Joe Floyd Track and Field plays host to the second Brian Young Invitational — an all-star meet that begins Saturday and ends Sunday.
The meet comes a week after the state championships in Anchorage. The difference between this meet and the state meet is that the small-school and large-school athletes compete against each other.
“The two big things for me is that it gives everybody another week of season when the weather is good,” Kodiak coach Marcus Dunbar said. “The kids are starting to get in shape and that is when you need to compete, when you have done all the training ... and it does let the small school’s best kids compete against the best big-school kids.”
Dunbar created the meet last year to honor longtime Kodiak high school sports enthusiast Brian Young, who died in 2011 while climbing Denali.
The inaugural event was such a hit that Dunbar had no choice but to bring it back.
“We had a big push to do it again and we are excited to be back at it,” Dunbar said.
Close to 20 schools will be represented with athletes coming from all over the state. The athletes will be separated into three teams — the eight 4A Anchorage schools, Southcentral region and the Fairbanks and Southeast region. Each athlete had to meet a standard qualifying time to participate.
Nine state champions will be present in Kodiak, while eight events will feature both the large-school and small-school state champions.
The meet is filled with stars. The boys field is highlighted by Kodiak’s Levi Thomet, three-time state champion Leroy Elliott of West Anchorage, two-time state winner Ed Hall of Eagle River and small-school athlete of the year Nate Simmers of Anchorage Christian Schools.
Elliott was named last week’s athlete of the meet by winning the 110- and 300-meter hurdles and the triple jump, while Hall won the shot put and the discus.
Simmers, who is making his second trip to the island this season, won the 400 and the long and triple jumps in last week’s 3A meet.
Thomet became the first boy since 1995 to win the 800, 1,600 and 3,200. He also was a member of the winning 3,200 relay team.
4A state champions Charles Suddeth (100) of West Valley and Jared Welch (triple jump) of West Anchorage and 3A champions Micah Hibish (800) of Skyview, Zach Taplin (discus) of Cook Inlet Academy and Seth Carstens (high jump) of Nikiski will also be in attendance.
The girls side will feature Colony’s Peggy Mathis and Anchorage Christian Schools’ Tanner Ealum.
Mathis dominated the 4A meet last week, winning the 100, 200, 400 and long jump, while Ealum took care of business in the 3A meet, taking the 100, 200 and 400.
The two will battle for supremacy this weekend.
“One of the good matchups is that we get to watch Ealum race against Peggy Mathis, who ran almost identical times winning the small-school and the big-school sprint races,” Dunbar said.
4A state champions To’a Levi (shot and discus) of Lathrop and Cecil Dunleavy (high jump) of Wasilla and 3A winners Aurora Waclawski (800) of Homer and Izabelle Ith (100 hurdles and triple jump) of Petersburgh will also be competing.
One star not making the trip is Kenai’s Allie Ostrander, who shattered state records in the 1,600 and 3,200 and also won the 800 last week. Ostrander, one of the top runners in the nation, is playing at the state soccer tournament this weekend.
Dunbar expects a handful of meet records to be broken.
“Last year ran the gauntlet and broke every record,” he said. “I would suspect 50 percent of the records to go down.”
Last year the meet was on a Friday and Saturday, but Dunbar said he shifted the meet to Saturday and Sunday to accommodate athletes traveling to Kodiak. Turns out all the athletes will be in town tonight for a banquet dinner at Kodiak Middle School.
“I think it will work out better because the athletes have some time to get here and adjust,” Dunbar said. “Last year people were showing up right when things were happening.”
Since the ferry Tustumena was broken down last year, the meet cost close to $40,000 as athletes had to fly to the island.
With a working ferry this year, the price has dropped to $25,000, Dunbar said.
“The ferry helped off-set the cost quite a bit. We are still looking at ways to make it a little more affordable,” Dunbar said. “We appreciate the sponsors that are helping us do it.”
Saturday’s field events begin at 5:30 p.m., followed by running events at 7 p.m. Sunday’s field events begin at 3 p.m., with the running events starting at 4:30 p.m.
Contact Derek Clarkston at firstname.lastname@example.org.