For Janette Gagnon, the Juneau-Douglas track and field coach, small teams of the past meant not having enough athletes to enter into all five field events.
That can make a big difference when competing for the Region V Championship at the end of the season. This year, with over 50 athletes on her team, Gagnon will not only be able to fill out the jumping and throwing events, but will have four or more athletes in each one.
“The last couple of years, we’ve had some good finishers in some of the events, but not in enough of the events to carry the points through,” Gagnon said. “This year, we have more high jumpers, we have more hurdlers, we have more long and triple jumpers, we have more throwers, so we’re spreading out among more events.”
The Crimson Bears have the most experience in the distance events. However, Gagnon said more and more of her distance runners are showing promise in the sprints, especially at the Big C Relays earlier this month in Anchorage.
“They had really good 400 form and they might be running a few more 400s this year which just spreads our distance runners out that much more and makes them that much more versatile to us,” she said.
Juniors Sadie Tuckwood, Anna Iverson and Katie McKenna will all likely reprise their respective spots on the 3200-meter relay, which will look to improve on last year’s fifth-place showing at the state meet.
“I’m really excited because that is some of the core girls from cross country,” McKenna said of the relay. “I love running with everybody but it’s fun to get back out racing with those girls.”
The team captains are Dalton Hoy, Iverson, Sahil Bathija, Gretchen Neal and Tyler Weldon.
JDHS will race this weekend at the Ketchikan Invitational. The Crimson Bears will race twice this season in town, first for the Capital Invitational May 3-4 and then later for the Region V Championships May 17-18. Both meets will be held at Thunder Mountain High School.
Read a TMHS track team season preview next week.
• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Empire Sports on Twitter at @akempiresports.