Eagle River's Edward Massey takes off at the start of the boys 4x200-meter relay during the 8x8 meet at on April 2 at The Dome in Anchorage. Massey teamed with Malcolm Bell, Sam Banks and John Olowabi to place seventh in the race.
Just as they were starting to hit their stride, the Mustang boys track and field team stumbled.
With a slew of speedy performances, Chugiak boys placed third overall at the 8-by-8 meet on April 1-2 at The Dome in Anchorage. But the team was dealt a major blow in the 300-meter hurdles on Saturday, when state contender Tyler Rohde took a violent spill going over the third hurdle and suffered a severe shoulder injury.
"He hit the hurdle with his lead leg and landed on his shoulder," said Chugiak coach Scott Roleff. "He just bounced."
Rohde, who had already won the 110 hurdles earlier in the day, managed to get to his feet and finish the race. But he collapsed in pain on the infield, where he was attended to for more than a half-hour.
Roleff said he's not sure if Rohde will be lost for the season. If the sophomore can't return this season, the loss will be a big one.
"I think he had the potential to actually win state," Roleff said.
The injury put a damper on what had been a stellar meet for the Mustangs. In addition to Rohde's win in the 110 hurdles, Chugiak got nine other top-six performances, including an impressive victory in the 4x200 relay.
In dominating that race, the team of Ben Morse, Sean Casey, Ben Perrell and Dane Prince posted the fastest time of the season despite never racing together before.
"I'm really happy with our team," said Prince, who also placed second in the 100 meters.
Prince, who coasted across the finish line in the anchor leg, said it was Morse's start that allowed the team to easily win their heat.
"Ben's been running track for a long time, and he got off the blocks great," Prince said.
The team's time held up despite coming out of the second heat which included just one other "A" team and four "B" teams. After racing to the fastest time in Alaska, Morse said he expects Chugiak's team won't be racing in "B" heats any more.
"I'm sure they'll fix that," he said.
Chugiak showed its stable of sprinters is a deep one, as the team of Dakota Nicolson, Josh Williams, Parker Collins and Kevin Greco finished third in the same relay.
The Mustangs also galloped in the distance races, where youngsters Tim Sorensen and Chris Kveseth each earned points in two events. Kveseth, a sophomore, was second in the 800 and fourth in the 400, while freshman Sorensen took fifth in the 3,200 and sixth in the mile.
Chugiak also scored in the triple jump on Friday when Matthew Keith jumped to a third-place finish.
Roleff said the meet which featured all eight Class 4A Anchorage School District teams was the first time Chugiak had its full contingent of athletes eligible.
"We've finally got everybody up and running," he said.
That includes the school's girls team, which got a huge boost when distance phenom Sam Hartke stepped onto the track for her first races of the season. Hartke, a sophomore, won the 1,600 and finished fifth in the 800. In the longer race, Hartke sat off the back shoulder of Service's Jenette Northey until about 200 meters to go, when she made a strong pass on the outside. Northey tried to regain the lead with 50 meters to go, but Hartke said she used an extra gear to hold off the Service sophomore.
"I just started using my arms," she said.
Hartke just nabbed Northey at the finish, clocking the fifth-best mile time in Alaska this season.
With just one meet under her belt, Hartke said it's far too early to start speculating about her state chances.
"I think it's kinda too soon to say anything," she said. "But I hope I can stay somewhere near the top."
Already at the top is hurdler Malea McGimsey, whose win in the 100 hurdles gave the Mustangs a sweep in that event and put her time of 15.54 seconds as the time to beat in the state this season.
With Hartke and McGimsey leading the way, the Chugiak girls wound up sixth in the two-day competition.
Both Eagle River teams finished eighth in the meet, though the Wolves did have some solid results, including a surprising sixth-place finish by newcomer Malcolm Bell in the boys 100.
Bell, a junior who only played football until this season, could prove to be a big boost for the team's own 4x200 relay team, which finished fifth at state last season.
"He's looking like a pretty solid replacement," said coach Matt Turner.
Bell is one of several football players giving the team a boost this season. Senior Austin Thompson was fifth in the boys discus for the Wolves, and Turner said having more of football coach Kenny Ray's troops on the team has been welcome.
"This year we were able to get a couple more football players out," he said.
The best performance of the meet for Eagle River was turned in by John Olowabi, who was third in the 400 and fourth in the 200 despite being slightly injured. Eagle River also got a fourth place in the 1,600 from Brandon King, who Turner said was also a bit hobbled.
"It's just getting to be that time of year," Turner said.
The Wolves coach said having to practice indoors is tough on runners, but he's hoping that warmer temperatures will have the team outside perhaps as early as this week.
"We have two cleared lanes all the way around, but they're not the same two lanes," he said. "So in the straightaways it's (lanes) one and two and in the curves it's seven and eight."
Chugiak sophomore Sam Hartke leads Eagle River freshman Kaitlyn Mondl around a corner during the second lap of the girls 1,600-meter race. Hartke, racing in her first track event of the season, won the race by .09 seconds over Service's Jenette Northey. Mondl placed seventh.
ASD 8X8 Meet
Boys team scores 1. Dimond, 78; 2. Bartlett, 69; 3. Chugiak, 64.5; 4. South, 58; 5. East, 55.5; 6. Service, 46; 7. West, 31; 8. Eagle River 26
Individual results (Top 3 plus Chugiak/Eagle River)
3,200 1. Mason Huffman, South, 10 minutes, 4.1 seconds; 2. Brandon Brewster, South, 10:06.4; 3. Scott Wheeler, West, 10:26.5; 5. Tim Sorensen, Chu, 10:39.8; 8. Taylor Andrews, Chu, 11:08.1; 12. Evan Fisher, ER, 11:23.6; 13. Jacob Fairbanks, ER, 11:29.1
Discus 1. Tim Domment, Bar, 136 feet, 10 inches; 2. Brandon Corpuz, Dim, 113-03; 3. Chavous Levao, Bar, 110-09; 5. Austin Thompson, ER, 105-09; 9. Jacob Brownlee, Chu, 99-11; 20. Alex Medeiros, Chu, 88-0; 26. Oscar Hall, ER, 79-8; 29. Rydell Reinbold, ER, 76-11; 30. Phillip Lambert, Chu, 74-0; 32. Jacob Floyd, ER, 71-10; 33. Theodore Carlson, Chu, 71-2; 34. John Post, Chu, 70-6; 36. Charlie Pappas, Chu, 67-8
Triple jump 1. Silas Talbot, Ser, 41-1.5; 2. Jaquel Lyons, Bar, 39-0.75; 3. Matthew Keith, Chu, 38-10.75; 16. Ben Perrell, Chu, 35-1.25; 23. Nick Schwenne, 29-7.25
100 1. Darrion Gray, Dim, 11.53; 2. Dane Prince, Chu, 11.78; 3. Ben Morse, Chu, 11.89; 6. Malcolm Bell, ER, 11.96; 16. Sean Casey, Chu, 12.38; 17. Dakota Nicolson, Chu, 12.48; 24. Josh Williams, Chu, 12.78; 27. Sam Banks, ER, 12.88; Ed Hall, ER, 12.92; 39. Dayquan McKinnon, Chu, 18.5
200 1. Daquon Brunson, Bar, 22.52; 2. J.J. Jack-Nixon, Dim, 22.83; 3. Darrion Gray, Dim, 23.48; 4. John Olowabi, ER, 23.68; 7. Dane Prince, Chu, 24.11; 28. Tyler Carnahan, Chu, 26.27; 32. Sam Banks, ER, 26.96; 39. Zachary John, Chu, 28.98
400 1. Daquon Brunson, Bar, 49.2; 2. J.J. Jack-Nixon, Dim, 50.5; 3. John Olowabi, ER, 51.53; 4. Chris Kveseth, Chu, 53.53; 9. Ben Perrell, Chu, 54.81; 13. Brandon King, ER, 55.96; 29. Kevin Greco, Chu, 57.10; 25. Nathan Dennis, Chu, 58.32
800 1. Silas Talbot, Ser, 1:58:11; 2. Chris Kveseth, 2:10.98; 3. Maxwell Dan, West, 2:11.51; 16. Edward Massey, ER, 2:22.30; 24. Evan Fisher, ER, 2:28.08; 29. Garrison Theroux, ER, 2:30.67; 33. Garrett Fisher, ER, 3:13.61
1,600 1. John Farr, East, 4:42.15; 2. Brandon Brewster, South, 4:44.20; 3. Mason Huffman, South, 4:49.49; 4. Brandon King, ER, 4:49.84; 6. Tim Sorensen, Chu, 4:54.35; 7. Chris Kveseth, Chu, 4:55.93; 23. Evan Fisher, ER, 5:17.90; 26. Edward Massey, ER, 5:24.60; 39. Garrison Theroux, ER, 5:54.73