May 3, 2012 | Vol. 39, No. 18

Track and field stars set personal records in Juneau

The track and field team traveled to Juneau last weekend to face off against some tough 4A schools as well at Sitka and Craig, perennial powerhouses in the 3A division.

Bessi Johnson (left), Grace Weller (center), and Maria Lopez (right) take the first set hurdles of during the girls 100-meter hurdle finals. Bessie took second in the race, Grace placed third and Maria finished fifth.

The Girls team ended up in fourth place and the boys came in sixth.

The Boys team would likely have ranked a bit higher but some top point scorers weren’t able to make the trip this time.

“I was delighted with our boys. Everybody ran faster times and everybody had better distances,” said Viking Track and Field Head Coach Brad Taylor.

Elijah Wagner finished third in the high jump.

Andrew Mathisen had a long jump of 17’ 4” in his first ever jump in competition, which leaves him with a first place regional ranking.

Mazani Rawhani ended up third in the 110 hurdles.

In the discus Allen Jensen set a huge personal record passing his previous record by almost 15 feet.

“He made it to the finals and every throw in the finals was further than the last. He has come a long way and is really working hard,” said coach Taylor. “The boys did really well in a really tough field.”

The girls did outstanding, according to Taylor. Though as a team they ended up in fourth they were only a handful of points out of second place, and had they enough runners to fill out a second relay team, they likely would have finished in second place.

Some of the girl’s highlights — In the 100 meter dash Maria Lopez was fourth and Emma Engell 7th, and then in the 200 Engell was 4th and Lopez was 6th.

“Diane Murph had an outstanding meet, her first track meet ever,” said Taylor.

She placed second in the 3200-meter and then fifth in the 1600 with Robyn Schwartz right behind her in sixth place.

The Vikings continue to dominate the hurdles.

Bessie Johnson was second in the 100 hurdles, Grace Weller was third, and Maria Lopez was fifth.

In the 300-meter hurdles Bessie was third, Abigail Taylor was fourth and Grace was seventh, with all of the girls running significantly faster times than previous meets.

Engell and Taylor both set personal records in the triple jump.

Johnson was third in the high jump.

The girls 4x800 relay team consisting of Grace Weller, Diane Murph, Stephanie Pfundt, and Robyn Schwartz finished 2nd in a very exciting race.

All these scored were against big 4A schools like Juneau, Thunder Mountain and Ketchikan.

“We’ve still got a lot of kids ranked in the top ten at state,” said Taylor. “Hopefully we can improve our times and move up in the rankings. Everybody is healthy though we’ve got some shin splints we're working through. Things are promising.”

The season has flown by and the Regional V Tournament is already next week.

The Vikings have a lot of positive momentum and a will to win.

“In practice it’s brutal. We’re working on cardiovascular for finishing strong in those longer races, to get that kick at the end. In some of those distance races, if we can just drop a second or a half-second the kids will move up,” said Taylor.

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