Homer’s Angelica Haakenson competes in the girls 400 meters Saturday, May 4, 2019, at the Kenai Invitational track meet at Kenai Central High School. Haakenson lost her legs in a Dec. 2014 car crash. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Homer’s Angelica Haakenson competes in the girls 400 meters Saturday, May 4, 2019, at the Kenai Invitational track meet at Kenai Central High School. Haakenson lost her legs in a Dec. 2014 car crash. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Stars sweep Kenai Invite track meet

With the borough, region and state track and field meets all upcoming in the next three weeks, Saturday’s Kenai Invitational provided local prep teams a real world test of where they are performing best. By the end of the day, there was one clear winner.

Soldotna crushed the competition in the team race, sweeping the boys and girls titles — the boys easily won with 180 points to second-place Grace Christian’s 97, and the girls beat out runner-up Kenai Central 159-100.

The Stars ensnared 13 total event victories — seven boys and six girls wins — among 34 total. Kenai was the next biggest winner with seven total victories.

It’s the second week in a row the SoHi boys have claimed a team crown, having done so at the Region III Preview Meet on their own field. On that day, the Stars were able to secure the team title thanks in part to two sprint relay victories.

Saturday at Kenai, the SoHi boys once again corralled two relay wins, but this time in the 400-meter and 3,200-meter relays, the shortest and the longest, while finishing second in the other two.

“That’s what it boils down to,” said SoHi head coach Phil Leck. “When I work with eight different kids and try to mix and match and maximize their abilities with certain distances, it allows us to have a little freedom with those 4-by-100s and 4-by-200s.”

The SoHi girls did one better in the relays, claiming three of the four relay races Saturday, only missing out on the 1,600-meter relay at the end of the day.

Leck said he and the coaching staff has worked to develop a culture in the program of “big team, little me,” and the results thus far have shown it to be working, especially with the big numbers the school produces.

“It’s the mentality of the program, we’re in it for the team,” he said. “We’re in it to win as a team, scoring as many points as we can. I know what events they can do, but they don’t pick what they run. I try to maximize that the best we can each week.”

Among the individual victories, SoHi got a chunk of points from junior Ben Booth, who swept the boys sprints with wins in the 100 and 200. Booth picked up a third victory with the boys 400-meter relay, and said after finishing second in the 100 last week, he realized it’s time to get to work.

“Me and this kid from Kodiak are tied for first in the region, so my coaches were telling me I’ve got to work harder,” Booth said. “He’s going to be working hard too.”

Booth said another record that’s pushing him is 2018 SoHi grad Brenner Furlong’s personal best of 11.31 seconds in the 100. Booth’s current best is 11.37, set last week at the Region III Preview meet, and he said if he can surpass Furlong, he’ll think about the top mark of 10.90 held by Joel Knight from 1995.

“I’m going for those next two after that, that one by Joel Knight,” Booth said. “It hasn’t been beaten in like 25 years.”

The Stars also swept the boys jumping events. Junior Tyler Morrison grabbed wins in two of the three jumping events, winning the high jump with a new PR of 5 feet, 8 inches, and the long jump in 18 feet, 10.75 inches. Morrison was joined by junior teammate Corbin Wirz, who won the triple jump with a new best of 36 feet, 2 inches.

On the girls side, Brittany Taylor won the 400, just three days after signing a letter of intent to run track at the University of Alaska Anchorage next year.

The girls high jump became a sibling shootout as SoHi seniors Danica and Aliann Schmidt finished 1-2 with Danica taking the glory with a new PR of 4 feet, 11 inches. Aliann finished second, three inches short of her sister.

The Kenai Kardinals kept it in the family in the hurdle races with a Wilson family sweep. Junior Savanna Wilson won the girls 100- and 300-meter hurdles, and older brother Jarett won the boys 110- and 300-meter hurdles in his last time competing on his home track his senior year.

Wilson said their father Rudy Wilson raced the hurdles during his time at Nikiski High School and said that he still holds the school record, which explains the prowess that Savannah and Jarett have shown on the hurdles.

“It’s just in our blood,” she said. “It’s just something he really liked to do.”

Savanna set a PR in the 100 hurdles with a time of 16.36 seconds.

Jarett’s wins both came at the expense of SoHi junior Corbin Wirz, who finished second in both races.

Kenai senior Hayley Maw swept the girls 100 and 200 sprints, and said while her 100 win wasn’t her best race, she managed to cap the day with a strong 200 race.

“It’s really warm today and I think that really helped me run,” Maw said. “It’s way easier with warmer weather.”

Maw continued a trend of finishing on the podium in all seven varsity finals she has run in the 100 and 200 races this year.

The boys 1,600 featured one of the closest finishes of the day in one of the longer races. Kenai sophomore Maison Dunham outsprinted Grace Christian senior Gabe Martin to the line in the boys race to win by a slim .14 seconds, and in doing so also smashed his personal best by a whopping 8.64 seconds, lowering it from 4:42.82 to 4:34.18. Dunham’s only other 1,600 he ran this spring was a 4:47.50 at last week’s preview meet at SoHi.

“I was going to try to pace off (Martin),” Dunham said. “He usually has beat me in the past.”

Dunham stayed right on Martin’s heels the first three laps, then made his move coming to the bell, passing Martin on the straightaway and cutting in to the inside lane just barely in front.

“He’s usually a strong finisher so I knew I had to take off for the last lap,” Dunham said. “And I had to give myself an advantage on the corner.”

In what was likely the best feel-good story of the day, Homer sophomore Angelica Haakenson competed in four events as an amputee. Haakenson raced in the girls 100 and 400 and threw shot put and discus as well.

Haakenson lost both her legs in a Dec. 2014 car crash near Anchor Point, but has since returned to thrive.

“It’s just good for me,” Haakenson said. “I do what works to stay in shape.”

Haakenson has spent much of the past two years competing in special events tailor-made for her in cross-country skiing, swimming and track, but now the Homer sophomore is joining the big guns at the varsity meets. Saturday, Haakenson raced the 100 and 200 with her peers who have the benefit of using leg power.

Haakenson said she is planning to compete at the upcoming borough and region meets in Soldotna and Homer.

“I think I’ll be allowed to (compete) but I don’t think I’ll qualify for anything,” she said. “I don’t have my leg power, but it’s still OK.”

Other big peninsula winners of the day included Nikiski junior Kaitlyn Johnson taking victory in the girls discus with her best throw of the season at 107 feet, beating a slew of Soldotna contenders. SoHi finished second through fifth, behind Johnson, led by runner-up Ituau Tuisaula. Tuisaula made up for the close miss by winning the girls shot put.

The boys discus looked remarkably similar, as SoHi placed second through fifth in the event, led by junior Galen Brantley III in second place with a throw of 130 feet, 7 inches. Grace Christian senior James Coulombe won with a huge mark of 152 feet, 10 inches.

Also breaking into the win column was Seward junior Connor Spanos in the boys 400, as Spanos ran a time of 55.72 seconds to hold off Soldotna junior Christopher Edelman, who took second in a new PR of 56.89.

Kenai Invitational

Saturday at KCHS

GIRLS

Team scores — 1. Soldotna, 159 points; 2. Kenai Central, 100; 3. Grace Christian, 82; 4. Homer, 40; 5. Nikiski, 40; 6. Birchwood Christian, 34; 7. Seward, 21; 8. Bethel, 9.

Individual

100 — 1. Hayley Maw, Ken, 13.02; 2. Mariyah Becker, BCS, 13.47; 3. Mikayla Leadens, Sol, 13.78; 4. Ayla Read, Sol, 14.03; 5. Madylin Kessler, Sol, 14.04; 6. Lydia Jacoby, Sew, 14.08.

200 — 1. Hayley Maw, Ken, 27.22; 2. Laura Inama, Hom, 27.82; 3. Brittany Taylor, Sol, 27.97; 4. Coral Petrosius, Sew, 28.62; 5. Mariyah Becker, BCS, 28.62; 6. Ayla Read, Soldotna, 29.87.

400 — 1. Brittany Taylor, Sol, 1:03.61; 2. Mariyah Becker, BCS, 1:03.62; 3. Ellie Burns, Sol, 1:05.08; 4. Jaycie Calvert, Ken, 1:06.07; 5. Logan Satathite, Ken, 1:06.28; 6. Jessee Tompkins, Gra, 1:07.12.

800 — 1. Mazzy Jackson, Gra, 2:30.87; 2. Brooke Miller, Hom, 2:33.66; 3. Serena Becker, BCS, 2:34.50; 4. Jaycie Calvert, Ken, 2:34.60; 5. Logan Satathite, Ken, 2:34.89; 6. Brooke Satathite, Ken, 2:37.73.

1,600 — 1. Mazzy Jackson, Gra, 5:24.21; 2. Brooke Satathite, Ken, 5:27.66; 3. Serena Becker, BCS, 5:27.92; 4. Brooke Miller, Hom, 5:40.95; 5. Erika Arthur, Sol, 5:41.47; 6. Grace Annett, Gra, 5:43.49.

100H — 1. Savanna Wilson, Ken, 16.36; 2. Emma Brantley, Sol, 17.74; 3. Bethany Richmond, Sol, 17.89; 4. Laura Inama, Hom, 18.16; 5. Kylie Ness, Sol, 18.38; 6. Katie Stockton, Ken, 18.61.

300H — 1. Savanna Wilson, Ken, 50.43; 2. Laura Inama, Hom, 51.57; 3. Coral Petrosius, Sew, 52.14; 4. Bethany Richmond, Sol, 53.53; 5. Katie Stockton, Ken, 54.35; 6. Emma Brantley, Sol, 57.00.

400 relay — 1. Soldotna (Ness, Leadens, Taylor, Kessler), 53.48; 2. Kenai Central, 53.92; 3. Nikiski, 56.47; 4. Birchwood Christian, 57.76; 5. Seward, 59.78.

800 relay — 1. Soldotna (Bouschor, Leadens, Taylor, Read), 1:52.08; 2. Kenai Central, 1:54.25; 3. Nikiski, 1:58.12; 4. Grace Christian, 2:03.21; 5. Seward, 2:08.90; 6. Bethel, 2:16.71.

1600 relay — 1. Grace Christian (Ellis, Coverdell, Jackson, Tompkins), 4:34.22; 2. Kenai Central, 4:39.01; 3. Soldotna, 4:52.36; 4. Bethel, 5:32.52; 5. Bethel, 5:50.52.

3200 relay — 1. Soldotna (Schmidt, Arthur, Burns, Lorring), 10:44.14; 2. Grace Christian, 11:09.79; 3. Seward, 11:33.25; 4. Soldotna, 11:40.09; 5. Bethel, 12:39.78.

Shot put — 1. Ituau Tuisaula, Sol, 39—05; 2. Jenna Markel, Gra, 35—06.5; 3. Bailey Leach, Sol, 32—10.25; 4. Kaitlyn Johnson, Nik, 31—06.25; 5. Bethany Carstens, Nik, 30—11.5; 6. Autumn Fisher, Sol, 30—11.

Discus — 1. Kaitlyn Johnson, Nik, 107—00; 2. Ituau Tuisaula, Sol, 101—06; 3. Bailey Leach, Sol, 98—02; 4. Rachel Spence, Sol, 92—06; 5. Autumn Fisher, Sol, 91—04; 6. Jenna Markel, Gra, 90—07.

HJ — 1. Danica Schmidt, Sol, 4—11; 2. Aliann Schmidt, Sol, 4—08; 3. Bethany Carstens, Nik, 4—06; 4. Logan Satathite, Ken, 4—04; 5. Bailey Epperheimer, Nik, 4—04.

LJ — 1. Laura Ellis, Gra, 16—04; 2. Laura Inama, Hom, 15—07.5; 3. Mikayla Leadens, Sol, 15—00.5; 4. Destiny Martin, Nik, 14—10; 5. Maddie Schmeling, Gra, 14—07.25; 6. Dani Tompkins, Gra, 14—07.

TJ — 1. Jessee Tompkins, Gra, 32—08; 2. Chelsea Plagge, Ken, 32—03.5; 3. Sophia Coverdell, Gra, 31—07.25; 4. Kylie Ness, Sol, 30—11.5.

BOYS

Team scores — 1. Soldotna, 180; 2. Grace Christian, 97; 3. Kenai Central, 84; 4. Seward, 52; 5. Nikiski, 24; 6. Homer, 18; 7. Bethel, 12; 8. Birchwood Christian, 7.

Individual

100 — 1. Ben Booth, Sol, 11.69; 2. Connor Spanos, Sew, 11.84; 3. Elias Machen-Gray, Ken, 12.21; 4. Robert Mize, Sol, 12.24; 5. Beau Freiberg, Sew, 12.28; 6. Garrett Murphy, BCS, 12.31.

200 — 1. Ben Booth, Sol, 24.24; 2. Beau Freiberg, Sew, 24.88; 3. Bryan McCollum, Nik, 24.96 4. Tyler Morrison, Sol, 25.54; 5. Robert Mize, Sol, 25.63; 6. Elias Machen-Gray, Ken, 25.88.

400 — 1. Connor Spanos, Sew, 55.72; 2. Christopher Edelmen, Sol, 56.89; 3. Garrett Murphy, BCS, 58.36; 4. Riley Graves, Ken, 58.62; 5. Patrick Henry, Nik, 1:00.09; 6. Ryan Hill, Sol, 1:01.08.

800 — 1. Gabe Martin, Gra, 2:06.69; 2. Vincent Coverdell, Gra, 2:08.29; 3. Maison Dunham, Ken, 2:11.21; 4. Nate Johnson, Sol, 2:15.22; 5. Nathan Haakenson, Ken, 2:15.60; 6. Preston Wethington, Gra, 2:16.97.

1,600 — 1. Maison Dunham, Ken, 4:34.18; 2. Gabe Martin, Gra, 4:34.32; 3. Preston Wethington, Gra, 4:44.23; 4. Samuel Roberts, Ken, 4:58.45; 5. Mekbeb Denbrock, Sol, 5:00.57; 6. Bradley Walters, Sol, 5:00.78.

110H — 1. Jarett Wilson, Ken, 16.68; 2. Corbin Wirz, Sol, 17.59; 3. Zach Hanson, Sol, 18.44.

300H — 1. Jarett Wilson, Ken, 44.20; 2. Corbin Wirz, Sol, 46.76; 3. Nate McKay, Gra, 49.97; 4. Jaxon Trevitihck, Gra, 52.86; 5. Isreal Aley, Sol, 54.71; 6. Caleb Evans, Hom, 1:00.57.

400 relay — 1. Soldotna (Booth, Hanson, Babitt, Mize), 46.31; 2. Soldotna, 48.44; 3. Grace Christian, 50.83; 4. Seward, 51.27; 5. Bethel, 55.50.

800 relay — 1. Seward (Freiberg, Kingsland, Hollingsworth, Spanos), 1:40.09; 2. Soldotna, 1:41.20; 3. Kenai Central, 1:41.74; 4. Grace Christian, 1:44.40.

1600 relay — 1. Grace Christian (Beck, Coverdell, Crotts, Martin), 3:45.52; 2. Soldotna, 3:51.65; 3. Kenai Central, 3:57.40; 4. Bethel, 4:15.60.

3200 relay — 1. Soldotna (Walters, Johnson, Harris, Denbrock), 9:22.00; 2. Seward, 9:46.56; 3. Grace Christian, 9:50.62; 4. Bethel, 9:58.91.

Shot put — 1. James Coulombe, Gra, 47—11.5; 2. Cody Nye, Sol, 47—11.25; 3. Galen Brantley, Sol, 45—09; 4. Melvin Lloyd, Sol, 42—07.5; 5. Hunter Greene, Nik, 41—03.5; 6. Levi Benner, Sol, 39—08.

Discus — 1. James Coulombe, Gra, 152—10; 2. Galen Brantley, Sol, 130—07; 3. Cody Nye, Sol, 122—06; 4. Levi Benner, Sol, 119—11; 5. Dylan Dahlgren, Sol, 115—03; 6. Joshua Manwiller, Hom, 107—05.

HJ — 1. Tyler Morrison, Sol, 5—08; 2. Kaden McKibben, Ken, 5—04; 3. Garrett Ellis, Nik, 5—00; 4. Ryan Hill, Sol, 5—00.

LJ — 1. Tyler Morrison, Sol, 18—10.75; 2. Silas McGhee, Hom, 18—09.25; 3. Andrew Beck, Gra, 18—02.75; 4. Kaden McKibben, Ken, 18—02.25; 5. Garrett Ellis, Nik, 17—11.75; 6. Bryan McCollum, Nik, 17—03.

TJ — 1. Corbin Wirz, Sol, 36—02; 2. Silas McGhee, Hom, 35—09.5; 3. Tyler Hippchen, Ken, 35—03; 4. Garrett Ellis, Nik, 34—09.25; 5. Bryan McCollum, Nik, 34—08.75; 6. Jacob Begich, Ken, 33—00.

Soldotna’s Erika Arthur (front), Grace Christian’s Grace Annett and Homer’s Brooke Miller run in formation in the girls 1,600 meters Saturday, May 4, 2019, at the Kenai Invitational track meet at Kenai Central High School. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna’s Erika Arthur (front), Grace Christian’s Grace Annett and Homer’s Brooke Miller run in formation in the girls 1,600 meters Saturday, May 4, 2019, at the Kenai Invitational track meet at Kenai Central High School. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai’s Hayley Maw rounds a turn ahead of Homer’s Laura Inama in the girl’s 200 meter final Saturday, May 4, 2019, at the Kenai Invitational track meet at Kenai Central High School. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai’s Hayley Maw rounds a turn ahead of Homer’s Laura Inama in the girl’s 200 meter final Saturday, May 4, 2019, at the Kenai Invitational track meet at Kenai Central High School. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna’s Levi Benner unwinds for a throw in the boys discus Saturday at the Kenai Invitational track meet at Kenai Central High School. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna’s Levi Benner unwinds for a throw in the boys discus Saturday at the Kenai Invitational track meet at Kenai Central High School. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai’s Maison Dunham (right) races Grace Christian’s Gabe Martin to the finish of the boys 1,600 meters Saturday, May 4, 2019, at the Kenai Invitational track meet at Kenai Central High School. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai’s Maison Dunham (right) races Grace Christian’s Gabe Martin to the finish of the boys 1,600 meters Saturday, May 4, 2019, at the Kenai Invitational track meet at Kenai Central High School. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Nikiski’s Garrett Ellis makes an attempt in the boys triple jump Saturday, May 4, 2019, at the Kenai Invitational track meet at Kenai Central High School. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Nikiski’s Garrett Ellis makes an attempt in the boys triple jump Saturday, May 4, 2019, at the Kenai Invitational track meet at Kenai Central High School. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Central’s Summer Foster leads a trailing group of runners in the girls 1,600 meters Saturday, May 4, 2019, at the Kenai Invitational track meet at Kenai Central High School. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Central’s Summer Foster leads a trailing group of runners in the girls 1,600 meters Saturday, May 4, 2019, at the Kenai Invitational track meet at Kenai Central High School. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai’s Grace Morrow unleashes a heave in the girl’s shot put throw Saturday, May 4, 2019, at the Kenai Invitational track meet at Kenai Central High School. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai’s Grace Morrow unleashes a heave in the girl’s shot put throw Saturday, May 4, 2019, at the Kenai Invitational track meet at Kenai Central High School. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna’s Kylie Ness makes an attempt in the girls triple jump Saturday, May 4, 2019, at the Kenai Invitational track meet at Kenai Central High School. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna’s Kylie Ness makes an attempt in the girls triple jump Saturday, May 4, 2019, at the Kenai Invitational track meet at Kenai Central High School. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

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