Do the Kodiak boys have enough firepower to win their first state track and field title since 2007?
The overwhelming consensus among the team is in emphatic “yes.”
“I think we do,” sophomore Levi Fried said. “I don’t think we are as stacked as the ’07 team, but we definitely have a shot at it.”
Fried has extra motive in helping the Bears when state: His older brother Lucas was on the 2007 team, and he wants a title of his own.
Fried and his teammates are going to have to work for it. In somewhat of a surprise, the Bears are not favored. That label goes to Cook Inlet Conference champion Dimond. Kodiak, on paper, trails the Anchorage school by 14 points.
The two-touchdown deficit is not a big concern for Kodiak. The Bears enjoy being in the underdog role when the two-day meet begins today at Lathrop High School in Fairbanks.
“I think that is kind of a good thing,” Levi Thomet said. “I think they (Dimond) are pretty confident that they are going to have it in the bag.”
Thomet is a gigantic key in Kodiak’s success. Just a sophomore, he is the state’s best distance runner, and is looking to win an unprecedented four events. He has the top times in the 1,600 (4 minutes, 24.42 seconds) and the 3,200 (9:20.40), is a contender in the 800 and a member of the top-seeded 3,200 relay.
“I don’t think that has ever been done,” Kodiak coach Marcus Dunbar said. “That would be history if he won all four. It is a lot to put on his plate. He is just a sophomore, and I am nervous about him running all four.”
Not even current University of Oregon star Trevor Dunbar competed in four events at a state meet during his career in Kodiak. However, Marcus knows a team title is within Kodiak’s grasps, and can’t afford to give up points.
Running four pressure-packed events in two days is tough, but Thomet is up for the challenge.
“The adrenaline of state and the competition makes you want to do it,” he said.
Of course, a state title isn’t won by just one person. The Bears will score big points from all of their distance runners.
Seniors Cole Christiansen and Julian McCarthy are seeded second and third in the 3,200, while Christiansen has the fourth-best time in the 1,600. Clayton Hannah and Fried could also score in a tightly grouped 800 field.
Senior Michael Ma'inifo will add points in the long and triple jump where he is seeded in the top four. Dunbar said, the long jump and the 400 relay are two events Kodiak can close the gap on Dimond.
“The difference is going to be made in the sprint relays and the jumping events,” Dunbar said.
Dimond does not posses big-time point scorers like Thomet and Ma'inifo, but it does have three top-seeded relay teams.
“Their points are more contested; there are a lot more people right on their tales where they are picking up points,” Dunbar said. “I think are chances are realistic.”
Kodiak’s girls are not in the hunt for a team title. Instead, the team is looking to get personal-bests from the seven girls headed to state.
“My goal is I would like to see us come home with a medal,” Dunbar said.
Seniors Marley Wilkins and Sarah Ng both have shots at podium finishes. Wilkins is in the 200 and 400, while Ng’s chance comes in the 300 hurdles, where she posted a 48.95 time — 0.25 seconds off the school record.
“Sarah is really coming on right now,” Dunbar said. “The hurdles are our strongest girls event.”
Shannon Armstrong, Ranie Siscar and McKenzie Barnett are also in the two hurdle events.
Contact Mirror writer Derek Clarkston at firstname.lastname@example.org.
4A state track and field championships
100 — 16. Josh Obas, 11.99. 200 — 16. Josh Obas, 24.11. 800 — 4. Levi Thomet, 2:01.05; 5. Clayton Hannah, 2:01.56; 8. Levi Fried, 2:02.45. 1,600 — 1. Levi Thomet, 4:24.42; 4. Cole Christiansen, 4:30.09; 7. Levi Fried, 4:33.34; 16. Julian McCarthy, 4:41.30. 3,200 — 1. Levi Thomet, 9:24.12; 2. Cole Christiansen, 9:42.97; 3. Julian McCarthy, 9:54.15. 110 hurdles — 16. Hayden Foster, 18.75. 400 relay — 7. Josh Obas, Billy Alcaide, Frederick Llorente, Jemuel Mangalus, 45.68. 1,600 relay — Billy Alcaide, Levi Fried, Clayton Hannah, Michael Manifo, 3:35.71. 3,200 relay — 7. Clayton Hannah, Levi Fried, Levi Thomet, Cole Christiansen, 8:45.59. High jump — 9. Michael Manifo, 5 feet, 8 inches. Long jump — 4. Michael Manifo, 20-05.5. Triple jump — 3. Michael Manifo, 40-08.5. Shot put — 4. Leo Sega, 44-03.75.
200 — 13. Marley Wilkins, 28.26. 400 — 8. Marley Wilkins, 1:02.51. 1,600 — 14. Zoe Bigley, 5:37.48. 3,200 — 9. Leah Cawhtorn, 12:03.95. 100 hurdles — 8. Shannon Armstrong, 17.31; 9. Sarah Ng, 17.56; 14. Ranie Siscar, 18.06. 300 hurdles — 6. Sarah Ng, 48.95; 10. McKenzie Barnett, 50.74. High jump — 6. McKenzie Barnett, 4-08. Triple jump — 15. Rosie Aquino, 30-01.25.