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Sitka Wolves sweep D2 team titles, led by Clare Mullin’s triple crown; Boys win first state title in program history

by | May 28, 2024 | Cover Story, Prep Spotlight, Running, Track and Field

Sitka’s Clare Mullin pulls away from Grace Christian’s Tagan Rinner in the 800 at the state meet. Photo by Pete Pounds

The Sitka Wolves put together a dominant showing at the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Track & Field State Championships, sweeping the team titles and crowning nine champions — four relays and five individuals — in the process.

The Wolves became the first team to win both team titles at the championships since ACS (now MCCA) accomplished the feat in 2016.

The girls were led by Clare Mullin’s distance triple crown — the second in her career — as the junior defended her state titles in the 800 (2:20.39) and 1,600 (5:18.54) to win the events for the third consecutive year. She netted her second title in the 3,200 in 11:19.51, after previously winning the event in 2022 and anchored the 4×400 relay, which placed runner-up.

With significant margins of victory in the 1,600 and 3,200, Mullin’s closest finish came in the 800, utilizing another gear to hold off Grace Christian’s Tagan Rinner in the homestretch.

“I just wanted to give it a good, solid effort,” said Mullin. “I could hear them cheering really loud for the girl in second place and I was like ‘Oh, shoot, I better go!’”

Across three track and field seasons, Mullin now has eight individual titles, two runner-up relay finishes and two team titles. Talk about domination.

But to win a team title, depth is necessary.

The Wolves medaled in all four relays: victory in the 4×200, runner-up in the 4×400, third in the 4×800 and fourth in the 4×100.

Teammate Marina Dill placed runner-up in the 3,200 to Mullin, while also adding a third-place showing in the 1,600 and an eighth-place in the 800. The duo compiled nearly half of Sitka’s points in individual events, while the Wolves scored in seven additional events.

In the sprints, Tri-Valley’s Taylor Eddington upgraded her runner-up finishes to gold in both the 100 and 200, clocking 12.85 and 26.70 seconds, to earn her first titles on the track, in addition to placing runner-up in the 400. Eddington’s versatility is unmatched, as the only athlete in Alaska history to win both the 100 and an individual cross country title, having won the D3 title in 2022.

Tri-Valley’s Taylor Eddington crosses the finish line to win the 100-meter dash at the state meet. Photo by Stephanie Burgoon/Alaska Sports Report

Redington’s Mya Campbell also collected a pair of titles, sweeping the horizontal jumps to earn her first set of gold medals. Campbell soared to 17 feet, 2 inches in the long jump, while doubling back with 34 feet, 0 inches in the triple jump. The senior set personal bests and school records in both events, winning the long jump by eight inches and the triple by 19 inches.

Unalakleet’s Ourea Busk defended her title in the 400, running 57.79 seconds to set a personal best and lower her overall state lead. Busk also placed runner-up in the 200, third in the triple jump and fifth in the 1,600. The sophomore burst into the spotlight last spring after becoming the Wolfpack’s first track and field state champion. Since then, Busk added a D3 cross country title to her résumé and dabbled in an array of events this spring.

As for her training, the Unalakleet star gets creative, logging miles in the school and on the treadmill during the early season.

“We don’t have a track in Unalakleet, so at the beginning (of the season) there’s usually still snow and it’s pretty cold outside,” said Busk. “Once it warms up a little, we run outside, sometimes in the hills, just anywhere we can.”

Grace Christian’s Hope Jackson narrowly won the 100 hurdles, while Homer’s Gracie Miotke took the 300 hurdles.

Miotke not only defended her title but set a school record in the process, slicing nearly one second from her previous best. The moment was full circle for the junior, who was coached last year by the former school record holder and is now coached by her coach. While Miotke had modest goals for the prelims, she made the most of her lane draw, starting in the track’s outermost lane.

“In the prelims, I really just tried to qualify and I ended up getting put in lane 8, which I was nervous about,” said Miotke. “I’ve been running good all year for the 300 (hurdles) and I knew I could do it, I just would have to run scared and go all out, so I did that.”

Homer’s Gracie Miotke competes in the 300-meter hurdles at the state meet. Photo by Stephanie Burgoon/Alaska Sports Report

Homer also won the 4×100, 4×400 and 4×800 relays.

Mountain City Christian’s Jieaya Siatini defended her shot put title, throwing 39 feet, 7 inches to cap a nearly undefeated season. The sophomore also placed runner-up in the discus behind Kenai Central’s Emma Beck, who threw a massive 124 feet, 5 inches in the prelims to dominate the competition. Beck, a senior, also placed runner-up to Siatini in the shot put.

Monroe Catholic’s Emma Walsh collected her first state title in the high jump, after clearing 5 feet. The sophomore and school record-holder won by two inches and cleared five feet for just the third time in her career.

As for Sitka, other top-8 scorers included Adalyna Moore (100 & 200), Hayla Trigg (100 & 200), Emma Heuer (100 hurdles & high jump), Natalie Hall (300 hurdles) and Elisa Brady (shot put & discus).

With 94.5 points, the Wolves ran away with the team title, while Homer placed runner-up with 76 points. Sitka’s girls team title is the fourth in program history (’18, ’21, ’23-’24).

On the boys side, the Sitka collected five titles and scored in nearly every event to achieve their first team title.

Sophomore Francis Myers led a 1-2 showing with fellow sophomore Cole McLaughlin in the triple jump to collect significant points by jumping 41 feet, 4.75 points to nab a personal best. Myers also placed third in the 400.

Another sophomore, Calder Prussian, set a personal best and school record of 23.35 seconds in the 200 prelims before sprinting to victory in the finals, clocking 23.47 seconds. Prussian also placed runner-up in the 100 and ran legs on the relays.

Sitka’s Calder Prussian nears the finish line in the 200-meter dash at the state meet. Photo by Pete Pounds

Sitka won three out of four relays, winning the 4×200, 4×400 and 4×800, while also setting a program record in the latter. The Wolves added a third-place showing in the 4×100 relay.

Grace Christian’s Robbie Annett swept the long-distance races, clocking 4:24.34 in the 1,600 and 9:29.28 in the 3,200 and going 1-2 with teammate Colton Merriner in both events. Annett, who upset pre-race favorites last season to net his first two state titles, also placed runner-up in the 800 with a program record behind Kenai Central’s Gregory Fallon.

Fallon took the race out in a swift 55 seconds in an attempt to lead the race wire-to-wire. Annett followed the senior’s lead in hot pursuit and was still in close contention with 200 meters remaining. The two battled down the homestretch while Fallon narrowly held off Annett, 1:55.59 to 1:55.83, with both setting school records.

“It means everything,” said Fallon.

After placing behind Annett throughout the entire cross country season, Fallon felt a sense of redemption, having previously won the event in 2022 though he still has a high respect for his fellow competitor.

The teammate trifecta of James Wright, Williams Roberts and Hayden Hughes also collected state titles for the Kardinals, this time in the field events as first-time champions. Wright heaved the shot put 45 feet to win by a mere 0.50 inches, while Roberts took the discus in 133-9 and Hughes conquered the high jump with a clearance of 5-10.

In the hurdles, it was all Mountain City Christian’s Nolan Warren.

The senior collected his third-consecutive title in the 300 hurdles, with a time of 41.97 seconds, while also achieving his first title in the 110 hurdles in 17.18 seconds. While Warren has been strategic in previous 300 hurdles races, he decided to run ‘all out’ and trust his speed, while his family watched from the stands.

Mountain City Christian’s Nolan Warren competes in the 300-meter hurdles at the state meet. Photo by Pete Pounds

“I’ve been putting in a lot of work towards this all year round,” said Warren. “I’m just thankful that I’ve been able to run with them (Mountain City Christian Academy) for all these years and I’m thankful that my last race was a win, so it means a lot to me.”

Teammate Jaidhen Oyao picked up another title for MCCA, winning the long jump in 19 feet, 10.25 inches to claim his first state title. The junior started picking up steam midway through the season, consistently surpassing the 19-foot barrier and achieving his first two career wins leading up to the state meet.

In just his first track season, Nome-Beltz’s Orson Hoogendorn became a state champion and school record holder in the 400, running 51.73 seconds to nearly match his time run in the prelims. Prior to the state meet, the junior had only run two 400s but made up for lost time by lowering his personal best by nearly three seconds in the prelims.

Seward’s Ronan Bickling won his first state title in the 100, clocking 11.54 seconds and improving by a staggering nine places from his performance last season. The senior also placed runner-up in the 200 and joined his teammates on the winning 4×100 relay, resetting the one-year-old school record in the process.

As for Sitka, other top-8 scorers included Dezi Olney-Miller (200 & 400), Annan Weiland (800 & 1,600), Connor Hitchcock (1,600 & 3,200), Trey Demmert (1,600), Rowan Olney Miller (110 hurdles & high jump), Felix Myers (110 hurdles & 300 hurdles), Jomar Molina (110 hurdles), Ethan Clark (300 hurdles), Dylan Petersen (shot put) and Cole McLaughlin (long jump).

The Wolves finished with a whopping 127.5 points, while Grace Christian edged Mountain City Christian to place runner-up with 66 points.

Full results here.

Grace Christian’s Robbie Annett and Kenai Central’s Gregory Fallon battle in the 800 at the state meet. Photo by Pete Pounds

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