GATHERING OF CULTURES – Dorothy Gordon holds year-old Marilyn De La Torre as they perform an entrance song Thursday at the B.J McGillis Gym during the annual Gathering of Cultures. A Tlingit dance group made up of several Sitka Tlingit dance groups opened the gathering. Mt. Edgecumbe High School’s student dance groups representing cultural groups from five regions of Alaska also performed. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

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Daily Sitka Sentinel

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Sentinel Staff Writer

Sitka High’s track and field team outran the competition and earned first place by a wide margin at the Region V championship meet Friday and Saturday in Juneau.

In competition with other Division II schools from Southeast, both of Sitka’s teams won the meet, but the Wolves also held their own when compared to larger Division I schools such as Juneau-Douglas and Ketchikan in the last meet before the state championships.

In the combined results, Sitka’s women earned 248 points, with Haines a distant second at 91, and Thunder Mountain in third with 63. On the men’s side, Sitka ended the meet with 322 points, while Haines was second with 110 and Juneau-Douglas took third with 71.

Going into the 100 meter dash Saturday, Wolves senior Caleb Hutton knew he had a chance to set a new school record.

“It was in the sights. Before the race, my PR was an 11.6, and I knew I had more in me to hit it,” Hutton said at practice Monday. “Didn’t know how much more, but I hit it.”

He did, indeed, crossing the finish line at 11.37 seconds for first place. Teammate Calder Prussian, a freshman, was second at 11.65. The old Sitka High record, set in 2016, was 11.50 seconds.

In his final season running track for the Wolves, Hutton was excited about setting a new benchmark in the 100. 

“At the start of the day, I wasn’t feeling it,” he said. “Honestly, I didn’t feel good from being sick and my legs were tired from the first day.” He was aiming for a win, but a new school record in the 100 was a surprise, he said. “So it was an amazing experience for sure.”

Hutton took another first in the 200, this time in 24.01 seconds, a personal best but not a school record. Again, Prussian was right behind, finishing second in 24.43. Dezi Olney-Miller was third in 24.49, and Camden Young finished fourth in 25.17 to complete Sitka’s sweep of that event.

“This was my first year running the 200, and I was terrible at it,” Hutton said. “I didn’t really know the right way of attacking it… And then on the first day of the meet, I finally got it.”

Compared with Division I times from the meet, Hutton’s sprints would put him in fourth place in both the 100 and 200 meter events.

He was glad for an injury-free senior season in which he improved across the board.

“It feels good to be able to improve this much in my senior year, to be able to come out of regions with my own personal goals. I hadn’t done that before for individual events.”

He will attend Southeastern Iowa College in the fall, where he plans to continue to run track.

Hutton ran with Tyler Adres, Calder Prussian and Matthew Leach in the four-by-100 meter relay, too. The squad finished first in 48.32 seconds.

Calder Prussian said he enjoyed the chance to learn from upperclassmen.

“For some reason I did a lot better in prelims than I did in finals,” Prussian said. “But being on the teams (with) all the upperclassmen, it’s just a lot of fun. They’re fast and they’re really good and experienced.”

With the state meet less than a week away, he’s looking forward to “experiencing it, I think, just being there.”

The freshman credited his coaches for much of the team’s success on the track.

“We have some great coaches. We do really good at the meets; we all work hard, and it shows at the meets,” Prussian said.

The team has indeed worked hard though the season, said head coach Jeremy Strong, and the regional meet displayed the results.

“It’s a hard-working group. They’ve been good listeners, and they show up to practice and put in the time and it’s just really paying off at the end of the season,” Strong said.

The coaching staff members as a whole, he added, have also worked hard to ensure the squad’s success.

“It’s the group of coaches that we have – I think we have the same message. We really try to teach… It’s one thing if you know how to program, you know sprints and distance and jumps and throws. But it’s just being able to talk to kids and connect with them to get them to buy in… We have a lot of senior leadership, and we had a lot of younger underclassmen talent,” the coach said.

In the 400 meter race, Sitka again took the top four spots, with Dezi Olney-Miller in first in 54.11 seconds, Camden Young right behind in 55.34, Dylan Crenna in third in 55.72 and freshman Francis Myers finishing fourth in 56.35.

In the distance races, Sitka’s top tier performances continued across the board, though the team didn’t sweep the top spots in every event.

In the 3,200 meter race – the longest individual event in the sport – sophomore Connor Hitchcock took second place in 9:54, achieving his personal goal of breaking the ten-minute threshold. Senior Silas Demmert won the race in 9:44, and James Helem was third in 10:58.

Hitchcock focused on his pacing in the eight-lap race, and was happy with the results.

“Silas was probably 15 meters ahead of me most of the race, and so I was just trying to pace even splits. I was going for 1:15s to get a sub-10… My last one I think was like a 1:11 and I hit 9:54. So I was really happy with that,” said Hitchcock.

Demmert and Hitchcock posted times faster than the best in Division I, where Edgar Vera Alovarado was first in the 3,200 in 10:18.

Demmert again took first in the 1,600 meter race in 4:37, but this time Haines’ Luke Davis was second across the line. A second behind him, Hitchcock crossed the line in 4:42 in third place, followed by Trey Demmert in 4:43. Annan Weiland secured fifth in 5:01, with James Helem two seconds behind him.

In the 1,600, Hitchcock, Weiland and both Demmert brothers were all faster than the best Division I athletes.

Sitka sophomore Trey Demmert wins the boys high jump during the regional track and field championship, Friday, at Thunder Mountain. (Klas Stolpe / Juneau Empire)

Hitchcock is already eager for the chance to run the 3,200 one more time at the state competition in Anchorage. He has high hopes across the board.

“I’ll just see how I do in 32. That’ll be fun. I’ll hopefully score points,” he said. “And then the mile, I’m excited for it too, we have a lot of people in that. And then the 800 will be fun, because I’ll just be trying to make the final. And then the four by eight. We have a pretty good team this year. So hopefully we’ll get a good podium spot for that one.”

Sitka’s four-by-800 relay took first in the region in 9:28 with Weiland, Dylan Crenna, Hank Maxwell and Trey Demmert running.

Like Calder Prussian, Hitchcock said the coaches have a lot to do with the team’s success.

“I think that (performance) has a lot to do with the coaching. We have the best coaches in the state. And I think they really enforce dedication and hard work,” he said, “and I think that’s definitely a big part of what makes the team so good.”

Sitka’s Edward Richards was third in shot put and fourth in discus. In the high jump, Trey Demmert got first, followed by Rowan Olney-Miller in third. David Davis secured first in the 110 meter hurdles, with Olney-Miller third. Davis again earned first in the 300 meter hurdles, and Angelo Elefante was third.

On the women’s side, Sitka’s team earned another first place finish, sweeping many of the top spots across the course.

Sophomore Clare Mullin was first in the 800 in 2:18, followed by Marina Dill in second place in 2:39. Mullin’s time was eight seconds faster than any other at the meet.

Mullin again took first in the 1,600 meter race in 5:16, followed by Anna Prussian in 5:39 and Dill in 5:42. Again, Mullin was the fastest runner in the meet in that event.

Prussian was first in the 3,200 in 11:50, with Aliyah Merculief second in 13:49. In that event her time was second only to Division I winner Ida Meyer of Juneau.

JDHS sophomore Ida Meyer leads Etta Eller, Sitka senior Anna Prussian, Rayna Tuckwood and Pacific Ricke in the 3200 during the regional track and field championship, Friday, at Thunder Mountain. (Klas Stolpe / Juneau Empire)

In the sprints, Sitka freshman Adalyna Moore took first, both in the 100 and 200 meter sprints. In the 100, she crossed the line in 13.17 seconds, while she finished the 200 in 27.80.

“At the beginning of the race, I was definitely nervous. But I think if you just try hard enough, and you just want it more, then anyone could win… I couldn’t believe that it actually happened because it just went by so fast,” she said.

She credited her team as a whole for her success. “It’s just being with my team; they’re just fun to be with… They’re all just really nice, and they’re also really good at what they do,” Moore said.

Jadelynn Kubik took first in the 400 meter race in 1:08, with Leilynn Swain and Gwen White in second and third respectively. Natalie Hall won both the 100 and 300 meter hurdle events.

In the four-by-800 relay, Anna Prussian, Jadelynn Kubik, Jessica Christner and Marina Dill finished first 11:20 - though no other school fielded a team. Prussian, Dill, Natalie Hall and Clare Mullin took first in the four-by-400 relay in 4:27, this time competing against three other teams.

The state championship meet will be Friday and Saturday at Palmer High School, just north of Anchorage.

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At a Glance

(updated 9-12-2023)

By Sentinel Staff

The state Department of Health and Social Services has posted the following update on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alaska as of 8:57 a.m. Tuesday, September 12.

New cases as of Tuesday: 278

Total cases (cumulative) statewide – 301,513

Total (cumulative) deaths – 1,485

Case Rate per 100,000 – 38.14

To visit the Alaska DHSS Corona Response dashboard website click here.

COVID in Sitka

The Sitka community level is now "Low.'' Case statistics are as of Tuesday.

Case Rate/100,000 – 152.50

Cases in last 7 days – 13

Cumulative Sitka cases – 3,575

Deceased (cumulative) – 10

The local case data are from Alaska DHSS.






March 2004

Photo caption: Fire engines and ambulances shine in the sun outside the new fire hall Saturday during an open house. Hundreds turned out to look over the $4 million facility, which is twice the size of the building it replaced. It features a state-of-the-art exhaust system and much larger offices and a large training room.


March 1974

The Sheldon Jackson Museum will have a special showing of replicas of ancient Tlingit hunting weapons. The replicas were made by A. P. Johnson, a Tlingit  culture instructor and metal arts teacher at SJC.


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