Track & Field Teams Head to State

    Juneau-Douglas High School: Kalé senior Cosley Bruno, a Crimson Bears team captain, picks up hurdles during the Capital City Invitational meet this season in Juneau. (Klas Stolpe/KINY)

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The best high school times, heights and distances will come together on Friday and Saturday during the 2022 ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Track & Field State Championships at Anchorage’s Dimond High School. Among the top contenders are athletes from Juneau-Douglas High School: Kalé and Thunder Mountain.

      JDHS senior James Connally and TMHS junior Mallory Welling were named Athletes of the Meet at the Region V Championships last weekend and are among the talented qualifiers from the panhandle.

      Connally has the fastest state qualifying time in the 100 meters with 10.94 seconds and third fastest 200 at 23.26.

      Welling has the state’s fastest girls 300 hurdles time with 47.81, and has the ninth best qualifying high jump with 4’06.00.

      “It’s pretty exciting,” Connally said. “My teammates and my coaches have really pushed me throughout the season, throughout the preseason, to make me a better teammate and better athlete…” 

      “We just need to come together as an actual team, like a family,” Connally said. “We call ourselves a family, like brothers and sisters like that, so if we can actually do that I feel like we will be able to compete with the bigger Anchorage schools.”

      The Crimson Bears girls qualifiers include the 4x100 relay team (seniors Cosley Bruno, Trinity Jackson and McKenna McNutt and junior Skylar Tuckwood) in the second fastest qualifying time of 51.95, just behind South Anchorage’s 51.20. Those four also are third fastest in the 4x400 with 4:19.59. 

      Jackson has the best triple jump of 34 feet. Bruno has the third fastest 200 time with 26.46. Bruno and Jackson have the sixth and seventh fastest 100 times with 13.03 and 13.19, respectively.

      The 4x800 relay (sophomores Etta Eller, Maisey Morley and Rayna Tuckwood and senior Annika Schwartz) is sixth fastest with 10.57.28.

      Eller has the eighth fastest 1600 with 5:35.78 and 10th fastest 3200 with 12.04.82. Schwartz has the 13th fastest 1600 with 5:41.19 and 15th fastest 3200 with 12.35.19. McNutt has the ninth fastest 400 with 1:03.56 and Morley the ninth fastest 800 with 2:31.42.

      JDHS captured the Region V girls team title.


      “Well, usually we try not to change up the program too much,” JDHS coach Jesse Stringer said of practice between regions and state. “We try to keep doing what we have been doing. If the recipe has been working, if the training has been working, we stick to that. So far this season we have been fortunate and things have been working out pretty well. So we’re just going to try and keep doing the same thing we have been doing, which is try to have fun, as much fun, on our trips as we can. But then when the gun goes off, where it is time to step into the ring, compete as much as we can.”

      Crimson Bears boys qualifiers include the 4x400 relay (seniors Connally and Aubrey Hekkers, sophomore Wilder Dillingham and junior Tobin Montalbo) which has the state’s fifth fastest time of 3:40.38

      The 4x800 (freshman Nick Iverson, sophomore Leif St. Clair, junior Kyle Dusenberry and Hekkers) which has the state’s seventh fastest time of 9:11.78 and the 4x200 (senior Colton Johns, Dillingham, Montalbo and Connally) which has the state’s eighth fastest time of 1:36.63.

      Senior Jake Sleppy has the 10th best triple jump with 38’00.50.” 

      Sophomore Caden Johns has the 12th fastest 300 hurdles with 45.62 and Dillingham the 14th best 400 with 55.67.

      Stringer said fans can expect strong showings from all the Crimson Bears.

      “Anybody wearing red and black,” Stringer said. “So that is all of them. We do have a lot of top state marks but we try not to focus on those too much. They’re great to get. Over the weekend it is nice to look and compare ourselves to other people but it doesn’t really matter, because what matters is when we get there and we show up and what actually happens on game day. Yeah, right now there are some athletes that are high in the rankings but that can all change on Friday and Saturday. So we still have to get in there and race tough. We can’t rest on the fact that we have a good ranking.”

      TMHS girls qualifiers include freshman Cailynn Baxter with the fourth best long jump at 15’07.25 and classmate and sister Kerra Baxter the eighth at 15’04.00. K. Baxter has the 11th best triple jump of 31’00.00” and C. Baxter the 15th at 30’07.00.”

      The 4x100 relay (senior Hailey Dompleing, C. Baxter, K. Baxter, and Welling) is the fifth fastest heading into state with 52.93.

      TMHS boys qualifiers include junior Lucas White in the 12 fastest time 100 with 11.64 and freshman Quincey Malacas and sophomore Anthony Garcia the 14th with 11.84.

      The 4x100 relay (Malacas, senior Audimyre Horca and juniors Chase Darbonne and White) is fourth fastest with 45.60. 

      Darbonne has a qualifying height of 19’08” for seventh best in the high jump. Malacas is ninth in triple jump entries with 38’03.75.”

      Senior Matthew Johns has the 16th best 800 with 2:11.37, senior Mathias Wiederspohn the 16th farthest shot put with 37’06.50” and junior Justus Paden the 16th fastest 400 in 55.78.

      “I’d say the main thing is making sure that everyone remembers to work hard and have fun,” TMHS coach Dwayne Duskin said. “Because sometimes when kids make it to state they think that sort of the big thing is ‘oh, I made it.’ But as long as they can keep that determination they had to qualify then I think they will do well.”

      The Falcons did well at the region tournament, earning Duskin a shower of Gatorade by the TMHS athletes after they won the boys team title.

      “I think I’ll have fun this time if everyone just does well and people get personal records,” Duskin said. “The team that is traveling there is a little smaller than the one we brought to the region meet so I don’t think we’ll be able to have the same number of points that we did. But as long as all the kids are having fun and competing in their events and actually trying and just having a good attitude, whether they win or lose, then I think that will be what I would want the most.”

    Above - Thunder Mountain High School junior Mallory Welling high jumps during the Capital City Invitational Track & Field meet this season in Juneau. Below - Juneau-Douglas High School: Kalé  senior James Connally wins a 100 meter sprint during the Capital City Invitational meet this season in Juneau. (Klas Stolpe/KINY)

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