Alaska’s capital city was charged with the emotions of an exceptionally fast 2013 ASAA/First National Bank Alaska State High School Championships on November 8th and 9th in Juneau’s Dimond Park Aquatic Center. Swim fans on the last frontier got an intense show with close races, state records, and team titles contended to the last event. Dimond High School from Anchorage held off the Sitka Wolves for the boys’ title and the Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears defended their home turf against Dimond for the girls’ championship. Both team winners took the crown by only a three point margin.
Kodiak’s girls had two double event winners with Ila Hughes taking the 200 free in 1:51.57 and 100 Free at 51.32, along with Tahna Lindquist bettering her state record in the 200 IM with 2:05.09 and taking the 500 Free in 4:57.12. Lindquist was voted Outstanding Female Swimmer of the Meet while Dimond’s Michael Summers won that accolade on the boys’ side with his wins in the 200 (1:42.97) and 500 Freestyles. Summers’ 4:35.30 in the 500 took down a state record that had lasted 23 seasons, since Ben Smith from Service clocked 4:37.85 in 1990. The Service boys were the only group to take two relay titles, winning the 200 and 400 Freestyle Relays in 1:27.94 and 3:13.44. Sitka also had a double event winner in Louis Belley who took the 200 IM (1:55.28) and 100 Back 52.08, and who helped the Wolves take the boys’ 200 Medley Relay along with teammates Justin Harang, RJ Miller and Spencer Combs who together clocked 1:38.25, holding back the charge from Juneau’s Thunder Mountain high school who touched just behind them in 1:38.88.
Abel Aulbach from Petersburg, the Vikings’ lone event winner, successfully defended his 100 Free title with 47.08, holding off EZ Hogue-Corwin from Service who finished less than three tenths behind in 47.36. Hogue-Corwin also came close earlier in the meet, finishing ahead of defending champ Aulbach in the 50 Free, but six one-hundredths behind teammate Nathaniel Adams with 21.86 to Adams’ 21.80. The girls meet also featured a tight 50 Freestyle finish with Martha Hood from North Pole squeaking past Soldotna’s Alex Weeks, 24.16 to 24.19.
While the Dimond girls displayed great depth, they had only two event champions with Jenny Wilcox taking the 100 Fly in 56.99, and their convincing win in the 200 Medley Relay (Arianna Rohde, Kari Wray, Wilcox and Alyssa Hampton) finishing 1:48.04 over the JDHS girs 1:49.79. The girls from the Crimson Bears finally started to tip the scales near the end of the meet edging out Kodiak for the win in the 200 Free Relay (Ciera Kelly, Mia Ruffin, Rielly Walsh, and Dakota Isaak) 1:39.02 to 1:39.20, and taking a fingernail finish in the 100 Back when Ciera Kelly out-touched Chugiak’s Sammy Burke 57.86 to 57.89. Then, with a final heat of 100 Breaststroke boasting three girls each from Dimond and Juneau-Douglas, the JDHS girls outscored their rivals 20-14 by taking first, third and fifth places, led by Dakota Isaak’s dominating 1:05.27 performance. This left the team title to be decided by the points scored in the 400 Free Relay, giving JDHS the advantage of being able to finish three places behind Dimond, so long as Dimond did not win the event. The race finished with Dimond third and the Crimson Bears fifth, leaving Dimond three points shy of surpassing JDHS. Palmer’s 400 Free Relay squad of Naomi Graham, Sarah Hanson, Noelle Graham and Katie Stark took the win in 3:38.81 over Kodiak’s 3:39.50.
The final race of the boys meet was another barn burner that might have ultimately decided the team title as well, as the 400 Free Relay team from Service of EZ Hogue-Corwin, Jackson Berlin, Thomas Krasnican and Nathaniel Adams blocked the team from Sitka from the points they desperately needed, edging them out of the both the relay and team trophy 3:13.44 to 3:13.53. The Petersburg Vikings tried to help out the Sitka Wolves by edging out Dimond 3:14.99 to 3:15.06 for third, but ultimately, Sitka would have to earn their championship winning points with a first place relay finish that was not meant to be.
Other swim event winners were Thunder Mountain’s Kenny Fox with 51.00 in the boys’ 100 fly, and West Valley’s Tommy O’Donoghue with the only 100 Breaststroke to eclipse the one-minute barrier at 59.68. The girls diving title was taken by Bartlett’s Alex Soto, while the boys’ was won by Kaec Brinster from Homer.
Top 5 Team Scores:
Girls: 1- JDHS 88, 2- Dimond 85; 3- Kodiak 64, 4- Eagle River 57; Palmer 51.
Boys: 1- Dimond 78; 2- Sitka 75; Service 68, Thunder Mountain 61; Petersburg 56.
Thanks to Shawn “The Screaming Viking” Klosterman for contributing to this report.