Chugiak star breaks state high jump record
Chugiak senior Emma Nelson broke the state record in the high jump by more than two inches Friday on the first day of the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Division I Track and Field Championships at Machetanz Field in Palmer.
Nelson cleared the bar at 5-feet, 9-inches on her second attempt to break the record of 5 feet, 6.5 inches set by Wasilla’s Ceil Dunleavy in 2016.
“I’m really excited,” the Oregon State-bound senior said after winning the event.
Nelson’s leap equalled her personal best and avenged a loss at last year’s state meet, where she passed on a couple heights then failed to clear 5-6 in a head-to-head showdown with Dunleavy.
This time around, Nelson didn’t take any chances, jumping at each new height increment as her competitors fell by the wayside.
While the safe route ensured a state title, Nelson said the extra attempts took a toll.
“I was pretty tuckered out by the end,” said Nelson, whose winning leap would have been good enough to place third in the Division I boys competition.
Despite the extra work, Nelson said she couldn’t be happier with her first state high jump title.
“Usually I have really bad state high jump performances so I was stoked,” said Nelson, who ranks 32nd nationally in the event this season. “Kind of like I figured it out.”
Nelson wasn’t too tuckered out to continue her jumping dominance Friday — a few hours later she soared 37 feet, 9 inches to win the triple jump by more than a foot over South freshman Addison Stevenson.
Nelson’s big day wasn’t the only big performance turned in by a Chugiak athlete Friday, as junior Daniel Bausch continued his dominance of the Division I class by running away from the field in the 3,200 meters.
Bausch is undefeated this season and wasn’t challenged at all Friday, putting 200 meters between himself and the chase pack midway through the race. That was a different strategy from last week’s Cook Inlet Conference championships, when Bausch pulled several of his pursuers to personal best times.
“Sometimes you do pace duty for the people behind you,” Bausch said.
On Friday, he said he decided to put the hammer down.
“This time I was like, ‘If they’re still with me at the mile mark I’m going to kick a little just to get them off me,” he said.
By the mile mark though, he next closest competitors were far in the rearview mirror. By the finish line, Bausch had put more than 20 seconds between himself and second-place Everett Cason of West.
“Fortunately they dropped off by themselves and decided it was a race for second place,” said Bausch, who moved to Chugiak after the cross-country running season and received a waiver to compete for CHS in track and field.
Changing schools midyear was difficult academically and socially, he said, but a process made easier by coaches Melissa Hall and Marko Cheseto.
“I have fantastic coaches and fantastic teammates,” he said. ‘The school part was definitely rough, but I had these fantastic coaches who really are just supportive and made Chugiak a good choice for me. I’m blessed to have them on my team.”
Friday’s events included the finals in the 3,200 meters, running preliminaries and field event finals. Saturday’s session begins at 10:30 a.m. and features running finals in all events, as well as the conclusion of the field events. For a complete schedule, visit asaa.org. For complete results, visit athletic.net.
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