CHS Track Team Attends Meet in Palmer

Veteran CHS runner Zach Hamberger nears the 1600m finish at a track meet in Palmer. He finished in first place with the second fastest time in the State so far this year. Photo courtesy of Dani Hayden)

Cordova High’s fledgling track team attended its first meet of the year at Palmer on May 12 and 13, with eight members participated in a variety of field events.  For many, it was their first action on a real track.  All their training had been done in the gym or areas surrounding CHS.

Veteran senior Zach Hamberger, winner of the 2A Cross Country title last fall, had a great race, posting a 4:29 in the 1600 meter race to give him a first place finish.  His time was the second fastest for all school sizes so far this season.

Smiling CHS sprinter Amanda Taitano enjoys her first glimpse of a real track at the Palmer meet on May 13, 2017. Photo courtesy of Dani Hayden)

New CHS physical education teacher Dani Hayden has teamed up with long time Coach Jeff Hamberger to revitalize the program.  Fifteen students turned out, but many had conflicts with other activities that precluded their attending the Palmer meet.

Besides Hamberger, who also finished 7th in the 400m, those competing, and their events were:  Ben Wray, 1600m; Amanda Taitano, 100m and 200m;  Michah Whitcomb, 200m and 800m;  Greg Frohnapfel, 200m and 800m; William Deaton, 800m and 1600m;  Autumn Deaton , 200m and 800m; and Eoghan Hernandez 200m.  Frohnapfel, Whitcomb, Wray, and Hamberger also competed in 4X400 Relay.  Oliva Carroll, who trained in the shot put all season, was unable to attend due to selection for State Music that weekend.

Posting top 16 times in regular season events qualify athletes for regionals.   Hamberger qualified for the 400m and 1600m; Taitano in the 100m.   Neither will be able to attend, due to graduation ceremonies the weekend of regionals.

“The other athletes did not qualify this year, however, we have high hopes to  qualify more next year, now that they’ve had a taste of what track is all about”, said Hayden.

To build future interest, Hayden ran a junior high track meet earlier this spring, and passersby may have noticed girls and boys running courses marked by banner tape attached to folding chairs around the perimeter of CHS.

The former multi-sport athlete from MatSu’s Colony High has high hopes for developing a track and field program here.

Hayden and Hamberger have talked about a possible track field on the area near the ballpark by the campground on Whitshed Road.   “We have such limited resources here, absent such things as a track, jumping pit, hurdles, and so forth”, said Hayden.

“All the other schools in our region have a track at their school and have been attending meets since mid-March,” said Hayden.  “For us, the first meet was learning the ways of the track in deciphering each and every line on the ground, as they all meant something different for starts, finishes, exchange zones and merging lanes.  They performed far above our expectations.  It was a tremendous experience.”

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