Even though the sun was shining and the sky was mostly clear on Friday and Saturday during the 2023 Region IV track and field championships at Dimond High, conditions were still less than ideal due to swirling winds.
“On the curve on the back stretch, I felt it a lot down there and it was like you were running forward and it felt like you weren’t moving at all,” Chugiak’s Campbell Peterson said. “It was crazy.”
It affected everyone from sprinters to hurdlers and even jumpers, but it didn’t stop Peterson and the rest of the Chugiak girls from dominating both days of competition.
The Mustangs finished with a resounding 176.5 team points to claim their first regional title since 2017 and snap the five consecutive title streak of South, which came in second with a team score of 109.5.
The reigning Division I state champion Mustangs were led by their outstanding group of distance runners, highlighted by Peterson, the 2022-23 Cross Country Gatorade Player of the Year. They swept all of the endurance races, including having the top three finishers in the 3,200 meters on Friday.
“I think it reflects the success that our program has seen in recent years due to hard work and good coaching,” Peterson said. “All the girls are really excited and we’re really proud of the effort we put out there.”
She was the first of the trio to cross the finish line, with a time of 11 minutes, 23.10 seconds and was followed by freshman Hannah Shaha, who set a new personal record with 12:00.13. Sophomore Allison Macy wasn’t far behind, clocking in at 12:11.56.
“Overall it was a really good race, great pack, and I’m proud of how I ran,” Peterson said. “I waited at the end and I didn’t even know the places everyone was in. I saw them coming in and I got up and gave them a big hand when they were done.”
The trio also teamed up with a fourth teammate to finish first in the 4x800 meter relay by a considerable margin with a mark of 10:08.08.
Peterson graduated earlier in the week on Monday and will be attending Brigham Young University, where she intends to try to walk on to the cross country and track and field teams for the Cougars.
She is glad to have been able to contribute to the Mustangs’ rich legacy and is confident that it is in good hands for years to come thanks to the talented underclassmen she helped mentor.
“It’s been a really cool experience to see them grow,” Peterson said. “They’re almost as fast as me, which makes me excited for how far they can go.”
She also won the 1,600 meter event with a mark of 5:22.19 and finished second in the 800 to her teammate and fellow senior Addison Capozzi, who ran a 2:24.51. The Mustangs girls 4x200 and 4x400 relay teams finished first as well with a marks of 1:48.77 and 4:13.44.
Chugiak junior Skyler Belmear also produced a first-place finish by winning the girls 400 meter with a mark of 1:00.46.
The elite distance runners weren’t the only Mustangs to reach the top of the podium at regions. Freshman Hannah Bodkin set a new personal record and came in first in the high jump on Friday by clearing 5 feet.
On the boys side, after coming second to Bartlett junior A’lante Owens-Player in the triple jump on Friday, Chugiak’s Anders Larsen claimed his first ever regional title in the long jump Saturday morning with a mark of 21′03.75.
“It feels good and it was nice to PR despite the wind,” Larsen said. “With this wind, I don’t know what it would’ve been like if we had no wind.”
Even though he was elated to win the event and punch his ticket to state, Larsen had his sights set on breaking at least the school and possibly even the meet record.
Unfortunately, while the girls jumpers leaped with the wind at their backs, the boys had to take it head on and Larsen believes it “definitely” affected many performances from him and his fellow competitors.
“Everyone was scratching like crazy,” Larsen said. “The wind was definitely a factor. I had to move my mark back by a lot because I kept scratching ... We wanted to steal the girls’ pit but that was not going to happen.”
Later in the day he earned his second regional gold medal by coming in first in the boys 400 meter race with a personal-record mark of 50.25.
Larsen hasn’t committed to a college just yet but is mulling staying close to home and competing in track and field at UAA, or holding out to see if he can get an offer to play basketball somewhere since that is his favorite sport.
In the boys team competition, Bartlett took the top spot with 97 points, edging runner-up East with 94 points. Dimond finished third with 82.
West girls dominate in shot put
In the same way that Peterson and her stable of Mustangs galloped their way to podium finishes, West senior thrower Faith Mata led a flock of Eagles to a similar feat, taking it a step further as they claimed the top four places in the shot put finals on Saturday.
“We worked hard, we trained all season, we came this far as a team and we’re finishing strong,” Mata said.
She came in first with a mark of 33-8 1/2 and was followed by her younger sister Josephine with a 32-3 1/2. In third and fourth place was Serah Vaafuti and Tonya Karpow with marks of 31-0 1/2 and 30-11 1/2, respectively.
“It wasn’t a (personal record) but it landed me first place in the region,” Mata said.
The recent graduate is excited to be heading back to state and looks to improve upon her fourth-place finish from last year, now that she’s heading into it healthy after having to battle through a knee injury in 2022.
“It kind of weighed me down because I couldn’t really do my full throws,” Mata said. “I could’ve stopped throwing last year, but I continued to train throughout the season and offseason.”
Her younger sister is a junior, and she’s proud of how far they all have come over the course of the season and excited for the future of the program.
“I believe they can go farther next year when I hand down the torch to my little sister,” Mata said.
Bartlett underclassman finally bests upperclassman rival
Marquez Nevitte is one of the fastest high school sprinters in the state, but the ascending sophomore had finished behind Bettye Davis East senior Brian Morris every time the two of them were in the same heat in both the 100 and 200 meter — up until regions.
“I’ve been telling him that I was coming, but I always stay humble and keep working hard,” Nevitte said.
Even though he produced the top qualifying time in the prelims for the 100 meter on Friday, he wasn’t in the same heat as Morris, so he still had to prove to himself that he could beat his season-long rival. That’s exactly what he did when two of them faced off in the finals on Saturday.
“I worked hard all offseason and I kept getting second in the beginning, so towards the end I just had to finish the race,” Nevitte said.
His mark of 11.28 narrowly edged out Morris’ 11.30 and was a reflection of all the hard work he put in to close the gap between the two competitors during the regular season, with state coming up next week.
They faced off again in the 200 meter, which Nevitte says is his best event, and while he had a slight lead over Morris initially, after stumbling briefly, he couldn’t recover in enough time to regain it. Nevitte finished a close second with a personal-record mark of 23.02.
Region IV Championships
Boys 3200 Meters
1. Blaise Boyer 10:05.59, South Anchorage
2. Ethan Howe 10:05.78, East Anchorage
3. Jarrett Jackson 10:06.65, Dimond
4. Dylan Soberay 10:12.86, West Anchorage
Girls 3200 Meters
1. Campbell Peterson 11:23.10, Chugiak
2. Hannah Shaha 12:00.13, Chugiak
3. Allison Macy 12:11.56, Chugiak
4. Mia Stiassny 12:16.67, South Anchorage
Boys Shot Put
1. Deuce Alailefaleula 44′00.00, Bartlett
2. George Lane 43′03.00, East Anchorage
3. Sone Falealo 42′08.75, West Anchorage
4. Eric Bushnell 42′04.00, East Anchorage
1. Norah Brown 105′09.00, West Anchorage
2. Isabella Pederson 104′10.00, Eagle River
3. Shayvon Williams 102′10.00, Chugiak
4. Liberty Lobe 99′04.00, South Anchorage
Boys High Jump
1. Malachi Casey 6′0.00, Dimond
2. Phoenix Perkins 5′10.00, Service
3. Dylan Amy 5′6.00, Service
4. Akeem Sulaiman 5′6.00, East Anchorage
Girls High Jump
1. Hannah Bodkin 5′0.00, Chugiak
2. Kayla Cagle 4′10.00, South Anchorage
3. Lilah Johnson 4′10.00, Dimond
4. Delaney Fagerstrom 4′8.00, Dimond
Boys Triple Jump
1. A’lante Owens-Player 45′00.25, Bartlett
2. Anders Larsen 44′02.75, Chugiak
3. Tyler Drake 40′07.25, Bartlett
4. Kaleb Fautanu 40′04.00, Dimond
Girls Triple Jump
1. Makaylen King 36′02.00, South Anchorage
2. Gabrielle Okorodudu 34′06.75, Eagle River
3. Maya Tirpack 32′08.75, South Anchorage
4. Isabella Pederson 32′08.50, Eagle River
Boys 100 Meters
1. Marquez Nevitte 11.28, Bartlett
2. Brian Morris 11.30, East Anchorage
3. Beckett Stolp 11.49, West Anchorage
4. Cody Tirpack 11.53, South Anchorage
Girls 100 Meters
1. Olyvia Mamae 13.26, East Anchorage
2. Tamiyah Moses 13.51, Dimond
3. Gabrielle Okorodudu 13.80, Eagle River
4. Magdalena Frydrychova 13.84, East Anchorage
Boys 200 Meters
1. Brian Morris 22.76, East Anchorage
2. Alan Szewcyk Jr. 22.98, Eagle River
3. Marquez Nevitte 23.13, Bartlett
4. Beckett Stolp 23.52, West Anchorage
Girls 200 Meters
1. Olyvia Mamae 26.98, East Anchorage
2. Sarah Dittman 27.24, Dimond
3. Skyler Belmear 27.60, Chugiak
4. Anna Green 27.94, South Anchorage
Boys 400 Meters
1. Anders Larsen 50.25, Chugiak
2. Garrett Simon 51.64, Service
3. Cody Tirpack 51.79, South
4. Ethan Stiller 51.86, Dimond
Girls 400 Meters
1. Skyler Belmear 1:00.46, Chugiak
2. Alliyah Fields 1:01.30, Chugiak
3. Petra Knox 1:02.46, Chugiak
4. Addison Capozzi 1:02.95, Chugiak
Boys 800 Meters
1. Max Johnsen 2:00.20, Dimond
2. Murphy Kimball 2:01.58, West
3. Jarrett Jackson 2:05.23, Dimond
4. Jack Molloy 2:07.10, Eagle River
Girls 800 Meters
1. Addison Capozzi 2:24.51, Chugiak
2. Campbell Peterson 2:25.07, Chugiak
3. Elliana Zock 2:26.95, South
4. Alliyah Fields 2:28.00, Chugiak
Boys 1600 Meters
1. Jarrett Jackson 4:38.44, Dimond
2. Max Johnsen 4:41.26, Dimond
3. Blaise Boyer 4:41.45, South
4. Vebjorn Flagstad 4:43.02, South Anchorage
Girls 1600 Meters
1. Campbell Peterson 5:22.19, Chugiak
2. Ava Murphy 5:31.17, South
3. Adria Wuerth 5:31.48, Service
4. Hannah Shaha 5:31.98, Chugiak
Boys 110m Hurdles - 39″
1. Alan Szewczyk Jr. 15.72, Eagle River
2. Tyler Drake 16.56, Bartlett
3. Zuriel Guzman 17.17, Bartlett
4. Hayden Foss 17.44, Bartlett
Girls 100m Hurdles - 33″
1. Olyvia Mamae 15.27, East Anchorage
2. Magdalena Frydrychova 15.87, East Anchorage
3. Makaylen King 16.29, South
4. Ellen Kruchoski 16.87, Chugiak
Boys 300m Hurdles - 36″
1. Alan Szewczyk Jr. 42.22, Eagle River
2. Makai Warren-Dowl 43.25, Chugiak
3. Fafo Lefano 43.36, South
4. Zuriel Guzman 44.30, Bartlett
Girls 300m Hurdles - 30″
1. Karsen Beaglee 48.01, West Anchorage
2. Magdalena Frydrychova 48.87, East Anchorage
3. Milan Eisenmayer 50.81, Eagle River
4. Audra Burrill 51.14, Chugiak
Boys 4x100 Relay
1. East Anchorage 43.25
2. Chugiak 43.40
3. West Anchorage 43.71
4. Dimond 45.53
Girls 4x100 Relay
1. Dimond 51.90
2. West Anchorage 52.02
3. East Anchorage 52.36
4. Chugiak 53.45
Boys 4x200 Relay
1. East Anchorage 1:31.20
2. Chugiak 1:31.47
3. South Anchorage 1:36.27
4. Service 1:36.45
Girls 4x200 Relay
1. Chugiak 1:48.77
2. South Anchorage 1:49.73
3. Dimond 1:50.08
4. Eagle River 1:53.44
Boys 4x400 Relay
1. South Anchorage 3:33.44
2. Service 3:34.75
3. Dimond 3:36.29
4. Bartlett 3:36.96
Girls 4x400 Relay
1. Chugiak 4:13.44
2. South Anchorage 4:24.30
3. Service 4:27.38
4. Dimond 4:31.95
Boys 4x800 Relay
1. Eagle River 8:25.34
2. Service 8:25.37
3. Dimond 8:26.93
4. South Anchorage 8:34.58
Girls 4x800 Relay
1. Chugiak 10:08.08
2. South Anchorage 10:22.92
3. Dimond 10:25.08
4. East Anchorage 10:30.70
Girls Shot Put
1. Faith Mata 33′08.50, West Anchorage
2. Josephine Mata 32′03.50, West Anchorage
3. Serah Vaafuti, 31′00.50, West Anchorage
4. Tonya Karpow 30′11.50, West Anchorage
1. Eric Bushnell 144′03.00 East Anchorage
2. Sone Falealo 140′09.00 West Anchorage
3. Mathias VaiVai 132′11.00 East Anchorage
4. Puni Pa’u 130′00.00, East Anchorage
Boys Long Jump
1. Anders Larsen 21′03.75, Chugiak
2. Willie Zamora 20′10.50, West Anchorage
3. Ariel Sanchez 20′04.50, West Anchorage
4. Marquez Nevitte 19′11.00, Bartlett
Girls Long Jump
1. Sarah Dittman 16′11.00, Dimond
2. Gabrielle Okorodudu 16′06.75, Eagle River
3. Finley Moffett 16′04.75, Chugiak
4. Makaylen King 16′02.50, South Anchorage
1. Chugiak 176.5; 2. South Anchorage 109.5; 3. West Anchorage 78; 4. Dimond 71; 5. East Anchorage 65; 6. Eagle River 52; 7. Service 17; 8. Bartlett 9.
1. Bartlett 97; 2. East Anchorage 94; 3. Dimond 82; 4. West Anchorage 71; 5. South Anchorage 70; 6. Chugiak 60; 7. Service 52; 8. Eagle River 51.