by Tommy Wells
The Bethel Regional High School Warriors scored a first on Saturday when they stepped onto the track at Homer High School. Although they failed to claim a medal, the Warriors sprinted their way into the BRHS history books by competing in their first-ever track and field meet.
In all, eight athletes, including seniors Mian Alexie-Leonard, Seth Smith, Hunter Crace and Jarius Allain, comprised the Warriors’ first-ever team.
“It’s kind of exciting (to be at the meet),” said Alexie-Leonard. “We don’t have everything, but you have to start somewhere. This (team) gets the ball rolling for us,” he added.
Alexie-Leonard, a star wrestler in Darren Lieb’s record-setting wrestling program, said the idea of fielding a track and field program was first suggested earlier in the school year. That suggestion, however, wasn’t realized until just before the season began.
“Everyone was talking about it (track and field) at the start of the year, but we really didn’t know if there were going to be enough people come out to have a team,” he said.
Those fears were put to rest recently when eight students – seven boys and one girl – stepped forward to compete in a short season. Bethel – which joins Unalaska as only the second track program in western Alaska – will be competing in four meets this season, including Saturday’s Homer Invitational.
“This has been great,” said junior Brycen Alexie. “We (the school) needed something like this for the spring. We have cross country, wrestling, basketball and a lot of other sports, but there aren’t a lot in the spring.”
Despite only receiving an official baton only a few hours before their first race, the Bethel 4×400-meter relay squad turned in a solid showing. Shane Phelan, Allain, Smith and Alexie-Leonard raced their way to eighth in the final standings with a time of 4 minutes, 26.72 seconds.
Smith, Alexie-Leonard, Alexie and Crace placed 11th in the 4×100-meter relay with a time of 52.24 seconds.
“It was exciting,” said Alexie-Leonard. “Before today, we had been practicing with a piece of PVC.”
Freshman Thomas Phelan turned in the Warriors’ top effort individually. He legged out a top-20 finish in the 800- and 1,600-meter runs. He placed 19th in the 1,600-meter race with a time of 5:14.04. Crace was 23rd in the event at 5:16.91.
Phelan was 20th in the 800 with a mark of 2:21.38. Smith and Shane Phelan placed 21st and 24th, respectively, at 2:23.14 and 2:27.53.
Thomas Phelan’s best finish came in the 400-meter dash. He finished 15th in the one-lap race with a time of 58.27. Mian Alexie-Leonard and Shane Phelan were 18th (58.59) and 29th (1:00.15) in the race.
Alexie-Leonard, Brycen Alexie and Allain all did well in the 200. Alexie-Leonard turned in a time of 26.91 and finished 27th. Alexie was 34th at 27.67. Allain finished 42nd at 30.75.
Alexie also finished 34th in the 100 with a time of 13.58. Allain was 45th at 15.30.
The Lady Warriors’ lone entrant, Julian Stanley, did well in all three of her events. She was 28th in the 400-meter dash with a time of 1:26.13. She also finished 39th in the 100 (16.27) and 200 (34.74).
Bethel will return to action this weekend when they travel to Wasilla for the Colony Invitational. The meet will be held on Saturday, April 28.