Topping the podium at last weekend’s region meets involved a slew of four-event winners, with Palmer’s Katey Houser leading the statewide octet. The senior carved a rare path, relying on her versatility and resilience in amassing six kilometers of track racing. Houser took home the gold in the 3,200 on day one, in addition to qualifying for the 200 and 400 finals. She continued her gold streak in the 1,600 at 5:18.28 and cemented her legacy with two additional podium toppers, setting a personal best of 26.91 in the 200. While Houser will decide which events to pursue at the state meet, the nordic ski commit for Montana State will relish in the final laps of her illustrious track career.
Peyton George has been consistent all season, scoring wins in nearly every event he has contended. Although close competition challenged him throughout the weekend, the Lathrop junior proved he can still thrive under pressure. He took the top spot in the 100, 200, 400 and long jump, collecting a personal best of 51.30 in the 400 — a state-leading time. Impressively enough, it was only the second time George had competed in the one-lap race, making his debut in the event just a week prior. With the state championships this weekend, George will have ample competition to continue making strides in his newfound specialty.
Last year James Connally quietly snuck under the radar with his sprinting prowess, that is, unless you reside in Southeast Alaska. This season the Juneau-Douglas senior has recorded a series of sub-11 times in the 100, including a jaw-dropping 10.64. Meanwhile, his quickest fully automatic time of 11.09 still ranks him in the top three among state competition. The Eastern Oregon commit took home the win in the 200 and ran a leg on his team’s winning 4×200 and 4×400 relays. While he is no longer a dark horse, Connally will likely make a statement at this weekend’s state meet.
Since her freshman year, Carissa Houck has continued to push to the next level, competing in the sprints and hurdles for Anchorage Christian School. The senior had an impressive showing last weekend, collecting wins in all four of her events and running a personal best of 49.42 in the 300 hurdles. Among small schools, Houck leads the state rankings and hopes to mirror her success at the upcoming state championships.
A few other track stars also accomplished the golden four-event feat:
- Cosley Bruno of Juneau-Douglas swept the 100 and 200, while teaming up for victory in the 4×100 and 4×400 relays.
- Clare Mullen of Sitka continued her distance dominance in the 800, 1,600, and 3,200 and contributed to the winning 4×400 relay.
- Bethel’s Sheldon Smith completed a unique quadruple, winning the 200, 400, discus and running a leg on the 4×400 relay.
- Samantha Shockey of Su Valley represented the Rams well, finding success in the 100, 200, 4×100 relay and 4×200 relay.