A dual track meet between just two schools might not drum up the excitement of a large invitational, but the one held Friday between Homer and Soldotna High School served its purpose and showed the Mariner girls are starting out strong this year.
For the girls, Homer won eight out of 10 events. Head Coach Bob Ostrom said his runners are having a good start to the season and that they’re working on finding the right combinations for relay teams.
“They’re doing really well,” he said. “They’re building on what we did last year and we have a whole bunch of new girls out for the team (this year.)”
Junior Kailee Veldstra, who claimed first place for small schools at last year’s state competition in the 100-meter dash, won that event on Friday with a time of 12.71 seconds. Following just behind her was freshman Laura Inama in 12.81. Also claiming first place in individual events were sophomore Marina Carroll in the triple jump, Inama in the long jump and junior Anna Bock in the discus throw. Bock took home the small schools state championship in that event last year. Both she and Carroll had personal bests in the events they won on Friday.
While the Homer boys didn’t fair quite so well — winning six out of 10 events — Ostrom said their team is also shaping up well. Several Mariner boy runners have been out sick recently, he said.
“We’re still trying to find the right mix of boys,” Ostrom said in terms of the relays.
The Homer boys did take first in the 1,600-meter relay on Friday in 4:00.97, with the combination of Denver Waclawski, Elijah King, Jacob Davis and Luciano Fasulo. Fasulo also sped to first place in the mile run, with Davis just two seconds behind him.
Homer’s Hunter Patton also got a personal best in the 110-meter hurdles. The SoHi boys dominated their side of things, with senior Brenner Furlong winning both the boys’ 100- and 400-meter sprints. Senior Wendell Tuisaula won in discus, and freshman Jordan Spies took first in the triple jump. He along with Zack Zeigler, Joe Van Hout and Eli Cravens also went on to win the 400-meter boys’ relay.
Dual meets don’t end up with team scores or high pressure, but they can be useful for teams who don’t have a lot of options in the early season. In fact, the meet between the two schools wasn’t originally scheduled at all. Like many other schools across Alaska, Soldotna is unable to have its track and field team practice outdoors just yet, as the track was still covered in ice, Ostrom said. The SoHi runners wanted to come down to run on Homer’s track, so the schools made things a bit more interesting and turned it into a dual.
“It’s kind of a nice way to do a meet,” Ostrom said, explaining that this structure is low key but still allowed the kids to achieve good times.
Ostrom said Homer’s comparatively early spring snow melt is slated to drive numerous teams down to the Cosmic Hamlet by the Sea in search of runnable track for the high school’s invitational this Saturday. He said 22 teams are scheduled to attend.
“It’s going to be a huge event,” Ostrom said. “A lot of the schools are still under ice and snow on their tracks.”
Before that invitational, the Mariners will face off against Anchorage Christian School in another dual meet on Friday.
For full results from the meet, see the weekly sports highlights.