Story last updated at 1:51 p.m. Thursday, May 9, 2002

Homer Invitational showcases Peninsula teams
by Sepp Jannotta
Staff Writer

photo: sports
  Photo by Sepp Jannotta, Homer News
D.J. Newsome, front, of Heritage Christian edges Kevin Jones of Seldovia in the 100.  
The weeks of indoor practices and iced-up tracks seemed a distant memory Saturday as sunshine warmed the Homer Invitational track and field meet, which played host to competitors from Anchorage and across the Kenai Peninsula.

The Homer High School track and field team continued making strides, getting second-place finishes from Travis Kauffman and Nahanni Wills.

In addition, Mariner track and field coach Tari Hoeft said she is focused on the continued improvement of times.

"We have a young team and we're just looking to give them some experience," Hoeft added. "And the great thing is they are all still improving each time out."

  Photo by Sepp Jannotta, Homer News
Kenai's Charity Christensen takes the baton for her leg of the 400-meter run.  
Wills, who is a strong threat to go to state in the hurdles events, had another good meet. She took second in both the 110- and 300-meter hurdles. Wills' time in the 110 hurdles was good enough to qualify her for the Region III meet later this month.

Kauffman was second in the mile after putting on the jets and passing Scott LeBaron of Anchorage Christian School in the final 100 meters. Kauffman also had a third-place finish in the 800 meter run. Both were region-qualifying times.

Cody Smith ran to a fourth-place finish and a region-qualifying time in the 400.

Hoeft also highlighted the improvement of freshman miler Melanie Mach, who broke the six-minute mark for the first time.

The smaller schools on the southern Kenai Peninsula continued to showcase some impressive times, with Kevin Jones of Seldovia and Molly Bosick and Whitney Leman of Ninilchik all putting up top-two finishes. Bosick took first in the 100-meter dash and was second in the 400, while Leman finished second in the 200.

In his freshman year, Jones continues to put the Peninsula sprinters on notice. He was just barely edged out D.J. Newsome of Heritage Christian for first in the 100, missing the win by a tenth of a second. Jones took also third in the 200.

The Nikiski girls and the Skyview boys took the team titles, with the Mariner girls coming in eighth and the Mariner boys in seventh.

Sally Glaze paced Nikiski with first-place finishes in the 300-meter hurdles, the long jump and the triple jump, while Trevor Tompkins grabbed wins in the 300 hurdles and triple jump to propel the Panthers.

With a team short on numbers and young in experience, Homer struggled in the relay events, something that was to be expected said Hoeft. The Mariners took the opportunity to host Ninilchik in a dual meet yesterday they could accumulate a few more times in advance of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Meet which kicks off Friday.

"She's coming on pretty strong," Hoeft said. "That was a good accomplishment for her."