Brittany Slick & Keri Thomas
Kayhi Track and Field boys came home with their first region title in two decades this weekend. The Kings beat out their top competitor, Thunder Mountain, by a mere one point to secure the Region V Championship. The Falcons earned nine first place medals, while the Kings only earned five. Kayhi’s victory came down to having just enough second, third, and fourth finishes to give them leverage over Thunder Mountain.
Junior Christopher Carlson (110m hurdles) had an individual battle with a Thunder Mountain member, Miguel Cordero. Carlson used this as his motivation during his event.
“We (Carlson and Cordero) both ran an identical time of 18.74 going into the race and we were both ranked number one in the region,” said Carlson. “So all my focus was on him.”
Cordero finished almost a full minute before Carlson–but Carlson was named the first place winner of the event.
“During the race, we were neck and neck until I hit my last two hurdles and he pulled ahead,” said Carlson. “He (Cordero) ended up hitting almost all of another athlete’s hurdles, knocking them over and resulting in his disqualification.”
Without this disqualification, Thunder Mountain could’ve taken the cake. Carlson felt that he personally had more in him, but he said that he knew his win–even if it was by default–helped the Kings in the long run.
“If I would’ve kept my form for the last two hurdles, I could’ve beaten him fair and square,” said Carlson. “But a win is a win.”
Junior Brendan Wong (shot put) also provided a first place win for Kayhi. Wong has led the Kings all season, collecting four shot put victories in seven meets. The Kings had not won a region title since 1998, so winning regions was important for Wong. But, Wong emphasized that beating the team’s long-time rival made the huge win even sweeter.
“Last Juneau meet, we lost by two points,” said Wong. “So coming back and winning the more important meet was sweet revenge. There was no better feeling.”
Despite Thunder Mountain winning four more first place medals than Kayhi, the Kings placed (second, third, and fourth) in 13 more events than the Falcons. This made up for Kayhi’s lack of wins, giving them that one point edge.
“When they announced the boys’ first place winning by one point my heart sank because I thought we had lost by one point,” said Carlson. “ I was beyond happy when they announced that we were the winners– but I had no idea it would be that close.”
Track is very different compared to other sports because the final team scores are not announced until the awards. Going into the ceremony, the Kings felt anxious thinking that they didn’t have enough wins to take home the title. As the team was named Region V Champions, Wong felt a huge sense of accomplishment and pride in his team’s efforts.
“It was nerve wracking because I knew it could fall either way,” said Wong. “But when they called us for first place, nothing but happiness for my team and our hard work was going through my mind.”
Although Kayhi won the region title, only the individuals that placed first in their respective events will attend the state tournament. Many high flyers of the Kings’ season, including Joey Rhoads (discus) and Ivers Credito (300m hurdles), earned their first place standing to continue their success at state. Rhoads dominated the discus event, throwing five feet further than all second, third, and fourth places below him. Credito delivered a huge individual feat by PR’ing to win first place in the 300m hurdles, adding huge points in the King’s victory. Kayhi also had an unexpected first place win by their 4×200 relay team (Lester Credito, Ivers Credito, Adrian Ronquillo, and Kadin Hodges)–which added three more Kings to the state roster alongside Credito, Rhoads, Carlson, and Wong.
The Track and Field boys bringing home their Region V Championship after 20 years is a huge accomplishment for Kayhi. But, the team is already striving for more as they look forward to competing at the state tournament.
“I don’t really know how well we will place up there,” said Carlson. “But we are all excited for the experience and being able to see what we can do compared to everyone else.”
Individual Region Champions (1st place winners)
Christopher Carlson-110m hurdles
Ivers Credito-300m hurdles
Lester Credito, Ivers Credito, Adrian Ronquillo, Kadin Hodges-4×200 relay
Brendan Wong-Shot put