Dimond's track and field team celebrated with song and dance Saturday on an overcast day at Dimond Alumni Field, where the Lynx swept boys and girls Cook Inlet Conference titles for the second time in three seasons and Bartlett's Taj Showalter set a CIC record in the boys 300-meter hurdles and tied the record in the 110-meter hurdles.
The Dimond girls extended a string of dominance, winning their sixth straight CIC title, and the Dimond boys earned their fourth title since 2005.
"I've been coaching for six years, I have six region titles," said Dimond girls coach Kathleen Navarre. "It feels pretty good."
Success breeds success, Navarre said, and the recent winning binge has helped draw a larger pool of athletes to the track and field team each year. About 95 boys and 65 girls came out this season, Navarre said.
Teammates supporting each other in gutty performances that didn't necessarily lead to individual victories helped create big point totals and landslide wins for the Lynx. The girls scored 143 points to runner-up Eagle River's 100, and the boys scored 131 to runner-up Chugiak's 87.
"We had a lot of guys that had to team up and work together," said seventh-year Dimond boys coach Scott Campbell. "We didn't dominate any one section, but brought it together with a team effort. As a team, especially in practice, we bond together."
As for Saturday's individual performances, Showalter stole the show with his record-breaking 300 hurdles run. Chugiak's Tyler Rohde -- the state record holder in the 110 hurdles -- chased him down the stretch, but Showalter closed the win in 38.34 seconds. He broke the record of 39.15 set by South's Elliot Bauer in 2009. Rohde finished in 39.21.
Showalter trailed Rohde slightly in the early going, but took control of the race near the midway point. By the time he rounded the corner and hit the stretch, he had opened up a sizeable gap. Over the last 50 or 60 meters, Rohde was gaining ground.
"Once I caught him, I knew I had to keep it up, because he can finish like a freight train," said Showalter, who gave a mini fist pump when he crossed the finish line. "I knew I just had to keep my form together and come down strong."
Showalter clocked 14.49 in the 110 hurdles, from which Rohde was absent -- he was disqualified in Friday's preliminaries. Showalter's time tied the CIC record set by Dimond's Wilbur Hooks in 1997.
"It means a lot," he said. "I trained my butt off this season."
The 800-meter races provided some of Saturday's most dramatic finishes, with West's Rachel Roelle chasing down Service's Jenette Northey to claim her fourth straight CIC title and Chugiak's Chris Kveseth outdueling Bartlett's Thomas Dolan in a race that left both boys in a breathless heap just beyond the finish line.
Northey, who won the 3,200 in commanding fashion Thursday, led most of the way in the 800, but Roelle overtook her on the final turn and pulled away down the stretch. A teary-eyed Roelle received hugs near the finish line, where she crossed in 2:21.63. Northey came in at 2:22.85.
"It was a really good race, it's exciting," Roelle said. "Jenette's really strong and I always have to try to stay with her as long as I can, because she can just go and go and go. When I passed her, I was just going as hard as I can, trying to leave it all on the track."
The boys race played out similarly for much of the race, with Kveseth setting the pace and Dolan taking a lead near the final turn. Dolan couldn't hold on, however, and Kveseth blew by him in the last 50 meters.
Both runners crashed to the ground the moment they crossed the finish line and didn't get up for several minutes. Kveseth finished in 2:00.30 and Dolan crossed in 2:00.91.
"It's a tough, tough race, the 800 is mentally tough and physically tough," Dolan said. "It was just gonna come down to a pure guts race and that's what we always want it to be. When you run fast like this in a championship atmosphere, there's so much on the line and it gets the blood pumping."
Reach Jeremy Peters at firstname.lastname@example.org or 257-4335.
By JEREMY PETERS