The state 1A-2B-1B track &field meets at Eastern Washington University in Cheney has been the home to many championship moments for Twin Harbors athletes.
This weekend’s edition promises to bring more of those moments home for several teams and athletes.
Festivities begin at 9 a.m. Friday with field events and 10 a.m. for running preliminaries, with distance events going as timed finals. By 5 p.m. Saturday, the state champions will have been crowned.
In the state 1A meet, the Hoquiam boys aren’t expected to make it a three-peat as state team champions. However, the Hoquiam girls are set to make a run at the team title themselves. Montesano and Elma will have strong contenders for state individuals champions as well.
The state 2B meet will see several title performers from Raymond and North Beach, with both boys teams considered team title contenders. In the state 1B meet, Wishkah, Taholah and Mary M. Knight all have state individual title threats entered.
Freshman Kyle Hurd, meanwhile, will be Aberdeen’s lone representative in the state 2A meet that begins today at Mount Tahoma High School in Tacoma. Hurd will compete in the boys 1,600-meter final this afternoon.
Hoquiam’s boys have been the Twin Harbors’ best bet in bringing home hardware over the last couple of seasons. HHS head coach Tim Pelan noted it would be tough to get a three-peat as team champions, but it doesn’t mean the Grizzlies aren’t a threat.
“Our girls, however, do have a chance to place high as a team, if everyone performs well,” Pelan said. “As far as goals go, I would like to see our boys team perform well. Everyone going has a chance to medal. As far as the girls team, I think it is reasonable to hope for a top-four placing.”
Hoquiam’s Devin Kelly leads the state in the 200m sprint and is fourth in the 100m, .08 seconds behind Elma’s Ray Stark.
Stark is also a strong favorite in the his specialty, the boys 300 hurdles. His season-best time of 38.21 is a full half-second lower than the second-best 1A mark.
The Grizzlies’ 4x100 relay, with Kelly running in it, is ranked second in the state. Montesano’s team is eighth.
In the girls meet, Olivia Rose is in Hoquiam’s top-ranked 4x200m relay team and is second overall in the triple jump. She’s also in both relays — 4x100m (fourth) and 4x200m (first) — and is in the top-10 spots in the 100m sprint. Emma Skinner, who is in both relay teams as well, is third entering the meet in the 200m sprint.
“Both girls relays should fare well, but as usual, relays take some luck as well as running fast,” Pelan said. “Olivia could win the triple jump. All of our girls could win if they jump well.”
Montesano’s girls will have a good shot at some state hardware, beginning with freshman Jordan Spradlin in the shot put and discus. Spradlin is ranked third in both disciplines, while teammate Myranda Floch has a top-four spot going in in the triple jump.
“Looking at the marks this year for the state meet, this is one of the toughest state fields in every event that I have seen in a long time,” Montesano coach Doug Schupbach said. “Every event looks like it will take a performance better than our district times to even place. As you know, predicting what could happen at a state track meet is very difficult, anything can change the outcome of a race or event from one heat/flight to another. And, if we are lucky enough to make the finals anything is possible.”
Elma’s Stark and Tyson Nauman are in the top-three spots in individual events and are paired with teammates in a top-three relay team as well (4x400m). Stark is third in the 100m, while Nauman is third in the triple jump. Natalie Grant is fifth in the 400m sprint in the girls meet.
Raymond and North Beach have been battling each other in the boys meets all season and both teams will get another chance at each other — and a state team title — this weekend.
Both teams possess a potent amount of state individual champion contenders and it’ll come down to other teammates to add points to their totals.
“I think we’re going to be right in the mix,” Raymond head coach Mike Tully said. “It doesn’t look like there is a dominant team that will run away with the title this year. There are several teams that will be in contention, including North Beach, Asotin, Liberty Bell, and us. It will all depend on which team steps up and performs above expectations. I like our chances of doing that. All but one of our boys has previous state experience, so we should be well prepared.”
“Any of those four teams could win it,” North Beach head coach Bob Wiley agreed. “If we finish ahead of Raymond by a place or two, including the relays, and we get both relays into the medals, we have a good shot. The 4x400m relay finale could determine it all.”
North Beach’s Carson Ketter and Raymond’s Rayce Newman will battle each other in the 100m and 200m sprints. The duo share the state’s best time in the 100m (11.34) and a fourth-fifth in the 200m. Both runners are in 4x100m relay teams as well.
Raymond’s Ally Phansisay owns the team’s other top-ranked mark in the state — 44-1 in the triple jump.
The Gulls’ 4x400m relay team (Elliott Murdock, Hunter Borden, James Hamilton and Alex Vaca) is third in the state this season, with Borden fourth in the 110m high hurdles and Vaca fifth in the 400m sprint.
North Beach’s Caleb Bridge has traveled throughout the Northwest to improve his performances this season and it shows — top-ranked marks in the state in the discus (171-1) and shot put (52-1).
Ocosta’s Alex Herrera owns top-10 marks in three field events — javelin, high jump and triple jump — and is fourth overall in the high jump. South Bend’s Dennis Johnson is ranked fourth in the triple jump this season and Willapa Valley’s Matt Konigsberger owns two sixth-ranks in the 400m sprint and the javelin.
In the girls meet, the field events may be the home to state individual title contenders.
Willapa Valley’s Lauren Friese owns the top mark in the pole vault (10-1), while teammates Alicia Smaciarz, Karli Friese and Jessica Cook occupy three of the five next marks in the event in the state.
South Bend’s Makenzie Russell shares the top mark in the high jump with two other athletes at 5-4, Raymond’s Hannah Dykes is second overall in the state in the triple jump (34-7) and South Bend’s Kathryn Staats is third overall in the shot put.
Wishkah, Taholah and Mary M. Knight will enter this weekend’s meet with state individual contenders on their rosters, with the Loggers boys entertaining an outside chance at a state team trophy.
Wishkah’s Keigan Gardiner is entered in four events and is top ranked in two of them — 110m and 300m hurdles. He is sixth overall in both the 100m and 200m sprints. Gardiner’s teammate, Trey Berge, is top ranked in the discus (137-5). Berge, a 220-pound senior offensive lineman during the last football season, is also entered in the high jump.
Taholah’s title aspirations will come in the field events. Leading the charge is defending championJon Jackson, who is top-ranked in the javelin (176-4). Rachel Cheney is second overall in the girls javelin and Keanu Curleybear is fifth in the shot put.
Mary M. Knight’s Hannah Frost is top-ranked in the discus (112-4) and is fourth-ranked in the shot put.