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Kings win Ketchikan Invitational
Ketchikan sophmore Gabriella James completes in the long jump on Saturday during the 100m x 4 at Esther Shea Field. Staff photo by Dustin Safranek

Daily News Staff Writer

The Ketchikan Invitational track and field this weekend brought a team win for the Ketchikan High School boys squad, personal records for many Kayhi athletes, and signs of potential shown by the Kayhi girls underclassmen.

The Kings boys put up 145 total points for the win, trailed by Sitka High School, 101 points; Thunder Mountain High School, 97; Petersburg High School, 84: Juneau-Douglas High School, 52; and Thorne Bay, 30.

The Thunder Mountain girls squad posted 186 points for its team win. Petersburg was strong with 140 points, followed by Juneau-Douglas, 86; Ketchikan, 37; and Sitka, 33.

Ketchikan placed third in the combined results with 182 points, behind Thunder Mountain’s 282 points and Petersburg’s 224 points.

Friday’s start of the meet at Esther Shea Field coincided with some foul weather that included wind, about one-inch of rain during the course of the events, and temperatures that apparently dipped into the high 30s.

But, Alaska athletes — and meet volunteers, coaches and spectators — could be considered to be tougher than most.

“They don’t call track because of weather in Alaska,” said Kayhi head coach Alex Pennino. “It’s kind of pretty unique in that sense.”

Kayhi has a sizable team of nearly 60 participants in this 2018 season. On Friday, the team recorded 36 personal records, followed by another 37 PRs on Saturday.

“It’s nice to see kids improve,” Pennino said. “... That's what it’s about.”

Among the personal records were Paul Allmendinger’s 56.90 in the 400-meter dash preliminary on Friday, and a pair of PRs by Dwight King in the 1600-meter and 3200-meter runs.

Kayhi freshman Rachel Knight ran a PR of 1:05:88 in placing second in the 400-meter dash, and a 2:48:94 PR to place fourth in the 800-meter run. Another Ketchikan freshman, Morgan Elerding, recorded personal records while placing sixth in the 1,600-meter and 3,200-meter races.

“The core of our freshmen and underclassmen girls, they did well — they had a lot of PRs” Pennino said, adding later that he hopes the athletes continue with track and field. “You need four or five girls who can be the core of your team and you can go places in Southeast.”

On the girls side, Knight’s second-place finish in the 400-meter dash was one of two podium finishes for Kayhi. The girls 4x100m relay team of Knight, Rosie Kacenas, Madison Rose and Carlee Zartman placed third.

The girls 4 x 400-meter relay team of Knight, Keri Thomas, Zartman and Rose was well out in front but was disqualified for an exchange-zone error.

“They were winning by 50 or 60 meters,” Pennino said. “They just had a snafu in the exchange lane.”

The boys team was anchored by a strong showing by the Kayhi throwers.

Ketchikan’s Brendan Wong won the shot put, followed by Kayhi’s Justice Yoder, who launched a personal record to take second place; and Joey Rhoads in third.

In the discus, Rhoads placed second, and Wong took third place.

Ketchikan triple-jumpers Nolan Meyer and Trevor Holt placed second and third, respectively. Holt’s third-place jump was a personal record.

The Ketchikan boys had a number of podium-level finishes in running events, as well.

Sprinters included Kayhi senior Lester Credito, who placed third with a PR time in the 100-meter dash, and senior Kadin Hodges, with a second place in the 200-meter dash.

Kayhi did well in the relays, too. The Ketchikan team of Germin Pasion, Christopher Carlson, Riley Deal and John Rodriguez-Bernardo placed third in the 4x100m relay, while the Ketchikan team of Trevor Holt, Gabe Cruz, Credito, and Cole Caparas placed second in the 4x200m relay.

In the 4x800m relay, the Kayhi team of Allmendinger, John Barron, Nate Eisenhower and Jeff Lambert took third place.

Another southern Southeast Alaska athlete, Titus Tripple of Thorne Bay, dominated the hurdle events by placing first in the 110-meter and 300-meter hurdle events.

Pennino voiced appreciation for the athletes who competed well, especially under the conditions experienced on Friday. He said there were a lot of potential excuses to not perform well that day.

“But there were quite a few of (the athletes) who were up and at 'em, ready to go, literally fighting for every inch on that track,” he said. “I'm proud of them for that.”

He also noted that the race volunteers stuck it out, as well.

“Nobody disappeared on us, which was awesome,” he said. “They were the real tough guys out there.

“The kids could kind of like duck out and go to the gym and get warm for a while, come out and do their race for a couple of minutes,” he continued. “Those people you saw out there holding the stop watches, and the starters and all of these people, have kind of got to suffer and be out there the whole time. My hat's off to them.”

Results of the Ketchikan Invitational track and field meet will be posted in an upcoming edition of the Ketchikan Daily News.