Lady M's run away with region track title
May 25th | Sean Pearson
Senior Evarts sprints and hurdles her way to four wins
Homer senior hurdler Lauren Evarts is certainly no stranger to settling into her blocks and waiting for the gun to sound the start of the 100 or 300-meter hurdle finals — she's been in that position many times over her four years as a Mariner trackster.
Saturday afternoon's regional tournament in Homer would be, however, her last opportunity to compete in those events on the Homer High School Track.
She made the most of it.
Evarts finished first in both the 100 and 300m hurdles on Saturday, securing some major points toward the Lady Mariners' 162-point Regional title. Grace Christian finished second with 103 points, and Anchorage Christian Schools took third with 82.
"Lauren Evarts is on fire right now," said Homer head coach Bill Steyer. "She laid down the second-best 300m-hurdle time in the state this year for all schools on Saturday."
In fact, Evarts' sub-47-seconds time of 46.96 is very close to her 2016 State Champion, 27-year-old school-breaking time of last year.
"I was very happy with how Regions went," Evarts said. "I'm especially glad to have run a sub-47 second 300m hurdle time."
Evarts said she was a little sick at the beginning of the season and was nervous she wouldn't be able to run as fast as she did last season.
"But I recovered and have been training hard," Evarts said. "Bill stayed confident in my ability, and I was able to pull it off."
Evarts' time of 17.37 seconds in the 100m hurdles was also good enough for the title, but she's the first to admit the race wasn't her smoothest.
"I was kind of laughing at myself in the 100m hurdles because I got a little distracted in the beginning of the race," she explained. "That made the rest of the race a little awkward with my steps and spacing between the hurdles."
Evarts also competed in the 4x100 and 4x400 relays, adding two more first-place finishes to her collection. The Lady Mariners won all four relay races at the meet.
"I was really proud of our relay teams," Evarts said. "We've been practicing hard this past week, emphasizing handoffs in the 4x100 and strategy in the 4x400. It really payed off."
Homer freshman sprinter Kaylee Veldstra continued to dominate on the track in both individual sprint and relay events. Veldstra crossed the finish line first in the 100m event with a time of 12.72; she was second in the 200m, finishing in 27.74.
Veldstra also helped her team to first-place finishes in the 4x100 and 4x200 relays; the Lady Mariners finished the 4x200 relay a full six seconds ahead of second-place Valdez. But it was the 4x800 relay squad of Megan Pitzman, Audrey Rosencrans, Lauren Kuhns and Autumn Daigle that really outran their opponents. The Mariner team finished the race in 10:19.22; almost 35 seconds faster than second-place Grace's time of 10:53.94.
Homer also got first-place finishes from Marina Carroll in the triple jump and Anna Brock in the discus.
In boys' action, Joel Carroll cleared 6-00 to finish first in the high jump, while the 4x800 relay team of Jared Brant, Bill Rich, Jacob Davis and Luka Fasulo turned in the fastest time to win their event. A steady stream of second and third-place finishes pushed the Mariners to 98 points and a tie with Grace Christian for second place.
Brant, Davis and Fasulo joined Zane Boyer to take second behind Seward in the 4x400 relay, where they lost by just over a quarter of a second.
After jumping out to a quick lead with junior sprinter Teddy Croft in the first leg, the Homer 4x100 relay team of Croft, Boyer, Hunter Patton and Noah Fisk looked to be on their way to another first-place finish until there was a miscue between baton passers. The four Mariners wound up finishing fifth in the event, and are now alternates in the event at State.
In individual sprint events, Croft finished second in the 200m, and third in both the 100 and 400m races.
Mariner track-and-fielders travel to Palmer this weekend to participate in the State Championships.