Anchorage’s “The Dome,” an indoor track and turf field, was designed to conquer winter by providing a year-round, snow-free environment for athletes to train. But three months ago, winter conquered it.
The facility’s inflatable roof collapsed under the weight of snow and has been closed since.
The Juneau-Douglas High School track and field team, which has competed for the past two seasons in the “Big C Relays” at the facility, decided to reschedule that weekend.
“I did some research and looked around for something that would fit our team well,” assistant coach Jesse Stringer said, who found two such meets in Washington state.
The team competes Friday in Gig Harbor Washington with Gig Harbor and Yelm High Schools. Saturday, the team travels three hours east on Interstate-90 for the Don Holder Relays in Yakima, Washington.
“I wanted to find something comparable to Big C’s, like a big event that’s fun, maybe has some events that we won’t see for the rest of the season like the steeplechase, distance medley relay, we’ll get to watch the javelin,” Stringer said of the Yakima meet, which has over two schools signed up for it.
Head coach Janette Gagnon has family in the Yakima-area who has agreed to help lodge JDHS’ 18 athletes.
Gagnon admits the trip will be an experiment for the team.
“It’s a little scary because we haven’t had feet on the track that much,” she said.
The Adair-Kennedy track is still 3/4 covered in a foot of snow. The back 200 meters of the the track is also covered in an inch of ice.
“We haven’t really run a full lap this season on the track,” Stringer said following Wedneday’s practice at Adair-Kennedy. “We ran a lap over it today, but there’s ice back there, right? So we’re just going to go down there and see what we got and see what we can do — we’re in shape.”
Instead, much of the training runners like freshmen Anna Iverson has completed thus far has been on pavement — or snow.
“I’m excited that there won’t be a lot of snow,” Iverson said about the Washington trip. “Also I’ve never run anywhere else besides in Alaska for a meet. So I think it’ll be a neat experience and not a lot of teams get to do that.”
Iverson is one freshman to keep an eye on this season. She surprised herself and the rest of the state after placing 11th overall in the last year’s state cross country meet.
“We think it’ll work out good for her,” Gagnon said of Iverson’s shift from running trails to track.
Sadie Tuckerwood, the reigning state girls cross country champion, will train with both the JDHS track and soccer teams and will not be going on the Washington trip.
The eight other girls going for JDHS include: Kamy Hamrick, Gabryel Kito, Ashleigh and Gretchen Neal, Sophia Perry and Elizabeth Ramseth.
The boys side traveling also consists of nine members, including Tim McKenna, a long-distance runner.
“We know it’s probably going to be harder competition than we usually face,” McKenna said of the meet.
McKenna will be joined by Sahil Bathija, Arne Ellefson-Carnes, Dalton Hoy, Tomas Mesa, Shadrach Stitz, Cody and Tyler Weldon and John White on the trip.
JDHS Track schedule
March 31 @ Gig Harbor
April 1 @ Yakima (Don Holder Relays)
April 15 Guy Thibodeau All-Comers Meet
April 21-22 @ Ketchikan
April 28-29 @ Sitka
May 5-6 Capital Invite
May 12-13 @ Haines
May 19-20 Regionals
May 25-28 @ Palmer (State Meet)
June 3-4 @ Kodiak (Brian Young Invite)
*Home meets at Thunder Mountain High School
• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or firstname.lastname@example.org.