PHS sent 17 to the state track and field championships in Palmer last weekend. (Photo courtesy of Brad Taylor)

Petersburg High School’s girls track team took fourth place at the small schools state championships near Palmer last weekend. The boys team took ninth place. And Petersburg’s most decorated track athlete finished out her high school career with four more state titles.


For the girls teams, Homer took the top spot among 1A, 2A and 3A schools with 118 points. Sitka was second with 87 points, Grace Christian in third with 71 and Petersburg took fourth with 56 points. On the boys side, Anchorage Christian was the state champion with 88 points. The top team from Southeast was Sitka in sixth place with 37 points and Petersburg wound up ninth with 23.

“It was a good meet for the girls,” said Petersburg’s coach Brad Taylor. “The boys left a few points on the table. We were beat up very bad. We had, Ethan (Cummins) was sicker than a dog. Alan’s (McCay) leg it was really bothering him. It was a tough event for the boys. We left a lot of points on the table.”

The boys had one individual state title, Casey Bell in the 300 hurdles. He set a school record in that event. He was also fourth in the 110 hurdles and Nathaniel Lenhard took sixth in that event. Axel Vides was fourth in the long jump and eighth in the 100 meter dash.

For the girls, senior Izabelle Ith won all four of her events, the 100 and 300 hurdles, triple jump and long jump. She completed a similar sweep in 2015. In track, athletes can only enter four events. In her four year high school career she’s competed in four each year, 16 total. Of those she has won 13 state titles and been runner up in the other three.

“In the history of the state I don’t know how she compares to the best but she’s right there,” Taylor said. “I don’t even know if anybody’s ever matched that accomplishment.”

Ith is the only female athlete from Petersburg with a state title in track. She said she had some goals for this season. “I really wanted to go sub-15 seconds in the 100 meter hurdles, which happened this meet,” Ith said. “I was really excited about. I was a tenth of second off the state record in that, so it was a little bit bitter sweet, mostly sweet. I was really happy with that time. I did want to break the state record in the triple jump but that unfortunately didn’t happen. I had a small injury and kind of took it easy on my jumps this weekend.”

Izabelle Ith competes in the long jump. (Photo courtesy of Brad Taylor)

Despite taking it easy, Ith left the competition behind in all four events. In past years, she’s had some close races and tough competition. This year she had to learn a little about motivating herself without anyone challenging her times and distances.

“I was quite a ways ahead in the jumping,” she said. “That was good. I did have some competition in the 300 hurdles. There’s a girl from Homer who was running good times this season and we really thought it would be a close race but it wasn’t as close as we thought. It was good. I was very, very nervous before that one. The 300 hurdles is always a anything can happen. A girl tripped over a hurdle, did a somersault, stood up, still got fourth.” Ith will continue her track career at Williams College in Massachusetts.

Also for the girls, Elisa Larson was fifth in the discus and Mariah Taylor was fifth in the shot put.

Coach Taylor said one of the performances of the meet was an eighth place finish for freshman Melanie Chase in the 3200. “She went in, she was seeded, oh I don’t know 14th or 15th and ended up a solid eighth place, just one person out of scoring points. But it was so nice to see her, she dropped over 25 seconds. It’s nice to see her with that performance. I think that’s gonna build a lot of confidence in that young lady going into next year.”

Kayleigh Eddy was fifth in the 100 hurdles, 7th in the 300 hurdles and 10th in the 1600.The girls 4 by 800 relay team of Eddy, Erin Pfundt, Taylor and Chase took third place.