Even though high school is behind her, Su-Valley’s most recent valedictorian, Ayla Loper, had one more high school athletic event to go, the Brian Young Invitational track meet in Kodiak. Ayla spoke with KTNA’s Kaitlin Daly, who has this story:
Recent Su-Valley graduate Ayla Loper participated in an invitation-only track meet. The meet is intended to bring the best Alaskan high school track members to compete in order to break records. Ayla says the event is also dedicated to commemorate a very important Kodiak community member,
“The point of the track meet is kind of to celebrate Bryan Young’s life and what he did. He was kind of influential to the community of Kodiak and a lot of the runners there. So the coach at Kodiak decided to start a track meet kind of in honor of his life and how he helped everyone and all of the high schoolers at Kodiak. So what they did is, they decided to kind of have an all-stars meet and get together all of the best track athletes in the state and kind of just compete and break records.”
Ayla competed in the following four events while in Kodiak: the high jump, the 4 by 2 relay, the open 400 race and the 4 by 4 relay. The high jump requires the participant to jump over a raised bar until there is only one competitor left that has not dislodged it. The 4 by 2 relay consists of a team of 4 competitors running 200 meters, the team to finish the fastest wins. Likewise the 4 by 4 relay consists of a team of 4 running 400 meters and the team with the fastest time wins. Finally in the open 400 a participant runs a 400 meter sprint race with the intent to finish with the fastest time. Ayla says it was awesome to compete in these events.
“And so high jump was awesome and I love doing high jump in general so that was fun. And then also the 4 by 4 team I was paired with some really fast people and so we actually broke the record for as far as 4 by 4’s. No one, no girls team had ever run under 4 minutes and we were able to do that. So that was awesome to kind of be a part of that.”
The track meet was not the only thing that the participants did while they were there. Ayla says they lodged with families and even ate dinner with them. Furthermore the teams would go on hikes and explore Kodiak in their free time.
Along with this, Ayla says she had met most of the participants at previous track meets, which allowed them a chance to bond as people as well as athletes.
“I thought it was really nice to kind of be with all these other athletes and get to compete on the team with people that you’d been competing for, with the whole year. So you know my 4 by 4 team we had; in the open 400 that I had run at State I had got 3rd and all my 4 by 4 team, the 1st and 2nd people were also on the 4 by 4 team. So it was nice to kind of to be able to be on the same team with such great athletes and that I already knew from different events and from just the season and prior seasons. So it was nice to kind of be able to bond with them and spend time with them.”
Ayla says she had a great time and that she feels the experience was wonderful and very humbling.