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Story Last modified at 6:24 p.m. on Wednesday, May 18, 2011

CIC runners sample success on homefront
Twenty locals qualify for state meet

Alaska Star


Chugiak's Sam Hartke looks over her shoulder, expecting to see Service's Jenette Northey on her heels during the CIC championship 1,600-meter race at Bartlett on May 14. Hartke won the race, and advances to the state championships this week.
STAR PHOTO by Matt Tunseth

With 50 meters to go, Chugiak distance runner Sam Hartke glanced first over her right shoulder, then her left. Somewhere, Service's Jenette Northey had to be making a move.

"I was like, 'Where is she?'" Hartke said.

She wasn't there. Instead, Hartke cruised across the finish line with her first Cook Inlet Conference track and field title after a daring win in the girls' 1,600-meter run on May 14 at Bartlett High.

Though an obvious favorite (she was fourth as a freshman), the Mustangs sophomore said that in the week leading up to the CIC Championships she tried to keep from fixating on the idea that she could actually win.

"It's been my subconscious goal, but I didn't want to think about it," she said. "I was just going to try my hardest."

Hartke's win gave her an automatic berth in this weekend's state track meet in Fairbanks May 20-21. Also earning an automatic bid was Chugiak sophomore Tyler Rohde, who won the boys' 300 hurdles. Hartke and Rohde will be joined at state by 10 other Mustangs who also earned tickets north with strong CIC meet performances. By rule, each event winner at the four Class 4A region meets earns an automatic bid, as do the athletes who posted the 12 next best times or distances.

Also earning state berths for the seventh-place Chugiak girls at the meet were Alex Collins (long jump/triple jump), Savannah Nelson (long jump), Kristy Howard (discus), Mackenzie Matthis (400) and Malia McVee (discus). For the sixth-place Chugiak boys, Dane Prince (100, 200), Chris Kveseth (400), Ben Perrell (400, 4x200 relay), Matthew Keith (long jump, triple jump) and Sam Brownlee (4x200 relay) will join Rohde, who also qualified in the 110 hurdles and as part of the team's 4x200 relay squad.

For complete track and field results, including all season meets, visit

Chugiak coach Scott Roleff said he was thrilled to get a dozen athletes to state.

"Overall I was real pleased with our kids," Roleff said.

A number of athletes set personal bests at the meet, including Collins, who was second in both the long and triple jump with season-best efforts.

"It's hard to be disappointed because that's the best I've jumped all season," said Collins, a junior.

Eagle River's boys and girls teams each finished eighth in the CIC team standings, but the Wolves weren't without their successes.

For the Eagle River girls, Scout Warners was the team's top performer, finishing second in the high jump and third in the 400 and qualifying for state in both events. She'll be joined by freshman Kaitlyn Mondl, who will be in the 3,200 meter field at state.

Eagle River's boys team will send six athletes to the state meet, led by senior star John Owolabi, who qualified in three events. Owolabi, who placed second in the 400 and third in the 800, will also run a leg on the school's 4x400-meter relay team with Devon Fox, Brandon King and Edward Massey.

Also getting into the big dance were Clarence Summers, who was fourth in the long jump at the CIC meet, and Colten Palmer, who was fourth in the high jump.

Wolves coach Matt Turner said he was extremely proud of his 4x400 team's third-place finish and state qualifying run because Fox was a race-time decision.

"He's been working on that injury all week," Turner said.

Fox, who had a sore hamstring, wasn't his best, but he managed to get the baton around the track quickly enough for his teammates to finish strong.

"He did what he needed to do," Turner said.

The state meet will be held at Lathrop High School in Fairbanks. Field events begin at 10 a.m. on May 20, with running events starting at 11 a.m. On May 21, field events start at 9 a.m. and running starts at 10 a.m.

For complete track and field results, including all season meets, visit

Contact Matt Tunseth at 694-2727 or

This article published in The Alaska Star on Wednesday, May 18, 2011.