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Track & Field: Chugiak’s Alliyah Fields, Eagle River’s AJ Szewczyk and West’s Leileanah Toleafoa dazzle at Big C Relays; Anchorage’s Anna Dalton makes history in the mile

by | Apr 8, 2024 | Cover Story, Running, Track and Field

Chugiak Mustangs embrace after the 4×400-meter relay. Photo by Elijah Williams

More than 950 athletes from 34 teams competed at The Dome for the 13th edition of the Russ Edwards Big C Relays.

Chugiak’s Alliyah Fields was unstoppable in her quest for individual and relay glory, collecting four wins, which included a personal best, a meet record, a school record, and a spot on the Alaska girls all-time list accompanied by her teammates.

Fields began her herculean effort in the 400, clocking 59.34 seconds to dip under the 60-second barrier for the second time in her career. She followed up the performance with a personal best of 2:17.48 in the 800, winning by nearly seven seconds, before running a leg on the winning 1600-meter sprint medley relay (4:20.74) and 4×400 relay (4:04.01). The junior helped the Mustangs achieve history in the latter, erasing the 4×400 meet record set by Kenai Central in 2010 as well as the long-standing school record from 1999. The time also ranks No. 5 in Alaska prep history, according to lists compiled by track and field historian Marcus Dunbar, and impressively as the only performance in the top-10 run outside of the state championships.

Alaska High School Girls All-Time 4×400 Relay

  1. Kenai Central, 4:01.72 (2010)
  2. Dimond, 4:02.47 (2010)
  3. Eagle River, 4:02.67 (2015)
  4. Dimond, 4:03.79 (2011)
  5. Chugiak, 4:04.01 (2024)
  6. Juneau-Douglas, 4:04.42 (2022)
  7. Kenai Central, 4:04.46 (2009)
  8. Juneau-Douglas, 4:04.71 (1995)
  9. Dimond, 4:04.74 (1994)
  10. Bartlett, 4:04.93 (2000)

Eagle River’s AJ Szewczyk defended his meet titles in both the 110 hurdles and 300 hurdles, while earning a personal best in the 400 and running a leg on the 4×400 relay.

AJ Szewczyk

The senior, who comes into the season as the two-time defending state champion in the 300 hurdles and defending champion in the 110 hurdles, pulled away from the field in the latter, clocking 15.04 seconds to earn the High Step Hustler award after a strong challenge from Bartlett’s Tyler Drake in the prelims. Szewczyk competed masterfully in the 300 hurdles, crossing the line in 39.78 seconds to finish under 40 seconds for the sixth time in his career, winning by more than three seconds. Not to mention, he also ran 52.59 seconds in the 400 to place ninth with a two-second personal best and helped the Wolves to finish 12th in the 4×400.

West Anchorage’s Leileanah Toleafoa competed like a veteran in her inaugural track and field competition, winning both the shot put and discus.

The senior edged Mountain City Christian Academy’s Jieaya Siatini, the Division II shot put state champion, in the discus (107-11) while also topping the field by four feet in the shot put (41-3.25). Toleafoa’s combined distances earned her the Lord of the Throwing Rings award, while teammate Sone Falealo defended his discus title (150-6) and placed fourth in the shot put to sweep the Lord of the Throwing Rings titles. Bartlett’s Deuce Alailefaleula, who doubles as a defensive lineman, took top honors in the shot put (52-8.5).

Perhaps the most publicized race — the Skinny Raven Laird Prosser Memorial Mile — lived up to its expectations, bringing together elite-level alumni.

Anna Dalton

Anchorage’s Anna Dalton, a West High alum, ran magnificently in the iconic four-lap race after metronomic pacing by Chad Trammell through 1200 meters. The trio of Dalton, Palmer’s Sophie Wright of Western Washington and Iowa’s Alexis Brown of Wartburg College made up the lead pack at the bell. Dalton eventually pulled away, extending her lead through the homestretch, finishing in 4:49.40. Brown placed runner-up (4:52.3) followed by Wright (4:55.3) in the third, marking one of the deepest women’s mile fields on Alaskan soil. The time moves Dalton up to No. 4 among known Alaska performers and the fourth to clock sub-4:50 on the track.

Alaska Women’s All-Time Mile

  1. Allie Ostrander, 4:35.79 (1/19)
  2. Ava Earl, 4:42.74 (1/24)
  3. Kaarin Knudson, 4:43.88 (3/99)
  4. Anna Dalton, 4:49.40 (4/24)
  5. Ruby Lindquist, 4:52.60 (2/22)
  6. Sophie Wright, 4:52.96 (1/24)
  7. Sarah Reese, 4:55.00 (2/03)
  8. Betsy Haines, 4:56.5 (1977)
  9. Sadie Tuckwood, 4:56.92 (2/23)
  10. Caitlin Reese, 4:57.18 (1/03)

The men’s mile was led wire-to-wire by Eagle River’s Max Hartke, a Chugiak High alum, who competes for the University of Wisconsin. The junior ran strategically, coming through the first lap in 63 seconds followed by Kenai Central alum, Jordan Thiesen, and Colorado’s Patrick Doty of UAA. Competitors jostled for position behind Hartke who won in 4:09.13, while defending champion Hans Roelle, a West High alum, finished runner-up (4:15.38). Former South High standout, Brady Burrough who competes for Fort Lewis rounded out the top three (4:16.22) with a six-second personal best.

The Skinny Raven Laird Prosser Memorial Mile field. Photo by Russ Edwards Big C Relays

Chugiak swept the Fastest Alaskan titles, collecting wins in both 100-meter races from senior Semaj Walker (11.10) and freshman Jihsana Williams (12.84). The Mustangs also earned victories in the boys 800-meter sprint medley relay (1:36.87) and 1600-meter sprint medley relay (3:44.31), Hannah Bodkin in the high jump (4-10) and Emily Moore in the pentathlon.

Dimond’s Sarah Dittman, the Division I long jump state champion, went head-to-head with Valdez’s Izzy Kizer, the Division II state champion. Dittman, a junior, narrowly won after leaping 16 feet, 5 inches, while the Lynx also earned wins in the 100 hurdles from freshman Nevaeh Watkins (15.83), the girls 4×100 (52.75) and 800-meter sprint medley relay (1:53.73), and the Co-Ed Swedish Medley Relay (2:15.90).

Bartlett’s A’Lante Owens-Player, the Division I long jump state champion, defended his title in the long jump (20-3.25), before helping the Golden Bears to victory in the 4×100 (44.40).

Ida Meyer

West Valley’s Alex Emers, the two-time defending Division I high jump state champion, cleared 6 feet, bettering his nearest competition by four inches, while teammate Curtis Beck was victorious in the 400 (50.29).

Kodiak’s Elias Litzow took top honors in the boys 3,200 (9:58.21), and later contributed to the Bears’ victory in the 4×400 (3:33.80).

Juneau-Douglas’ Ida Meyer and Etta Eller went 1-2 in the girls 3,200, clocking 11:25.27 and 11:31.61 respectively, while teammate Wilder Dillingham secured the pentathlon victory.

Eielson’s Teslin Brannan and eighth-grader Micah Olsen earned wins in the pole vault, clearing 10-1 and 11-6, with Brannan improving her meet record by one inch.

Other winners included Grace Christian’s Colton Merriner in the 800 (1:59.95), Tri-Valley’s McKinley Eddington in the 300 hurdles (48.34), South Anchorage’s boys distance medley relay (10:59.85), Soldotna’s girls distance medley relay (13:43.06) and West Anchorage in the Co-Ed 4×1652 relay (21:54.00).

Eagle River’s and Lululemon’s Jordyn Bruce (right), a professional multi-event track and field athlete, stands with the pentathletes. Photo by Russ Edwards Big C Relays

Story made possible by:

Black-Smith, Bethard & Carlson

Family of Sponsors

Alaska Airlines | Nicole Johnston | Richard Mize | Advanced Diagnostics, INC | Aktive Soles | Alaska Oil and Gas Association | Aspen Endodontics | Black-Smith, Bethard & Carlson, LLC. | BOSCO's | Coho Financial Group | Continental Auto Group | Don Clary & Judy Besh | Glen Bailey | Invisalign-Ben Ward | JL Properties | Joey Caterinichio & Ja Dorris| Kathleen Navarre | Midas Alaska | Moose's Tooth, Bear Tooth and Broken Tooth Brewing | Perkins Coie - Sarah & A.J. Schirack | R&M Consultants, Inc. | RE/MAX Dynamic Properties Kevin Taylor | Residential Mortgage | Seth Wickersham & Alison Overholt | Taylored Restoration | Korndrop Family Foundation | Arctic Slope Regional Corporation | Replacement Glass | Zareena and Allen Clendaniel | Foley & Pearson | UAA Seawolves | Tony and Carla Slaton Barker | Sportclips Haircuts | Alliance for Support of American Legion Baseball in Alaska | Alice & Gunnar Knapp | Amy and Jason Miller | Burgerfi | Charles Fedullo | Dan Rufner | Darren Lieb | Don Winchester | Donley Family | Dr. Justin Libby, DDS | Firetap | Harlow Robinson | Jason & Shannon Metrokin | Jim & Michelle Hajdukovich | Joe Alston | Kathie Bethard | Krispy Kreme | Kristopher Knauss | Loren Kroon | Mark and Jamie Johnson | Mark Silverman | On the Border | Pete Robinson | Rick Mystrom | Team Heat | Team Moriarty | The Conway Family | Todd Whited | Moria Smith | In memory of Drs. John & Elizabeth Tower | Peter Pounds | Multisport Training of Alaska/Lisa Keller | RSA Engineering

Family of Sponsors

Alaska Airlines | Nicole Johnston | Richard Mize | Advanced Diagnostics, INC | Aktive Soles | Alaska Oil and Gas Association | Aspen Endodontics | Black-Smith, Bethard & Carlson, LLC. | BOSCO's | Coho Financial Group | Continental Auto Group | Don Clary & Judy Besh | Glen Bailey | Invisalign-Ben Ward | JL Properties | Joey Caterinichio & Ja Dorris| Kathleen Navarre | Midas Alaska | Moose's Tooth, Bear Tooth and Broken Tooth Brewing | Perkins Coie - Sarah & A.J. Schirack | R&M Consultants, Inc. | RE/MAX Dynamic Properties Kevin Taylor | Residential Mortgage | Seth Wickersham & Alison Overholt | Taylored Restoration | Korndrop Family Foundation | Arctic Slope Regional Corporation | Replacement Glass | Zareena and Allen Clendaniel | Foley & Pearson | UAA Seawolves | Tony and Carla Slaton Barker | Sportclips Haircuts | Alliance for Support of American Legion Baseball in Alaska | Alice & Gunnar Knapp | Amy and Jason Miller | Burgerfi | Charles Fedullo | Dan Rufner | Darren Lieb | Don Winchester | Donley Family | Dr. Justin Libby, DDS | Firetap | Harlow Robinson | Jason & Shannon Metrokin | Jim & Michelle Hajdukovich | Joe Alston | Kathie Bethard | Krispy Kreme | Kristopher Knauss | Loren Kroon | Mark and Jamie Johnson | Mark Silverman | On the Border | Pete Robinson | Rick Mystrom | Team Heat | Team Moriarty | The Conway Family | Todd Whited | Moria Smith | In memory of Drs. John & Elizabeth Tower | Peter Pounds | Multisport Training of Alaska/Lisa Keller | RSA Engineering

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