As the school year comes to a close, Skagway’s final sporting event of the year is upon us. Thirteen Skagway School students are taking to the streets and trails in preparation for their first track meet in Juneau.
It’s a whirlwind of a season, with their first meet on May 5 and 6 and regionals later on in the month. To ready themselves for the very short season, runners are practicing endurance, strength and speed, running loops around the school and up to Lower Lake and back.
Iraida Hisman, Silas and Eliza Myers and Jessica and Zoe Whitehead comprise the J-High team, while Danny Brady, Wyatt and Colton Belisle, Micah Cook, CJ Dormido, Steaven McKnight, Dominic Rotier, Al Weber and Kara Whitehead make up the high school team. Kara Whitehead, Weber, Colton Belisle and Cook are the only returning members.
Despite announcing his retirement from the sport, Coach Kent Fielding is back, and it’s due to senior runner Weber.
“It was Al’s last year, and she has been in track for four years so I wanted to make sure she had a coach,” he said.
He hopes to eventually find someone trustworthy to hand the program to, but until then he will continue on for one more year.
Without a track, Fielding said it’s hard to practice for the events, but students have been practicing sprint relays in the Dyea Campground, running to Long Bay and back and running up hills on Nahku Road to work on strength.
He expects the team to do well in the distance category, particularly in the 800, 1600 and 3200 races. Weber and Kara Whitehead will also focus on shot put. Fielding said he hopes to have Jack Inhofe coach the girls in the event.
Installation of a track for Skagway School continues to be a part of school board discussions, but until one is installed, runners will continue practicing on trails and hills.
“Without a track, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do,” Fielding said.