Later on when the snow melted we went up to a concrete basketball court outside and threw off that. We made our discus and shot put rink out of spray paint. I bet this is pretty cool for us.”
TMHS sophomore twins Kerra and Cailynn Baxter swept the girls DI triple jump with 33’8.5 and 33’5, respectively, and Sitka sophomore Ada Parker won the girls DII triple with 32’0.75.
TMHS senior Chase Darbonne won the boys DI triple jump with a 40’0.5 effort and Petersburg junior Hendrik Cumps won the boys DII triple with a PR 39’8.75.