Seventy-eight athletes coming from eight different schools across all divisions will give Region VI teams, fans and athletes plenty to watch and cheer for in the state track meet Friday and Saturday at Palmer High School.
Athletes from all teams that participated in last weekend’s regional meet have qualified for the state meet, and the coaches are raring to go.
The team also features the most individuals entered with 20 total. Those 20 will partake in 32 events total for the 4A division.
The number of entries isn’t the only high thing coming out of this, though.
According to West Valley head coach Hannibal Grubis, Lathrop features a top-five pair in seniors Peyton George and Sophia Hale. George is ranked second statewide in the 200 meter race and long jump, and Hale is ranked fourth statewide in the 400 meter race.
Grubis’ team also features highly ranked athletes.
“We’re ranked first and second in the state right now in the high jump,” West Valley Head Coach Hannibal Grubis said. “Alex (Emmers) jumped a 6’7” and Emmanuel Bostwick jumped a 6’4”.”
Grubis said West Valley’s 4 by 400 meter team featuring Curtis Beck, Elijah Dominique, Caleb Petersen and Shane Fisher is ranked first in the state.
“I think (my team) is going to perform well at state,” Valdez Head Coach Becky Walker said. “They’ve been working so hard this season, and … I think they’re peaking at the right time, they’re so excited for states next weekend.”
Valdez will be well represented at the meet, being second most in the region in terms of entries at 27. Of the Valdez athletes, Rafe Caruthers has the most entries at three. The junior will run the 800, 1600 and 3200 meter race.
Beyond the numbers, emotions are positive going into states amongst teams.
“I told my team … ’You go out there in states and give it everything you got,’” North Pole Head Coach Brenson Hardy. “‘You bring everything, including the kitchen sink, and now is the time where we prove we’re Patriots and that we fight.’”
This optimistic approach comes despite North Pole’s shortened season, as Hardy said states will just be the team’s fifth meet overall.
Good emotions were flowing throughout other coaches too, particularly about the impact the state athletes had on their fellow teammates.
“The work ethic of the six people that are going, (they) set a really good example for our … very young team,” Hutchinson head coach Benjamin Johnson said. “Experience-wise, probably for 60% of our team, this is their first season track. And so now, seeing that success … I think it will pay well for (the others) to go ‘Well, if I want to go to states, I better actually do my drills.’”
Johnson said that his three seniors who qualified, Grace Greene, Elliot Evans and Jamison Morris, were good role models.
“Those three … do the drills differently than everyone else,” Johnson said. “They drill hard when nobody is watching…They’ve always been looking to improve. All three of them are very determined to get the most of themselves.”
As a team, Hutchinson has entries in 16 events. Evans, Greene, and Morris account for six of those entries.
Those interested in ASAA Division 1 State Championship results can find them online at athletic.net, listed under the meet’s name.