Thunder Mountain High School recent graduate Mallory Welling, shown at last weekend’s ASAA state track and field meet, will compete at the Brian Young Invitational, Friday and Saturday, in Kodiak. (Jeff Helminiak / Peninsula Clarion)

Thunder Mountain High School recent graduate Mallory Welling, shown at last weekend’s ASAA state track and field meet, will compete at the Brian Young Invitational, Friday and Saturday, in Kodiak. (Jeff Helminiak / Peninsula Clarion)

Southeast track stars to challenge records

One final hurdle for athletes at Kodiak’s Brian Young Invitational

Southeast Alaska track and field athletes will compete as part of team North Southeast in the Brian Young Invitational on Friday and Saturday in Kodiak. The event is a state All-Star meet.

The BYI meet is sanctioned by United States Track & Field Association and will run in conjunction with the USATF Alaska Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships, a Junior Olympic qualifying event.

“The athletes will be doing pretty much the same events they have been doing and they did at state,” Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé track coach Jesse Stringer said. “The big difference is that when we create relay teams they will be on relay teams with athletes that have been their competition. It is a fun atmosphere and is put on in a way that the competition level is extremely high, yet all the athletes are having an exceptional experience. Just a really fun competition.”

Thunder Mountain senior Mallory Welling, JDHS juniors Etta Eller, Maisy Morley, Edgar Vera Alvarado and Wilder Dillingham, freshman Kate Schwarting and Floyd Dryden Middle School seventh grader Bella Connally will join Sitka seniors Anna Prussian and Silas Demmert, sophomores Clare Mullin, Trey Demmert and Connor Hitchcock, Haines senior Luke Davis, and Ketchikan sophomore Jason Lorig in a combined team entitled North Southeast, which will also include athletes from Lathrop and West Valley.

JDHS junior Wilder Dillingham, shown at last weekend’s ASAA state track and field meet, will compete at the Brian Young Invitational, Friday and Saturday, in Kodiak. (Jeff Helminiak / Peninsula Clarion)

JDHS junior Wilder Dillingham, shown at last weekend’s ASAA state track and field meet, will compete at the Brian Young Invitational, Friday and Saturday, in Kodiak. (Jeff Helminiak / Peninsula Clarion)

“One benefit is they get one more meet after state,” Stringer said. “The pressure is relieved, it is really just a local meet feel with the best athletes in the state. In addition, something new this year is that it is two meets in one, the Brian Young Invitational and also the state Junior Olympics competition. Another neat thing is college coaches look at this meet. It is another chance for athletes to make marks.”

Team North Southeast, co-coached by Stringer and TMHS’ Brandi Adams, will compete against teams Cook Inlet Conference and South Central All-Stars.

“I hope to take away a great experience,” Welling said. “Half the fun of the Brian Young is getting to compete against the best people in the state, and the other half is just getting to have fun in a beautiful place and getting to travel without as much stress as other meets.”

At last weekend’s ASAA State Track & Field Championships in Palmer, Welling was within tenths of a second in the 100 hurdles, hitting 15.95 to the 15.25 winning time from East senior Olyvia Mamae. Welling was a close second in the 300 hurdles, finishing in 47.92 behind Soldotna sophomore Anaulie Sedivy in 47.91.

Welling said the races showed her “sportsmanship and just self-satisfaction which can only come from putting your all in like I did in the 300.”

Eller will work on distance improvements, hoping to better her second-place state time of 11:30.85 in the 3,200 won by Chugiak senior Campbell Peterson in 11:16.54. Eller will also try and improve her third place state time of 5:23.90 in the 1,600, won by Peterson in 5:10.95. Morley and Schwarting will work on middle distances. Schwarting placed third in the 800 with 2:24.06, won by Chugiak senior Addison Capozzi in 2:21.29.

JDHS junior Etta Eller, shown at last weekend’s ASAA state track and field meet, will compete at the Brian Young Invitational, Friday and Saturday, in Kodiak. (Jeff Helminiak / Peninsula Clarion)

JDHS junior Etta Eller, shown at last weekend’s ASAA state track and field meet, will compete at the Brian Young Invitational, Friday and Saturday, in Kodiak. (Jeff Helminiak / Peninsula Clarion)

Ketchikan’s Lorig won the 100 meters in 11.26. Sitka’s Prussian won the 3,200 in 12:12.59, Mullin won the 800 in 2:24.85 and the 1,600 in 5:21.87 (Prussian 2nd in 5:34.66).

Sitka’s Silas Demmert, Trey Demmert, Hitchcock and Haines’ Davis will look to improve their distance times. S. Demmert placed fourth in the 1,600 in 4:31.04 and fifth in the 3,200 in 9:47.94.

JDHS’ Dillingham will work on his sprint distances, he placed fifth in the 400 with 51.54, and Vera Alvarado will enter the longer distance events hoping to improve his 1,600 time of 4:45.90 (14th at state) and his 3,200 time of 10:15.57 (8th at state).

The athletes may also combine for a relay or two depending on practice time. For instance, last year Welling was part of a 400 relay team.

“It was the first time I ran a 400 competitively, but I did it as part of the 4×4,” Welling said. “And that was probably the funnest race I have ever done because I got to run with Claire Mullin and Anna Prussian and Trinity Jackson (2022 JDHS senior). Just getting to throw that team together and do something new was really fun.”

This will be the 10th installment of the invitational, which honors namesake Brian Young, an avid sports fan, volunteer, father and lifelong fisherman who passed away in 2011 after summiting Denali. The meet is orchestrated by former Kodiak High coach Marcus Dunbar.

Dunbar, a top runner in his own right, is known for saying, “If you’re going to do something, do it right.”

• Contact Klas Stolpe at klas.stolpe@juneauempire.com.

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