When Ketchikan Jason Lorig steps to the starting line for the 100 meters at the ASAA Division I State Track and Field Championships this weekend, he will draw a lot of interest.
For most, it will be their first look at the sensational sophomore sprinter, who caused a stir with his winning time at the Region V championships at Thunder Mountain High School on Friday.
There, Lorig won in a time of 10.69 seconds, setting a new mark for the fastest time in Alaska high school history.
State records can only be recorded at the state meet, so Lorig will have to repeat his feat this week to be in the official record books.
East Anchorage's Colton Herman owns the state meet record of 10.86 seconds, set in 2019. According to the Alaska Sports Report, Herman also had the previous all-time best mark of 10.76 seconds before Lorig broke it.
Lorig set the previous fast mark for this track season in Alaska of 11.07 seconds at the Capital City Invitational on April 22 in Juneau, and he was expected to be in the running for the state title in the 100 meters. But his time at the region championships was still shocking, and caused a few murmurs about its legitimacy, despite it being electronically timed and without a disqualifying wind reading.
"Yeah. It's legit," Lorig said matter of factly at Kayhi's practice on Monday, just after being teased by his teammates about some of his new-found fame. "My goal was to break 11 seconds, like 10.9. I didn't know it was going to be that quick."
"I've been getting a lot of those (legitimacy questions), too," Kayhi coach Alex Pennino said. "That's what the clock said. It is a great accomplishment. An amazing time. Hopefully he'll match it at state, run something right around there."
The 100 meters at the region championship was remarkably fast with five runners qualifying for state, but the region has put up consistently fast times in the event throughout the year, and other races at the region championships did not have abnormally quick times.
"I knew I ran pretty fast, I thought I broke 11," Lorig said. "I found out like 20 minutes later that I ran a 10.69. (My teammates) were all pretty hyped, other people on the other teams were all pretty excited for me, cheering me on. I was pretty happy."
Thunder Mountain sophomore Jayden Johnson was second to Lorig at the region championships with an 11.08, which is the second-fast seed mark at the state championships. Bartlett sophomore Marquez Nevitte (11.28 seconds), and East Anchorage senior Brian Morris (11.30) have the third and fourth fastest seed times at state. Morris has a personal best of 11.19 and four other runners have personal best times of 11.27 or better.
"He's not going to go up there and walk away with it. He's going to have some competition," Pennino said. "There are always good kids there."
"Jayden Johnson from TM has definitely helped push me to run faster," Lorig said. "I'll try to set the state record, maybe even beat my PR. It feels pretty good to know people are watching."
Lorig ran an 11.49 and finished 11th at the state championships last year in the 100.
The sophomore's times are remarkable as he did not compete in track before last year, and he has split time between soccer and track last year and this year.
"Last year was my first year in track. We didn't have track in middle school," Lorig said. "This year, I was just trying to come in and beat my PR from last year, maybe be top five in the state. Now ... "
Lorig played soccer in the offseason between his freshman and sophomore years.
"Last year, I didn't do much (to train)," Lorig said. "This year I'll be training a lot, and will work to be even faster."
Because he was traveling with the Kayhi soccer team for games, Lorig missed two late-season track meets. With the Kings soccer team also playing at the state tournament, Lorig plans on trying to split his time between track and soccer as much as possible, but might have to miss soccer games to compete in his events at state, where he also qualified in the 200 meters and the long jump. He is seeded second in the 200.
"I'm not sure how it will go. I'll figure it out," Lorig said. "Soccer plays Thursday, so I'll play in that game. On Friday, I might be able to run my 100 and 200, and play a game later. But Saturday, I don't think I'll be able to play in a game. It has been pretty hard doing both, but I feel like when I play a soccer game first it has helped get me warmed up."
"It is going to be tough for him to do double duty," Pennino said. "He's missed a couple of chances to race with us. But he's (seeded) first at state among the big schools. That is an opportunity you don't pass up. Those don't come around too often. There are a couple thousand track runners that would trade just about anything to get that chance."
The prelims for the boys 100 is scheduled for 2:05 p.m. on Friday, and the 200 at 5:05 p.m. On Saturday, the boys long jump is set for 12 p.m., the 100 finals at 12:38 p.m., and the 200 at 5:21 p.m.
"Last year I did it, and did pretty well," said Lorig of doing both sports at state. "I think the combination of soccer and track has been kind of helping me."
The track and field championships are in Palmer, and the Kings soccer games are set to be played at various locations in Anchorage about an hour away.
Last year, the Kings played two of their soccer games in Eagle River, less than 30 minutes from Palmer.
Styles seeded fourth
Sophomore Casey Styles is seeded fourth in the state in the 800 meters after winning the Region V title in a time of 2 minutes, 4.40 seconds. His time at regions was more than six seconds better than his previous best for the year.
Two other runners in the 800 have season-best times ahead of Styles and there is a large group in the 2:05, 2:06 area.
"Casey really showed me a lot in the 800," Pennino said. "If he can run that time at state, he should be in the finals for that race. That's a tough race. I've had runners post faster times, but I've never had anybody make the finals up there."
Styles had a personal best of 2:11.72 last year, when he placed second in the Region V meet. He wound up 14th in the state meet with a time of 2:18.34.
The Kayhi track and field team is sending a total of 10 athletes to the state championships, and all of them are sophomores or juniors.
In addition to Styles and Lorig, other sophomores heading to state are Clara Odden, Carol Frey and Trey Colbert. Juniors headed to state are Phoenix Boles, Alyanna Dela Cruz, Jared Rhoads, Julia Biagi and Linnea Loretan.
"It is awesome that they all should be back next year, and maybe a little faster," Pennino said. "Most are pretty low in the (state) rankings, but that is OK. We'll get them some experience, maybe have some make the finals. It will be fun. For more their goals will be to get PRs."
Odden, who won the 400 meters at the Region V championships, is seeded eighth in that event at state. She is also competing in the 200, and on the 4x100 and 4x200 relay teams.
Loretan advanced to state in the 100 and 300 hurdles. She is also on the 4x100 and 4x200 relay teams.
Biagi is competing on both relay teams and in the discus. Dela Cruz is running the 100 and also on the 4x100 relay team. Carol Frey is on the 4x400 relay team.
Boles is competing in the 400 meters, Colbert in the shot put, and Rhoads in the discus.