LEFT: Zack Wassman wins the long jump with a best-ever jump of 19 feet, 2 inches.
RIGHT: Ethan Goebel, right, and a Juneau runner lean into the finish line during a combined race at the SE Region meet. Goebel won the 1A-2A-3A class in all three of his races. Photos courtesy of Klas Stolpe, Juneau Empire
Outstanding SE meet for SHS track and field team Goebel, Wassman multiple event winners; relay team off to State
By JEFF BRADY
A freshman and a senior from Skagway High were multiple winners at last weekend’s SE Alaska Regional Track and Field Meet in Juneau.
SHS freshman Ethan Goebel won three long-distance races to earn the Outstanding Male Athlete award, and senior Zack Wassman leapt to wins in the long jump and triple jump.
They were also members of the second place 4x800 relay team, along with Trevor Cox and Colton Belisle, that also earned a trip to this weekend’s ASAA State Track Meet at Dimond High School in Anchorage.
Goebel’s performance was impressive in the 1A-2A-3A division.
“It’s extremely unusual for a freshman boy to win outstanding athlete at the region meet,” said Skagway coach Kent Fielding.
It started with the 3200-meter race on Friday, going up against three good runners from Petersburg. Fielding said they thought they had Goebel pegged, but the Skagway runner pulled away. Even running a slow last lap, “(Goebel) was so far ahead no one could catch him,” his coach said.
Goebel’s winning time was 10:38.02. Belisle finished sixth in 12:25.74, and Richard Deichen was ninth in 12:59.19.
Saturday started with the 4x800 relay, in which Goebel was the anchor. He was able to pass Petersburg’s runner, but could not catch Sitka “and almost ran himself out of his next event.” Skagway’s time of 9:11.73 was about six seconds behind Sitka’s team and a second ahead of Petersburg.
In the 1600, the strategy was to either lead and pull away, or stay behind someone until the fourth lap. Goebel worked the second option perfectly with a winning time of 5:00.44, six seconds ahead of the next runner. Teammate Belisle was ninth in 5:36.15.
Finally, in the 800, which Fielding thought was Goebel’s most difficult distance, he told him to make it another “kick race” where you let someone else lead and run the last 200 as fast as you can go. Fielding said Goebel pulled a “Quinn Weber” and began his kick on the second lap to win by five seconds. “He just took off. It was probably his easiest win.”
Meanwhile, over in the field events, Wassman was being coached by former region champ and SHS alum Mickey Wilson. Wassman had already beaten Wilson’s school record with a jump of 19 feet last season, and was ready for some region glory three days after graduation.
“Zack kind of stole the long jump,” Fielding said.
His longest jump this season was just 17 feet, 10 inches, and he came into the meet ranked third.
Wassman made the finals, but Haines’ Chevy Fowler immediately jumped 18-8 and looked hard to beat, but “Zack on his very last jump went 19-2, and that Haines coach just shook his head,” Fielding said.
The triple jump, Wassman’s best event, was much easier. His first jump was 36 feet, 5 inches, and that would be the winner by five inches.
Fielding said he was especially pleased with his relay team qualifying for state, as their time in any other year probably would have won. “There are a lot of good long distance runners this year in Southeast,” he said.
On the girls’ side, Fielding said freshman Hailey Jensen missed the 800 finals by less than a second with a ninth place time of 3:06.64. She was eighth in the 1600 at 6:52.18, and seventh in the 3200 at 15:20.02.
Sophomore Al Weber also had a good meet, setting personal records in both events (7:09.30 for 10th place in the 1600, and 16:02.98 for ninth in the 3200).
Fielding said he would like to see more girls out for the team next year, but help is coming from the junior high. Earlier in the week, at the regional junior high meet, Skagway fielded its largest team ever with the following highlights:
• Kara Whitehead finished second in the shot put (her first time throwing).
• Eliza Myers finished second in the 400 meters with a great kick.
• Rebecca Hollander finished third in the 1600.
• Danny Brady finished third in the 400 meters with a time of 1:06.
“They had a lot of fun which is most important thing,” Fielding said of the J-high group. “I hope to get a few in cross-country too.”
UPDATE: Goebel took 5th in the 1600 and 6th in the 3200 at State, while Wassman finished 6th in the triple jump and 7th in the long jump, and the 3200 relay team finished 7th in the State class 1A-2A-3A division.