Olympia\'s Klein captures high jump championship
BY GAIL WOOD
TACOMA -- Olympia\'s Sara Klein was nearly flawless in the high jump Friday, making her first four jumps to win the girls 4A West Central District high jump championship.
But her steps were off in the 110-meter hurdles and she barely avoided disqualification for stepping into another lane.
Klein, hoping to qualify for state in four individual events, had the right steps in the long jump to place third with a leap of 17 feet and 51/2 inches, highlighting the first day of the two-day district meet that concludes today at Mount Tahoma High School.
\"For the most part, we did what we\'re supposed to do,\" Olympia girls coach Cris Violette said. \"All we\'re trying to do is advance as many as we can.\"
Besides Klein advancing in three events with the triple jump left for her today, the Bears advanced freshman Jill Lahmann in the 100, junior Joana Houplin in the 200, junior Susie DeBord in the 300 hurdles, junior Cheri Watson in the 800 and freshman Annie Dear in the 3,200.
Violette hasn\'t made winning a state championship a team goal. Instead, he\'s emphasized doing their best in each event.
\"It\'s a ton of pressure to feel you have to get there and win it,\" said Violette, who remembers carrying that load himself as a high schooler. \"The key is taking care of what you can control -- things like hitting the board on your jumps and making your handoffs in the relays.\"
At Friday\'s 4A girls meet, there were three finals in the field events (high jump, long jump, and discus) and one in the running events (3,200). In the boys meet, there were four finals in the field events (pole vault, long jump, shot put and javelin) and one in the running events (3,200).
There were eight preliminaries in the boys meet and nine in the girls meet.
Olympia\'s 800 relay struggled with a handoff yet still won its heat and advances to today\'s finals with the third-fastest qualifying time.
\"We did it the hard way,\" Violette said.
Klein thought she was going to get disqualified in the preliminaries of the 100-meter hurdles when she clipped the fourth hurdle, lost her balance and began falling into another lane. But she regained her balance, avoided a DQ and placed third in 15.43, a tenth out of first. She\'ll be among the favorites for today\'s finals.
\"My start was slow and my end was really bad,\" Klein said, summarizing her race. \"My middle of the race was good.\"
In the high jump, Klein cleared 5-0, 5-2, 5-4 and 5-5 on her first attempt before barely missing on her three attempts at 5-6. Klein won at 5-5, beating Decatur\'s Amanda Stewart, last year\'s state champion who has gone 5-9. But Stewart also no-heighted at a Pasco meet earlier this spring.
\"She\'s had some good meets and some bad meets,\" Klein said.
Olympia\'s young-and-speedy girls 400 relay won its preliminary heat in 49.00, edging Skyview by a tenth of a second. It could be the start of a dynasty as that relay is made up of two freshmen (Lahmann and Laurel Stormans), a sophomore (Tina Schicchi) and a junior (Houplin).
Olympia\'s Kathryn Mertens placed ninth in the 400, missing eighth and a trip to state in the event by one-hundredth of a second in 59.61. Gig Harbor freshman Brittany Schroeder edged Mertens in 59.60.
Gig Harbor is expected to be among the teams challenging for a state championship along with Olympia.
Olympia\'s Casey Stevick and Bryan Lankow both advanced to state in the field events. Stevick qualified in the long jump, placing seventh with a jump of 20-10. Stevick hit his best jump of the day on his second attempt, but after going over 20 feet on all three of his preliminary jumps he didn\'t think he\'d advance to finals.
\"I thought I was going to have go over 21 feet,\" said Stevick, who has gone 21-21/2. \"I had to wait and see if I advanced.\"
Gig Harbor\'s Toney Henderson won the long jump at 24-0, breaking the district meet record of 23-1 set by Sequim\'s Shawn Kendall.
Stevick, a junior, is going to state for the first time. Running against fast company, Stevick didn\'t advance in the 110-meter hurdles on Friday.
Lankow uncorked his best throw of the day in the javelin on his last attempt, letting loose with a 159-4 to qualify. Until then, he was in 13th place with a throw of 142 feet.
\"That\'s Bryan\'s way,\" Olympia boys coach Scott Ditter said. \"He has a very calm demeanor. He stayed calm.\"
Shelton\'s Sean Carnahan placed seventh in the javelin at 157-4, a personal best. Battle Ground\'s Vance Murphy won at 176-7.
Shelton\'s Rachael Forbis advanced to state in the long jump with a personal-best 16-41/4 to place eighth.
In a sizzling boys 3,200 meters, Capital\'s Jordan Swarthout placed fourth in 9:20.3, four seconds behind the winning time of Michael Chinchar of Kentwood.
Olympia\'s Ben Dear was sixth in 9:23 and Capital\'s Graydon Manning placed eighth in 9:26. The top 12 placers finished in less than 9:40.
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