Story last updated at 2:24 p.m. Thursday, April 25, 2002

Track team sprints into season
By Joel Gay
Staff Writer

Homer High School sprinter Cody Smith came out of the starting blocks in top form last Thursday to win his 100-meter event, and became the first Mariner to qualify for the Region III competition later this spring.

The performance came at the Mariners' first track outing of the year, a tri-meet in Soldotna with Skyview and Seward.

Homer coach Tari Hoeft said her team was a little thin in spots, for reasons ranging from lack of practices to not having the Homer High track to practice on. Nevertheless, she said, it was a good season debut.

"I think we did well, considering the amount of time we've had on the track," she said, which is nearly zero. The team has been running in the school parking lot and relay runners haven't been able to practice their handoffs because they had no exchange zones.

Highlights of the day included Smith's 100-meter run, and a hat trick by distance runner Andrew Peters, who won the 800, 1600 and 3200 events.

"He's looking strong," Hoeft said of Peters. "He could have run faster times (and qualified for regions), but the next guy was behind him in the 1,600 by 17 seconds."

Sophomore Bryan Smith won the shot put after out-throwing a field of 15. "That was wonderful to see," Hoeft said.

Freshman Kirsten Baltz won the high jump with a leap of 4-foot-2, which came after just three days of practice, her coach said.

The Mariners should pick up steam this week after warm weather melted the snow off the jumping pits and freed up the track, Hoeft said. On Saturday they return to Soldotna for the Skyview Invitational, which should attract most schools on the Kenai Peninsula. Field events begin at 10 a.m., with running to follow at 11 a.m.