Cook Inlet Academy’s Noah Leaf (left) races Soldotna’s Brenner Furlong in Saturday’s boys 200-meter sprint at the Kenai Invitational at Ed Hollier Field in Kenai. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Cook Inlet Academy’s Noah Leaf (left) races Soldotna’s Brenner Furlong in Saturday’s boys 200-meter sprint at the Kenai Invitational at Ed Hollier Field in Kenai. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Track & field teams converge for Kenai Invite

Girl power prevailed among peninsula teams at Friday and Saturday’s annual Kenai Invitational track meet at Ed Hollier Field in Kenai.

The Kardinals girls track and field team treated the home crowd with a team championship, piling up 120 points on the strength of seven event victories, beating runner-up Soldotna by 24 points. Colony finished third with 86 points.

In the boys team race, Colony claimed the team crown with 105 points, better than second-place Kodiak’s 93.5 points. Colony got all three event victories from senior Brandon Nicholson, who fueled the Knights by sweeping the boys high, long and triple jump events.

Soldotna finished third in the boys team race with 89 points, and Kenai Central took fifth with 58.

The meet was the first big meet of the year for peninsula runners, throwers and jumpers, and the mild, cloudy skies provided ideal conditions to post an early season top time.

Among the local athletes that racked up multiple event wins was Kenai senior Katie Kilfoyle in the girls hurdles, senior Abby Beck in the girls throwing events, and a pair of relay victories as well. The Kenai girls prevailed in the 400- and 800-meter relays, with Alyssa Bucho and Hayley Maw starting on both teams.

Kilfoyle’s dominance in the hurdles was just the first warning shot to the rest of the state that the Kenai senior is ready to make a run at a state crown, which is her goal by the end of the season. She also joined the winning 400-meter sprint relay, along with Bucho, Maw and Tekaiya Rich.

“It’s my senior year, and I feel like I have that drive,” Kilfoyle said.

Kilfoyle won the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 17.45 seconds, just a click off her personal best of 17.18 set last year, then won the 300-meter race in 48.85 seconds, just 1.43 seconds off the current state-leading time, and already less than a half-second off her PR from last year.

Kilfoyle took fourth at state last year in the 300 race, and said this year is feeling like a decent opportunity awaits her.

“These were good races to start the year off,” she said. “I’d love to win a state championship.”

Another Kenai senior, Abby Beck, swept a pair of events with wins in the discus and shot put. Beck reached new heights for herself in the shot put with a throw of 35 feet, 3 inches, and came close in the discus throw with a heave of 123 feet, 9 inches, that was 3 feet off her personal best. Both throws were also tops in the state this spring.

“I’m incredibly happy,” Beck said. “I owe it to good coaching and good technical form.”

Beck said rookie throwing coach Zach Taplin, a 2014 Cook Inlet Academy graduate who owns a Class 1-2-3A state championship in the discus. Beck said Taplin’s different approach to throwing has helped her tap further potential, and said Friday’s toss was one of her better throws.

“I felt really relaxed, but really shocked (at the distance),” Beck said.

In the boys hurdling events, Cook Inlet Academy senior Noah Leaf swept the boys events, winning each race with personal best times. Leaf had to contend with Kenai sophomore Jarett Wilson and SoHi senior Abraham Van Hout in both races, as the podium featured the same finishing racers in both events.

Van Hout posted a state-leading time of 15.88 seconds in Friday’s 110-meter preliminary, but could not muster a similar performance in Saturday’s final.

“I’ve got bad shinsplints,” Van Hout explained while rubbing his legs. Van Hout said that Leaf typically joins in on SoHi’s track practices and the two competitors share secrets and information on how to improve. However, Leaf’s advice may be inadvertently giving the CIA senior another contender to deal with.

“I didn’t believe I could run (15.88),” Van Hout said. “If I can improve on that, I think I can win state.”

Van Hout joined junior Brenner Furlong, Logan Schrader and Koby Vinson on the second-place 1,600-meter relay team. Furlong added an individual win in the 100-meter dash — beating Nikiski junior Isaac Averill by a scant .03 seconds — and a win in the 400-meter sprint relay, joining Chris Gilbert, Vinson and Schrader. Furlong also took second in the 200 sprint.

Furlong’s personal best of 11.49 seconds in the 100 could give him a realistic shot at a state championship come May.

“(Galen) Brantley has coached me, he’s gotten me into the weight room, squatting and lifting,” Furlong said. “Look where I’ve come now.”

Furlong also added that Kenai senior Josh Jackman pushed him hard in both the 100 and 200 races.

“Josh killed me in the 200,” Furlong said.

The meet also featured a unique event that showcased the best throwers in the state in a 400-meter relay. The Kenai team of John Grossl, Billy Morrow, Byron Dunham and Seth Kruse claimed the victory, and with only about 30 minutes of handoff practice total.

“It was more like, you’re going to do it,” Dunham said about the coaches offering for the race.

“It wasn’t really an option,” Grossl added.

Kenai senior Julieanne Wilson earned a victory in the girls long jump and finished second in the triple, posting a leap of 16 feet, 7 inches, in the long jump to fall short of her PR by just two inches.

Soldotna junior Wendell Tuisaula won the boys discus with a PR of 142 feet, 6 inches, a day after finishing second in the shot put. Tuisaula posted personal bests in both throws, including a new state-leading heave of 142 feet, 6 inches, in the disc.

The Homer boys won the 3,200-meter relay with a state-leading time of 8:35.09. The team of Bill Rich, Jacob Davis, Jared Brant and Luciana Fasulo beat out Kodiak’s squad by just over a second.

Kenai Invitational

Friday, Saturday

at Kenai Central

GIRLS

Team scores: 1. Kenai Central, 120; 2. Soldotna, 96; 3. Colony, 86; 4. Palmer, 83; 5. Homer, 73; 6. Grace, 63; 7. Kodiak, 55; 8. Wasilla, 22; 9. Seward, 18; 10. Wasilla Lake Christian, 13; 11. Valdez, 11; 13. Su Valley, 8; 12. Houston, 8; 14. Nikiski, 3.

100-meter dash — 1. Kaylee Veldstra, Hom, 12.90; 2. Teeana Nicholai, Pal, 13.02; 3. Hayley Maw, Ken, 13.03; 4. Laura Ellis, Gra, 13.10; 5. Abigail Kenley, Col, 13.39; 6. Alyssa Bucho, Ken, 13.41.

400 — 1. Laura Ellis, Gra, 1:02.03; 2. Addison Gibson, Ken, 1:03.93; 3. HoneyRose Macatuno, Kod, 1:04.40; 4. Tatum Roderick, SuV, 1:04.82; 5. Brittany Taylor, Sol, 1:05.16; 6. Laila Denning, Kod, 1:07.23.

200 — 1. Laura Ellis, Gra, 27.33; 2. Kaylee Veldstra, Hom, 27.78; 3. Brittany Taylor, Sol, 28.09; 4. Hayley Maw, Ken, 28.14; 5. Shandra Cutsforth, Pal, 28.31; 6. Tatum Roderick, SuV, 28.69.

800 — 1. Coleen Geraghty, Col, 2:32.09; 2. Grace Gannon, Gra, 2:34.52; 3. Audrey Rosencrans, Hom, 2:35.95; 4. Autumn Daigle, Hom, 2:39.79; 5. Lauren Kuhns, Hom, 2:40.30; 6. Jill Bowker, Col, 2:40.60.

1,600 — 1. Grace Gannon, Gra, 5:30.41; 2. Ruby Woodings, Pal, 5:33.98; 3. Audrey Rosencrans, Hom, 5:38.57; 4. Allison VanPelt, Hou, 5:38.69; 5. Coleen Geraghty, Col, 5:39.34; 6. Autumn Daigle, Hom, 5:43.32.

3,200 — 1. Grace Gannon, Gra, 11:44.01; 2. Ruby Lindquist, Sew, 11:54.65; 3. Audrey Rosencrans, Hom, 11:55.08; 4. Lauren Kuhns, Hom, 12:13.18; 5. Ithaca Bergholtz, Ken, 12:15.58; 6. Arielle Himelbloom, Kod, 12:18.91.

100 hurdles — 1. Katie Kilfoyle, Ken, 17.45; 2. Hallee Blair, Kod, 17.59; 3. Sophie Thomas, Sol, 17.72; 4. Lizzie Palmberg, WLC, 17.99; 5. Holleigh Jaime, Sol, 18.28; 6. Kylie Ness, Sol, 18.40.

300 hurdles — 1. Katie Kilfoyle, Ken, 48.85; 2. Lizzie Palmberg, WLC, 48.86; 3. Hallee Blair, Kod, 49.78; 4. Madeline Ko, Pal, 51.06; 5. Sophie Thomas, Sol, 51.18; 6. Holleigh Jaime, Sol, 51.78.

400 relay — 1. Kenai (Bucho, Maw, Rich, Kilfoyle), 52.71; 2. Soldotna, 54.71; 3. Colony, 56.30; 4. Soldotna, 58.17; 5. Valdez, 58.47; 6. Colony, 59.84.

800 relay — 1. Kenai (Coghill, Wilson, Bucho, Maw), 1:52.62; 2. Palmer, 1:56.37; 3. Homer, 1:56.69; 4. Colony, 1:59.01; 5. Soldotna, 1:59.33; 6. Kodiak, 1:59.54.

1,600 relay — 1. Palmer (Woodings, Ko, Copp, Madruga), 4:26.87; 2. Kodiak, 4:32.01; 3. Kenai, 4:32.26; 4. Wasilla, 4:42.82; 5. Colony, 4:47.67; 6. Soldotna, 4:49.19.

3,200 relay — 1. Colony (Bowker, Geraghty, Miles, Powers), 10:19.23; 2. Homer, 10:26.46; 3. Kenai, 10:39.25; 4. Kodiak, 10:57.84; 5. Palmer, 11:15.44; 6. Colony, 12:13.53.

High jump — 1. Ceil Dunleavy, Was, 5 feet, 5 inches; 2. Kassandra Howard, Val, 4—10; 3. Coral Petrosius, Sew, 4—10; 4. Anna Condio, Col, 4—8; 5. Olivia Schwenk, Sol, 4—8; 6. Aliann Schmidt, Sol, 4—6.

Triple jump — 1. Madeline Ko, Pal, 34—3; 2. Julianne Wilson, Ken, 32—4 1-2; 3. Ruby Woodings, Pal, 32—1 3-4; 4. Shawn Johnson, Pal, 30—4 3-4; 5. Brooklyn Kopsack, Col, 29—11 1-2; 6. Chandra Christiansen, Kod, 29—8 1-4.

Shot put — 1. Abby Beck, Ken, 35—3; 2. Jenna Markel, Gra, 33—9; 3. Ituau Tuisaula, Sol, 33—7; 4. Annie Quinn, Sol, 33—5 3-4; 5. Emily Pieh, Sol, 32—1-2; 6. Emma Uschmann, Pal, 31—10.

Discus — 1. Abby Beck, Ken, 123—9; 2. Kristina Tennesen, Col, 116—10; 3. Emily Pieh, Sol, 111—2; 4. Annie Quinn, Sol, 96—3; 5. Ituau Tuisaula, Sol, 96—2; 6. Coral Petrosius, Sew, 91—9.

Long jump — Julianne Wilson, Ken, 16–7; 2. Chandra Christiansen, Kod, 15—5; 3. Madeline Ko, Pal, 15—3 1-2; 4. Anna Condio, Col, 15—2 1-2; 5. Victoria Malak, Was, 15—1 1-2; 6. Abigail Kenley, Col, 14—2.

BOYS

1. Colony, 105; 2. Kodiak, 93.5; 3. Soldotna, 89; 4. Palmer, 88; 5. Kenai Central, 58; 6. Wasilla, 53; 7. Homer, 50.5; 8. Nikiski, 32; 9. Anchorage Christian, 30; 10. Cook Inlet Academy, 29; 11. Grace Christian, 19; 12. Valdez, 14.

100 — 1. Brenner Furlong, Sol, 11.49; 2. Isaac Averill, Nik, 11.52; 3. Josh Jackman, Ken, 11.61; 4. Jonathan Pomrenke, Col, 11.78; 5. Teddy Croft, Hom, 11.84; 6. E’Vion Scott, Col, 12.14.

400 — 1. Larry Cutsforth, Pal, 53.31; 2. Camrin Yturbe, Kod, 53.60; 3. Jack Hannah, Kod, 53.84; 4. PJ Cutright, Pal, 55.56; 5. Isaak Bell, Was, 55.61; 6. Corbit Brewer, Kod, 56.22.

200 — 1. Josh Jackman, Ken, 23.14; 2. Brenner Furlong, Sol, 23.38; 3. Noah Leaf, CIA, 24.02; 4. Teddy Croft, Hom, 24.04; 5. PJ Cutright, Pal, 24.77; 6. Zane Vrvilo, Col, 24.93.

800 — 1. Blake Bennett, ACS, 2:06.44; 2. Keith Osowski, Kod, 2:06.46; 3. Luciano Fasulo, Hom, 2:09.19; 4. Teddy Croft, Hom, 24.04; 5. PJ Cutright, Pal, 24.77; 6. Jared Brant, Hom, 2:12.96.

1,600 — Blake Bennett, ACS, 4:33.85; 2. Keith Osowski, Kod, 4:41.49; 3. Lev Robertson, Pal, 4:47.19; 4. Eliasson VanPelt, Was, 4:51.52; 5. Luciano Fasulo, Hom, 4:53.54; 6. Bill Rich, Hom, 4:54.24.

3,200 — 1. Blake Bennett, ACS, 9:41.27; 2. Keith Osowski, Kod, 9:57.27; 3. Eliasson VanPelt, Was, 10:22.54; 4 (tie). Bill Rich, Hom, Brenden Thompson, Kod, 10:31.73; 6. Jeffrey Lautrup, Col, 10:32.16.

110 hurdles — 1. Noah Leaf, CIA, 15.97; 2. Jarett Wilson, Ken, 16.28; 3. Abraham Van Hout, Sol, 16.84; 4. Matthew Daniels, Pal, 16.52; 5. Wyatt Helton, Was, 17.37; 6. Matthew Clyde, Col, 17.81.

300 hurdles — 1. Noah Leaf, CIA, 41.66; 2. Jarett Wilson, Ken, 42.87; 3. Abraham Van Hout, Sol, 43.10; 4. Jacob Hessinger, Col, 43.22; 5. Matthew Daniels, Pal, 44.82; 6. Joel Francisco, Kod, 45.81.

400 relay — 1. Soldotna (Gilbert, Vinson, Schrader, Furlong), 45.79; 2. Colony, 46.25; 3. Palmer, 46.54; 4. Nikiski, 46.94; 5. Kodiak, 48.98; 6. CIA, 49.27.

800 relay — 1. Palmer (Cutsforth, Daniels, Johnson, Tucker), 1:38.03; 2. Nikiski, 1:41.09; 3. Kodiak, 1:44.30; 4. Soldotna, 1:44.69; 5. Wasilla, 1:44.86; 6. Wasilla, 1:45.60.

1,600 relay — 1. Kodiak (Brewer, Carros, Yturbe, Hannah), 3:40.64; 2. Soldotna, 3:44.10; 3. Palmer, 3:47.14; 4. Wasilla, 3:50.08; 5. Homer, 3:52.33; 6. Colony, 3:57.46.

3,200 relay — 1. Homer (Rich, Davis, Brant, Fasulo), 8:35.09; 2. Kodiak, 8:36.37; 3. Colony, 9:14.82; 4. Soldotna, 9:19.41; 5. Wasilla, 9:36.80; 6. Colony, 9:45.69.

Triple jump — 1. Brandon Nicholson, Col, 45—3 1-2; 2. Nick Johnson, Pal, 41—8 1-4; 3. Donovan Eiman, Pal, 40—9 3-4; 4. Logan Schrader, Sol, 40—5 1-2; 5. Josh Jackman, Ken, 40—5; 6. Andreas Carros, Kod, 40—1 3-4.

Discus — 1. Wendell Tuisaula, Sol, 142—6; 2. Alex Binder, Gra, 135—8; 3. Jarek Shultz, Col, 129—10; 4. Ian Johnson, Nik, 124—9; 5. Jonathan Pomrenke, Col, 123—11; 6. Jay Miranda, Kod, 123—2.

High jump — 1. Brandon Nicholson, Col, 5—10; 2. Jarett Wilson, Ken, 5—8; 3. Jonah Coats, Val, 5—6; 4. PJ Cutright, Pal, Donovan Eiman, Pal, Dustin Woods, Val, 5—6.

Long jump — 1. Brandon Nicholson, Col, 21—10; 2. Josh Jackman, Ken, 20—9; 3. Wyatt Helton, Was, 19—11 1-2; 4. Jaden Caple, Pal, 19—11; 5. Logan Schrader, Sol, 19—10 1-2; 6. Alexander Spangler, Was, 18—3.

Shot put — n/a.

Kenai Central’s Katie Kilfoyle hurdles a barrier in Saturday’s 300-meter girls race at the Kenai Invitational at Ed Hollier Field in Kenai. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Central’s Katie Kilfoyle hurdles a barrier in Saturday’s 300-meter girls race at the Kenai Invitational at Ed Hollier Field in Kenai. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Nikiski’s Jack Sullenger hands off to teammate Patrick Perry in the boys 400-meter relay in Saturday’s Kenai Invitational at Ed Hollier Field in Kenai. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Nikiski’s Jack Sullenger hands off to teammate Patrick Perry in the boys 400-meter relay in Saturday’s Kenai Invitational at Ed Hollier Field in Kenai. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna’s Abraham Van Hout leaps a barrier in Saturday’s boys 300-meter hurdles race at the Kenai Invitational at Ed Hollier Field in Kenai. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna’s Abraham Van Hout leaps a barrier in Saturday’s boys 300-meter hurdles race at the Kenai Invitational at Ed Hollier Field in Kenai. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Central’s John Grossl winds up for a discus toss at Saturday’s Kenai Invitational at Ed Hollier Field in Kenai. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Central’s John Grossl winds up for a discus toss at Saturday’s Kenai Invitational at Ed Hollier Field in Kenai. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

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