From a workaholic long-distance runner to a classical music-loving sprinter, here are 8 track and field athletes to watch this season

The Anchorage Daily News caught up with some of the top athletes from the Cook Inlet Conference athletic schools last week. The list includes a long-distance runner, a classical music-loving sprinter, a soccer pitcher and a hurdler who has been training for her events since the fall.

Payton Smith

Grade: Senior

The school: West

Top event: 1600

Other events: 3200

What Head Coach Antonio Wyche said: “She’s a self-reliant athlete, she’s a workhorse. She decides to come to the track even when we don’t have to be there. She works extremely hard, trains extremely hard, maybe a little anxious before races, but I think she’s just a great athlete who wants to be super competitive.

What she said: “My favorite race is the mile. I like it because it’s a bit of a slower pace which is good because you’re relaxed for the half and the last part is quite exciting.

Favorite workout/warm-up music: “For Victory”, by Slim Dinero. “It’s a bit R-rated just a warning,” Smith warned.

Olyvia Mamae

Grade: Junior

The school: East

Top event: 300 hurdles

Other events: 100 meters hurdles, 100

Which head coach Christina Shurtleff mentioned: “She didn’t get the results she wanted from the state last year, so she’s been training since October to make up for those so she can hopefully win the state in four trials.”

What she said: “I’ve been training three days a week since October and now I’m training every day of the week for the season. I started off the track having fun, but now it’s something I want to take to the next level and I’m serious.

Favorite workout/warm-up music: “I kind of try to clear my mind as much as possible,” Mamae said. “I like to think about the things I need to focus on during the race to get over obstacles as quickly as possible.

Shaistin Naufahu Gaspar

Grade: Senior

The school: Bartlett

Top event: Shot Put, Discus

Other events: 100

What throwing coach Laura Homan said: “He’s a consistent pitcher and is very good at what he does. He excels in discus and shot put and he is a runner.

What he said: “For me, it’s better than football, but I still love football just as much. I try not to be too cocky, but it’s good to be the best pitcher in Alaska.

Favorite workout/warm-up music: Gospel and worship music

Jared Gardin

Grade: Senior

The school: Diamond

Top event: 3200

Other events: 1600, 800

What distance coach Nate Normandin said: “He worked hard and is one of the kids you wouldn’t think of as an athlete. He works so hard that he’s become a phenomenal great athlete.

What he said: “I’ve grown to love it, especially in the last few years since COVID started. It’s kind of like an escape from what’s going on. I’ve grown to love the sport.

Favorite workout/warm-up music: “I like to talk to myself before a race and say ‘You get it. Go for that best time and it worked for me,'” Gardiner said.

AJ Szewcyk

Grade: Second year

The school: Eagle River

Top event: 110 meters hurdles

Other events: 300 hurdles, 100

What he said: “Your final mark is the finish line but you have these barriers that are in front of you. I am attacking these barriers. That is my goal. My goal is not the finish line, my goal is hedges.

Favorite workout/warm-up music: Country. “Sometimes I’ll just go and listen to country music,” Szewcyk said. “Sometimes during practice we’ll incorporate these Disney songs, because why not, it’s always fun.”

Zoe Chang

Grade: Senior

The school: A service

Top event: 800

Other events: 400 long jump

What she said: “I couldn’t keep up with the pace of a sprint, but I’m in pretty good shape thanks to cross-country. To do the 800, you have to be fit and fast. »

Favorite workout/warm-up music: Megan you stallion

Joshua Bailey

Grade: Senior

The school: Chugiak

Top event: 100

Other events: 4×100, 200

What he said: “I’m just trying to get my times as low as possible so I can go for a sub-11-100 towards the end of the season. It would be something really special and just having a few wins under my belt would be really nice.

Favorite workout/warm-up music: Classic. “Really low-key,” Bailey said. “Bach is good, symphonic stuff and group music.”

Indigo Hobson

Grade: Junior

The school: South

Top event: 800

Other events: 400

What she said: “I like the last lap, the last 300m, I really like that part of the race. I just like kicking the last 300m and getting to the finish line. The other races are not not like that, it’s quick and fast.

Favorite workout/warm-up music: Taylor Swift

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