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Story Last modified at 6:08 p.m. on Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Race horses
Mustang boys slay relays, look ahead to CIC finals

BY MELISSA DeVAUGHN
Alaska Star

photo:Sports

Eagle River's Rayven Mcqueen takes the baton from Kelly Ireland in the girls 4x200-meter relay Saturday at Bartlett High. The team took sixth.

photo:Sports

Chugiak's Tyler Rohde gives it his all to advance the boys 4x200 relay to second place, just barely missing the win with a time of 1:33.76. East Anchorage's Emanuel Canady, right, edged the win with a time of 1:33.43. The Chugiak relay consisted of Ben Morse, Ben Perrell, Dane Prince and Rohde.

While running challenges the individual, at Chugiak High, it's Ben Morse, Dane Prince and Tyler Rohde who have shown the track and field world what teamwork is all about.

The threesome scorched the Bartlett High track during the Anchorage Invitational meet finals May 7, taking first place in the 4x100-meter relay with teammate Sean Casey. Their 46.64-second time edged Bartlett by less than a second. Eagle River's team of Ed Hall, Clarence Summers, Samuel Banks and Devon Fox nabbed third, posting 47.49 seconds.

The Chugiak boys then followed that victory with a hairs-width second-place finish in the 4x200-meter event, running with teammate Ben Perrell.

While the latter race didn't get the win, it gave the team the second-fastest finish of the season, 1:33.76, just behind East's winning time of 1:33.43, which is the time to beat at this week's Cook Inlet Conference championships, also to be held at Bartlett.

The two-day meet resulted in some strong performances by some of Chugiak and Eagle River Highs' best runners, agreed their respective coaches. Chugiak's Scott Roleff spent the early part of the week trying to track down the school's record book to see if either of the boys 4x100 or 4x200 relays shattered any times.

"Unfortunately, I haven't been able to track down our record book," he said. "If they didn't set a record, they were close. I am hoping that both of these relays make it to state this year. They will be competing again this weekend without one of the runners, Sean Casey. He is going to be out of the state and will not be available for the rest of the season."

In his stead, Roleff said he plans to add Perrell to the team.

Eagle River's coach Matt Turner said his athletes did well at the meet, although they are battling some injuries that he hopes are all healed in time for the CIC championships.

"We also had some strong performances, both in the open events as well as the varsity events. John Owolabi won both the 400 and the 800 (a tie) in the varsity event ... and is looking strong going into the weekend."

The girls are showing improvement, too, he said.

"Kaitlyn Mondl took second in the 3,200 varsity, and Heather Holmquist took second in the 300 hurdles open," he added. "Also I have a young core group of athletes that I am looking forward to seeing perform on the large stage."

During Saturday's meet, Eagle River's Brandon King listened to his iPod between events. While some athletes opted out of the Invitational to prepare for this weekend's championships, King said he needed to be there.

"If I take a week off, I feel like I let myself down," he said.

Roleff said he, too, was pleased with the Invitational results, and expects even more strong performances at the championships.

"We had several of our varsity athletes gone due to testing, so our numbers were low," he said. "We had a couple of triple jumpers get personal best jumps – Savannah Nelson and Matthew Keith."

Aside from the boys relays, Roleff said he has high hopes for Alex Collins and Keith to go to state for both long and triple jump.

"Kristy Howard should make it for discus and shot put, and Tyler Rohde should make it for the 300 hurdles," he added.

Chugiak sprinter Dane Prince is in the running for the 100 and 200-meter sprints, too.

"Other than that, we'll just have to wait and see," he said.

After the Chugiak boys 4x800-meter relay on Saturday, anchor runner Kevin Greco caught his breath as he pulled on his sweats. With the championships just a week away, he said he's feeling a little let down.

"It's been a good season, but I feel like a lot of us get to peaking and then the season is over," he said.

The CIC championships will be the teams' chances to extend that season. Events begin Friday, May 13 and continue through Saturday, May 14.

For complete track results from the Anchorage Invite, go to athletic.net.



This article published in The Alaska Star on Wednesday, May 11, 2011.