The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

By Tony Gorman
For the Star 

Women rule as Buccaneer track and field team ends season at state tourney

Coach says the team's core group will return next season to provide leadership


Photo courtesy Becky Walker

Buccaneer handoff during a relay at the track and field state championships.

The Buccaneer track and field team brought home its fair share of medals last week after competing in the state championships.

Buccaneer Kassi Howard, Su-Valley's Maya Mossanen, and Homer's Marina Carroll all finished with 5'1" jumps. In the end, officials determined the podium positions by scratches on previous jumps and Howard ended up third. The junior's final jump was a personal best and a new school record.

"It was pretty exciting," Bucs coach Becky Walker said. "They had three girls that performed that well at the same meet. That was pretty spectacular."

Howard collected two more medals at the State Meet. She teamed up with Jade Watts, Sophia Palomar, Katie Wadsworth to place third in the 4X100 and 4X200 relays.

"They had been training together all season. They got their handoffs down to where you could barely see it happen," Walker said. "They are used to working together as a team and they have a really great rhythm together."

Dustin Woods was the athlete on the boys' side to collect a medal. He finished third in the high jump by topping off at 5'10" feet.

In other action, Owen Chadwick finished up a strong season by advancing to the finals of the 100 meters and 400 meters events. He finished eighth in the 100 meters with a time of 12.44 and fifth in the 400 meters with a time of 53.31. Hayden Howard qualified for the finals of the 200 meters and finished seventh with a time of 25.11. Chadwick and Howard were also members relay teams. Howard, Kyle Sodergren, Kyler LaBonte, and Luke Baczuk finished sixth in the 4X100 with a time of 48.63. Howard Sodergren, LaBonte, and Chadwick finished the 4X200 relay with a time of 1:39.68 - which was good enough for fifth place.

Photo courtesy Becky Walker

Seconds count in the highly competitive championship races, which feature Alaska's best high school athletes.

Jeffery Prevost set a personal best in the 100m hurdles prelims with a time of 20.70. Destiny Gray finished fifth in the finals of the 300m hurdles with a personal best 53.61. She also placed seventh in the high jump at 4'6". Gray also competed in 100m hurdles and finished with a time of 19.87. Jade Watts placed seventh in the 200 meters with a time of 28.11. Marianne Prax competed in the 300m hurdles and finished with a time of 59.77.

"They did really well. I was so pleased with their performances," Walker said. "A few that I know were hoping for better like Owen Chadwick. You know he had his eye on a couple of medals. But, it just didn't happen that second day."

Overall, Walker thought she had a great group of kids this season. Each week saw personal best gains and she is looking forward to next season's experienced team.

"All of them are hard workers and it was exciting to see them progress throughout the season," she said. "I think that's going to continue next year. We'll have at least that same core group of kids and we'll add to it with some newcomers. Their leadership is going to continue to get better."


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