Washington State Meet Saturday

Efraimson & Neale

 Mt. Tahoma hosted the Washington state meet on a glorious spring day, yet the competition on the field outshone the weather.   The day had barely begun, when quality action on the field began being made.  Sean Keller of Heritage got things off with a bang, when he threw the javelin 227-11 on his first throw of the day.   Although he had hopes for even a better throw, Sean had continued to practice all week, so he was not at peak but he still set a new record for the event at the State Meet and in-so-doing seemingly set the tone for the day.  Jennifer DeBellis of Columbia River later vaulted 12-06 to establish a new mark in the 2A Pole Vault.

Sean Keller  by Angela Collins
     Now-a-days, however, when one thinks of Washington track. they have to think of distance running and no event so typified the day's action than the 2A 1600 Meter Run, where six runners went under the State mark.  Marcus Dickson of White River came into the event with one of the best marks in the nation and he did not disappoint.  He took the lead early and pushed the pace, although Patrick Gibson of Squalicum, who won the 3200 on Thursday, refused to yield and challenged Marcus the entire way.   Though the pair pushed the pace early, they were unable to break away from the field, which saw Dallas Snider of West more often than not in third but amidst a pack of runners, who remained in hot pursuit.  It remained Marcus and his gang, when the bell rang for the final lap and with 300 meters to go Gibson put in a surge in an attempt to overtake his rival but Dickson surged back.  Gibson made at least two more attempts to take the lead but Marcus would not yield.  There was no way he would let him by and, when he reached the final straight he held something in reserve, so his kick was there to utilize.   In the straight he opened a gap over the stubborn Gibson.   In the end Marcus crossed the line the winner in 4:10.79 with Gibson right behind in 4:11.  As fine a run as they both had exhibited, the duo was not all that far ahead of a quartet of runners, who stormed across the finish line in their wake.   Daniel Amann of Deer Park (4:12.17), Mitchell Montgomery of Cedarcrest (4:13.83), Dallas Snider (4:14.80) and Dayde Collins of Deer Park (4:15.46) had all eclipsed the old 2A mark of 4:15.70 set by Mason Mchenry.  Kody Gould, also from White River, placed seventh in 4:18, while Conner Johnsen of Sehome, Poli Balthazar of Aberdeen & Joe Charbonneau of Bellingham rounded out the top ten.

Marcus Dickson
     A record fell in the middle-distances as well, when Nicholas Boersma of Wenatchee blew across the finish line in 1:49.87 to break the clocking of Grant Grosvenor of Henry Jackson in 2011.  He came into the race as the favorite and ran that way by taking the lead early and challenging anyone to stay with him.  Tanner Sork of Union and Drew Schreiber of Eisenhower earned second & third with 1:52 & change, while Blake Nelson of Jackson earned fourth in 1:53.
     Fans certainly got their price of admission's worth just in the 3A girls' 800M, when Amy-Eloise Neale of Glacier Peak and Alexa Efraimson dueled for a full two laps.   The pair ran shoulder to shoulder seemingly the entire race.  It was as if they were displaying the age old physics question about the irresistable force versus the immovable object.  Neale forced the pace but Efraimson was intent to 'leave nothing left on the track", so the two ran in tandem through-out the race.  In the final straight Alexa attempted to get past but Amy had a response but still there was little separating the pair in the end as Neale edged Efraimson 2:10.32 to 2:10.51:  both under the old record of 2:10.98.   Still it is unfair to just focus on that pair for Megan Beachene of Kamiakin placed third in 2:12.99 - a time one would usually expect to win, yet Lynelle Decker of Mountain View finsihed fourth in 2:13.  

Nicholas Boersma
     That race took its toll on Amy-Eloise, whose season has been compromised due to hamstring issues, and she limped onto the awards stand after the race.  She wisely chose not to risk further damage, so she did not toe the line in the 1600M to face her old rival Katie Knight.  That left Katie to race the clock even though she faced a quality field.  Katie's goal was to get under 4:50 and she dutifully set the pace and it appeared that she had achieved her goal, when the scoreboard clock flashed 4:49 at race's end, but unfortunately the official mark was 4:50.20 - still quite a good time given the breeze & surprisingly  heat.  As in the other races there was fine quality not far behind and Megan Beauchene of Kamiakin came back to run 4:55 to take second ahead of lily Engelbrekt of Bishop Blanchet, who ran 4:57.  She nipped Katie Bianchini of Glacier Peak, who ran 4;57.48 and Lynelle Decker followed in fifth in 5:01. 

     Izaic Yorks of Lakes had the leading time in the nation going into the 1600 Meter Run and, intent on running another solid time, he dutifully blasted away leaving Nathan Weitz of Shadle Park in his wake.  Nathan, who more often than not ends up shouldering the lead in longer races was left in the rather unique position of chasing.  Although Joe Hardy of Seattle Prep, Curtis King of Peninsula & Anthony Armstrong, who sadly was compromised by health issues this spring, were in pursuit early the race had come down to just two runners with two laps remaining.   Yorks continued to press the pace and it seemed at times that Weitz might be force to concede, Nathan fought back with three hundred to go.   He fought back into the turn before Izaic unleashed a final kick to draw clear to win in a meet record of 4:04.77 for 3A.   Weitz came in with a cool 4:05.60, as he not only went under the former mark of 4:05.60 but also broke the school record of Mike Kiter.   Joe Hardy earned third with a fine 4:09.89 barely missing the old mark and Curtis King placed fourth in 4:12 - essentially the same time as Anthony Armstrong.
     A slow first lap of about 83 eliminated any reccord attempt in the girls' 4A - 1600 Meters but Jordan McPhee of Mt. Rainier took control of the race after that and made sure someone was going to fly to catch her after that.  She sped to victory in a time of 5:01.27 and Alexis Fuller of Union doubled back after her victorious 800M earlier to claim second in 5:02.   Mia Wrey of Ballard securded third in a timeof 5:05 and Chandler Olson took fourth in 5:05.  Lauren Perry of Richland finished a second later and Brooke Kingma of Henry Jackson ran 5:07.  Oddly enough Rachel Atwood of Auburn Riverside was the first senior to finish & she also was clocked in 5:07.

Gardner & McCandless
     It was difficult to believe that the splits were fast, because a phalanx of runners remained in contention half way into the boys' 4A race at 1600 Meterrs.   Even, when the final bell rang, six runners conceivably had  a reasonable shot of winning but Conor McCandless of Gonzaga Prep took the lead from Jacob Smith of Wenatchee and bounded away with 300 Meters to go.  The move came at a most inconvenient time, for Korey Krozter was tripped up and was forced to break stride just as McCandless made his bold move.  Only a month before Conor had expressed concern about even being able to simply qualify for the meet, given the depth in his region, but there he was going for broke.  Andrew Gardner of Mead had been content to sit comfortably just off the lead but he was quick to respond to McCandless.   He responded, however, after Conor had opened a gap and now had some work to do to catch up to the flying McCandless.   When they rounded the final turn Conor still had a lead but Gardner was gaining as the approached the finish.   Smith, although a bit tired due to his pace-setting efforts pressed to remain in contention as Krotzer fought to get back his lost yardage.   As the duo approached the finish Conor still had the lead but Andrew dove right before the line to make it tantalizingly close.  Had he made was anyone's guess but in the end he had prevailed to win by one-hundredths of a second in 4:09.71.  Jacob Smith was barely behind them in  4:10, while Korey Krotzer battled back to finish in 4:11.72.  Wolfgang Beck of Gig Harbor continued his impressive sophomore season with his fifth place finish in 4:13, as he edged Santos Vargas of Eisenhower.  Michael Mendenhall of Inglemoor was clocked in 4:14 edging Jonathan Stevens of Redmond and Mark Tedder of Battle Ground
garnered ninth in 4:16.   Gig Harbor 's Will Drinkwater placed tenth and his team mates Logan Carroll & Casey Peloquiun finished 11th & 13th respectively.

Jameson Shirley

  One of the more anticipated races was 800 Meter Run for the 3A guys with Izaic Yorks topping the bill.
With one of the leading times in the nation it was a bit unfair to expect a severe challenge and Yorks
glided to a facile victory in a time of 1:50.56 in state record time.  Eric Schultz of Mercer island and
Will Sheeran of Bellevvue earned second and third respectively with versions of 1:53, while Hiron Redman
of Liberty-Issaquah took fourth with 1:54 edging Ryan McArthur of Lynnwood, who along with University's
Matthew Fry, shared the time.
    Freshman Alexis Fuller claimed her first State title by aggressively running the 4A Division 800 Meter
Run in a time of 2:13.69.  Lauren Perry of Richland was right on her tail with her second place effort of
2:14 and Rose Christen of Central kitsap came in third with 2:15.  Miranda Ross of Bellarmine Prep finished
fourth with 2:15, while Alisa Puplawski of Newport-Bellevue was a second back in 2;16 as was Sabrina Sears
of Evergreen.  Daryl Phill, also from Bellarmine, scored points for her team with seventh.
    A look to the side in the field showed Jameson Shirley of Skyview claim a State title in the 4A Pole
Vault with a height of 15-06 in a jump-off.   Austin Sodorff of Woodinville also cleared that height for
second place.  Third went to Joe Thomspon of Union with 15-03.  Dennis Christensen of Richland topped sixty
in the Shot Put on his way to a title in 60-04.  Second went to Jack Scheideman of roosevelt with 58-03
and Carey Campbell of Lakes took third with 56-06.    There was a tight battle in the 2A boys' Shot Put,
which was won by Riley Fraser of Sehome in 6-06.  Justin Peterson of Lakewood earned second in 6-05,
while third went to Jayson Brockelsby of Sequim in a jump-off with Wade French of Prosser at 6-04.
    There was no difference in the clearance of the first four finishers in the 3A Long Jump, which was
decided by misses late in the event.  Eddie Gonzalez earned fisrt with 6-06 that way, while Drew
Thompson of Decatur, Cole jensen of Shadle Park and Grayson  of Mountain View earned second through
fourth in a jump-off yet all four cleared 6-06 for a solid day of action in that event.

Ephraita Relay team


      Fans, who appreciate a one lap event, had much to appreciate as Cherish Morrison of Blaine won the 2A title in 56.09.  Then Ellie Heiden of Kamiakin doubling back after her triumph in the 200 Meters, claimed the 3A championship with 55.18.   With that mark fresh in her mind Bellarmine ’s Hannah Derby set sail in the 4A and won with a time of 55.51.   It is hard to be disappointed winning laurels at the State level but the Scoreboard had recorded times for both Derby & Heiden with 54 seconds & change but the final results credited them with 55.  Still it was much to see and Heiden had broken the record in her division.    The guys provided heavy-hitting action in that event with Marcus Chambers of Henry Foss recording the best time of the day by winning the 4A crown in 47.36.  Wes Bailey of Mead scored in the 4A event with 47.85, while Andrew Brown of Tumwater established a new mark in 2A with his time of 48.35.   The performances in this as well as the distance events had numerous fans and coaches dreaming of a ‘Meet of Champions’ where the best of all divisions would face each other.   It is something worth contemplating and we can only imagine the times that would result.

      There is a trap at times in watching races unfold, where one concentrates almost too much at the end result, when there is so much in the line of contribution from numerous runners.   Such is the case in the 2A race in the girl’s 1600 meters, where Marina Roberts of Kingston forged the lead.  She took the pack through solid splits as she had in Thursday’s 3200 before giving way in the latter stage of the race.  Alyssa Murray did a fine job of apportioning her resources to triumph in 5:02.76, while Brittany Gappa of Squalicum, who had moved into the lead for a spell, claimed second in 5:03.  Emily Pettis of Sehome earned third in 5:05 and Roberts was close behind in 5:06, as she edged Sanne Holland of Cheney.  Lauryn Wate of White River followed with 5:07 as the top six ran times that put them just off the national list.  

       Summer Hanson of Interlake dominated the 800 by storming into the lead early and rolling home alone in 2:13.08.  Her time threatened the 2003 record of Andrea Brown.   Katlyn Mataya of Burlington-Edison and Mia Hodges of Bellingham both ran 2:16 to take second & third, while Madison Hellmann of Sehome finished a second behind them in fourth.

Summer Hanson

       Track & Field can sometimes feel like a three-ring circus with so much happening that one almost feels guilty to look in one direction and not the other and the Washington meet had so much to take-in seemingly at once.    Wenatchee’s Audrey Ketcham triumphed in the girls’ High Jump with a leap of 5-07.

Courtney Jost of Gig harbor (5-06) & Katie Lord (5-05) earned second and third.   Alexandra Lanzafame of North Kitsap and Jenna Dukovic of Mark Morris both topped eighteen in the 2A Long Jump with Alexandra winning in 18-04.    Squalicum’s Gina Flint easily topped the field in the 2A Discus with her mark of 143-09, as Darbi Dobson of East Valley-Spokane took second in 123-10.  In the Boys’ Triple Jump

Luke Plummer of Peninsula (46-10) edged Marcus Ekeya of Columbia (46-01) and Joshua Gordon went 45-03.  There was just so much to take in and a goodly amount of it was of quality too.  Alanna Coker contributed to this high performance day by scoring in the 3A Triple Jump with 40-01, as she too erased yet another meet record along the way. 

       Appreciation should be expressed to the meet officials, who kept the meet proceeding in a timely fashion with an attitude that happily placed the athletes first.   Results were so promptly available that other states ought to note in their methods.   It was such a pleasure to experience what transpired just from an official standpoint but in the end the athlete’s made the day.   From the brilliant distance double of Izaic Yorks to the spread-out quadruple consistency of Marcus Dickson for the guys to the excellence of Amy-Eloise Neale & Alexa Efraimson in the girls’ 800 there was much to enjoy and too much to truly give the proper credit.    If you truly wish to appreciate the overall quality of this grand experience just take a glimpse at the Milesplit national list, where Washingtonians are prominently displayed at or near the top of the lists. 

White River 4 by 400

Izaic Yorks & NAthan Weitz