There’s more than just school bragging rights on the line whenever Ali Beya and Colton Johns race one another on the track.
That’s because the rivalry between sprinters from opposing schools — Beya is a sophomore at Thunder Mountain and Johns a freshman at Juneau-Douglas: Yadaa.at Kalé — goes deeper than that.
“He’s my cousin,” Johns said minutes after bursting across the finish line a half second behind his relative in the 100-meter dash on Saturday at the Region V Track and Field Championships. “So I like going out with him and I like having that feeling of, ‘I can catch him, I can go that little (bit) more.’”
The approximately 150 Southeast athletes participating in the two-day event all sought to find that “little bit more” as they competed across close to 20 disciplines at Thunder Mountain High School. The meet featured eight teams in all — JDHS, TMHS, Ketchikan, Sitka, Petersburg, Haines, Gustavus and Skagway. The Juneau and Ketchikan teams competed in the large schools or Division I classification, while the remaining five teams battled it out in the small schools or Division II classification.
JDHS claimed the Division I boys and girls titles with 68 and 86.5 points, respectively, marking a bold turn of events for the Crimson Bears. The Thunder Mountain boys and girls finished in second and Ketchikan took third.
Sitka won the 1A/2A/3A crowns by a long shot. The Wolves boys scored 162 points; the Wolves girls scored 184 points.
“That was the huge key for us, was the strength and the depth,” said JDHS coach Janette Gagnon, whose team last pulled off the region sweep in 2011. “It came from all levels — freshmen, sophomores, juniors, seniors, new athletes, veteran athletes, they all were putting their heart and soul on the track and they were working together.”
Senior Bailey Wery-Tagaban claimed the long and triple jump titles, junior Sadie Tuckwood won the 1600 and 3200-meter runs, freshman Johns won the long jump and Trinity Jackson took the 100 and 200-meter crowns.
“My top goal was to win regions, and I happened to get that goal,” Jackson said. “As a freshman, I was just trying to shoot high, seeing where I could land. I was really actually happy and didn’t expect it at all because I was looking at the competition and I didn’t expect it. I was like, ‘These girls are really fast.’”
There were several exciting finishes for Thunder Mountain athletes in the sprinting events. Beya twice beat his cousin by under a second to win the 100 and 200 and Tucker Kelly nipped JDHS’ Arne Ellefson-Carnes by two seconds to win the 1600.
Sitka set several new Region V records, one for the girls 400-meter dash, and one for the boys 4×800-meter relay.
The ASAA/First National Bank Alaska track state championships begin on Friday at Palmer High School. All Region V event winners automatically qualify for the meet, while non-winners that have top-16 marks in the state will also be invited to race on the big stage.
Region V Track and Field Championships
May 17-18, 2019, Thunder Mountain High School
Division I boys event winners: High jump: Jake Sleppy, JDHS, 5’ 2”; shot put: Puna Toutaiolepo, TMHS, 45’ 7.75”; triple jump: Ali Beya, TMHS, 37’ 6.50”; discus: Justice Yoder, Ketchikan, 127’ 1”; long jump: Colton Johns, JDHS, 18’ 11.75”; 110-meter hurdles: Christopher Carlson, Ketchikan, 17.71; 300-meter hurdles: Ivers Credito, Ketchikan, 44.54; 100 meters: Ali Beya, TMHS, 11.58; 200 meters: Ali Beya, TMHS, 23.84; 400 meters: Aiden Hollingsworth, JDHS, 55.24; 800 meters: Dalton Hoy, JDHS, 2:06.38; 1600 meters: Tucker Kelly, TMHS, 4:34.19; 3200 meters: Arne Ellefson-Carnes, JDHS, 10:02.63; 4×100 relay: JDHS, 46.90; 4×200 relay: Ketchikan, 1:39.41; 4×400 relay: JDHS, 3:42.62; 4×800 relay: JDHS, 8:37.09.
Division I girls event winners: High jump: Sophia Harvey, TMHS, 4’ 6”; shot put: Jenae Rhoads, Ketchikan, 28’ 6”; triple jump: Bailey Wery-Tagaban, JDHS, 34’ 7.75”; discus: Lainey Rehder, JDHS, 85’ 9”; long jump: Bailey Wery-Tagaban, JDHS, 16’ 1.5”; 100-meter hurdles: Iayanah Brewer, TMHS, 16.66; 300-meter hurdles: Ada Odden, Ketchikan, 49.19; 100 meters: Trinity Jackson, JDHS, 13.24; 200 meters: Trinity Jackson, JDHS, 27.65; 400 meters: Hannah Deer, TMHS, 1:01.64; 800 meters: Katie McKenna, JDHS, 2:35.41; 1600 meters: Sadie Tuckwood, JDHS, 5:17.45; 3200 meters: Sadie Tuckwood, JDHS, 10:02.63; 4×100 relay: TMHS, 51.85; 4×200 relay: JDHS, 2:04.39; 4×400 relay: JDHS, 4:27.23; 4×800 relay: JDHS, 10:45.93.
Boys Unified Results: 100-meter dash: Sitka, 27.38; shot put: Sitka, 61’ 2.75”; long jump: Sitka, 27’ 4.5”.
Girls Unified Results: 100-meter dash: Sitka, 41.23; shot put: Sitka, 33’ 7.75”.
Athletes of the Meet: Ali Beya, Sadie Tuckwood, Aiden Luhrs, Joei Vidad.
Sportsmanship Award: JDHS.
• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or email@example.com. Follow Empire Sports on Twitter at @akempiresports.