Eli Mead of Thunder Mountain High School jumps a hurdle during the Region V Track Meet at TMHS on Saturday, May 22. Mead finished first in the 300 hurdles for Region V, Division 1.	(Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Eli Mead of Thunder Mountain High School jumps a hurdle during the Region V Track Meet at TMHS on Saturday, May 22. Mead finished first in the 300 hurdles for Region V, Division 1. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Track teams wrap regionals, prepare for state meet

The state meet goes down in Anchorage this upcoming weekend.

Sloppy weather couldn’t stop athletes over the weekend as track teams from around the region competed at Thunder Mountain High School for the Region V tournament for both Division 1 and Division 2.

Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé and TMHS, alongside teams from Haines, Ketchikan, Petersburg and Sitka competed for their division’s regional championship.

For D1, JDHS beat TMHS and Kayhi in points, preparing to send 24 athletes to the state tournament in Anchorage this weekend, said coach Janette Gagnon.

“I think they’re pretty excited. It’s a little bit of a bummer that it’s beautiful today and it wasn’t on Friday or Saturday,” Gagnon said in a phone interview. “There’s a bunch that are looking for medal standings, and more that just want to get past the prelims into the finals.”

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The pandemic-shortened season and cold weather didn’t slow down athletes as both Juneau high schools had solid performances, said meet director Tristan Knutson-Lombardo.

“We did start later and we had a colder spring that lasted longer,” Knutson-Lombardo said. “There were some great marks out of our region. Haines has a couple of stout throwers.”

Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire
Rachel Knight of Ketchikan makes her way to a first-place finish in the girls 400 at Thunder Mountain Hight School on Saturday. She is followed closely by Skylar Tuckwood of Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé.

Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire Rachel Knight of Ketchikan makes her way to a first-place finish in the girls 400 at Thunder Mountain Hight School on Saturday. She is followed closely by Skylar Tuckwood of Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé.

Sprinters and jumpers typically prefer warmer weather, Knutson-Lombardo said, which was eminently not the case for Juneau this spring.

JDHS will be taking 24 athletes to states, Gagnon said, with many juniors turning out solid performances to qualify. TMHS will take 11, said coach Dwayne Duskin in an email. While no one school is the school to beat, Gagnon said, athletes are looking forward to the two-day state meet at Dimond High School in Anchorage.

“Most of the qualifiers from this year are seniors, so they won’t be returning, but I am looking forward to building off of the success we had this season,” Duskin said. “Overall, the team exceeded my expectations and impressed me with their work ethic and positive attitudes.”

JDHS is looking forward to a competitive 2022 season, Gagnon said.

“Next year’s going to be pretty amazing. We have so many sophomores and juniors and even some freshmen looking amazing,” Gagnon said. “We’ve been so focused on just being able to compete and be together.”

Annika Schwartz, James Connally, and Finn Morely all turned outstanding times to qualify for the state meet. JDHS even had three runners qualify in the same women’s event, as Cosley Bruno, Trinity Jackson and McKenna McNutt all qualified.

“We haven’t had three in one event in quite some time,” Gagnon said. “These three really fed off of each other this year.”

Other athletes to watch from both schools include Hannah Deer, Dave Canon, and Iayanah Brewer.

• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at (757) 621-1197 or mlockett@juneauempire.com.

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