By David Krueger Herald Writer
LAKE STEVENS — Blake McPherson, you just won the 41st annual Multi Events State Championship, what are you going to do next?
“I’m going to prom,” said McPherson of Arlington High School.
Moments after winning the decathlon — a two day, 10-event challenge — at Lake Stevens High School, McPherson was trying to heal quickly so he could jet off to his high school’s prom.
“I don’t know if I’ll dance very well,” McPherson said.
After all the running, jumping and throwing that’s understandable.
Coming into the second day of the longest-running decathlon in the United States, McPherson found himself in second place, behind Liberty’s Joshua Gordon. But McPherson quickly cut into the lead with a third-place finish in the 110-meter hurdles, the day’s first event.
By the time he got around to the javelin toss, the eighth event of the championship, McPherson stood atop the leaderboard of the 41-person field. A throw of 199-feet, 7-inches later, McPherson all but had first place wrapped up.
“After that javelin throw, the kid in second place would have had to run 40 seconds faster than me (to win the decathlon),” McPherson said.
The decathlon is scored on a points system, with the score or time of each event assigned a certain points value. For instance, McPherson’s 400 run time of 50.10 — an Arlington school record — was worth 810 points. His javelin throw earned him 750.
McPherson won with a final point total of 6,201, 451 points ahead of Shelton’s Indi Endicott. Gordon (5,735) was third.
“I picked him as the frontrunner, but I didn’t think he’d scored 6200,” said Eagles track and field coach Judd Hunter, who was also one of the meet coordinators. “If you score over 6,000, that’s pretty good for a high school athlete.”
McPherson, who is bound for the United States Military Academy, said his coach has had him training for the state decathlon championships since his freshman year at Arlington.
“My coach basically forced me to do this,” McPherson said with a smile.
Hunter said he encourages all of his athletes to attempt the decathlon. Another of his Eagles, Jared Alskog, finished sixth (5,365) after winning the competition’s final event, the 1500 run.
“It’s the challenge,” Hunter said. “The decathlon is like the ultimate challenge. It’s pretty cool.”
Arlington won the combined team title at the event, which goes to the school with the highest combined point total of its top female heptathlon, a seven-event competition, and male decathlon finishers. Arlington’s Jessica Ludwig — a freshman — finished sixth in the heptathlon with 3,832 points. The combined scores were higher than any of the other schools in attendance.
Stanwood’s Natalie Wyles (4,287) won a very close girls decathlon that featured seven participants. Eva Perry of Issaquah was second, 16 points behind her.
Brooke Feldmeier (Tumwater) won the closest heptathlon in the event’s history, defeating Thomas Jefferson’s Lindsey Dahl by a 10-point margin, 4,437 to 4,427. Ludwig finished sixth, followed by Shorecrest’s Nicole Harris (3,831) and Calea Carr (3,778) of Everett.
Samantha McGee, of the hometown Lake Stevens Vikings, finished 10th with a score of 3,656.
After the event was over, many participants were seen wincing as they were limping around, or simply laying on the ground.
“I’ve done quite a few of these and it is a soreness that’s unexplainable,” Hunter said, noting that all of the warm-ups and cool downs take a toll on the participants’ bodies.
McPherson, who admitted his left gluteal muscle was pretty sore, seemed more excited than in pain. He was thrilled to finish his high school track and field career with a bang.
“It’s a good way to end senior year,” McPherson said.
Well, almost. senior year isn’t quite over. There was still Saturday night’s prom.
“I don’t think he’s going to do a lot of dancing,” Hunter said. “He might do the slow dances.”
At Lake Stevens High School
(Top 10 and local finishers)
1. Blake McPherson (Arlington) 6201; 2. Indi Endicott (Shelton) 5750; 3. Joshua Gordon (Liberty-Issaquah) 5735; 4. Jake Blackmon (Battle Ground) 5713; 5. Drew Thompson (Decatur) 5536; 6. Jared Alskog (Arlington) 5365; 7. Kaid Tipton (Kentridge) 5344; 8. David Durden (Tumwater) 5303; 9. Cameron Law (Moses Lake) 5195; 10. Austin Roth (Olympia) 5022; 12. Kaleb Dobson (Cascade) 4946; 15. Malcolm Manson (Mariner) 4823; 17. Max Gray (Arlington) 4731; 18. Alex Zuvich (Cedarcrest) 4724; 28. Josh Robison (Jackson) 3760; 30. Cooper James (Everett) 3449; 34. Parmvir Rai (Meadowdale) 2686.
1. Natalie Wyles (Stanwood) 4287; 2. Eva Perry (Issaquah) 4271; 3. Megan Perry (Nooksack Valley) 3940; 4. Kristen Drew (Bothell) 3746; 5. Jennifer Harper (Olympia) 3707; 6. Kathryn Wuchter (Juanita) 3620; 7. Marquesa Dixon (Bothell) 3134.
1. Brooke Feldmeier (Tumwater) 4437; 2. Lindsey Dahl (Thomas Jefferson) 4427; 3. Heather Browning (Union) 3955; 4. Catherine Miles (Anacortes) 3890; 5. Jozie Kimes (Cashmere) 3867; 6. Jessica Ludwig (Arlington) 3832; 7. Nicole Harris (Shorecrest) 3831; 8. Calea Carr (Everett) 3778; 9. Bree Oldham (Bellevue Christian) 3703; 10. Samantha McGee (Lake Stevens) 3656; 12. India Smith (Glacier Peak) 3573; 16. Mikayla Ingram (Glacier Peak) 3062; 19. Alexis Sarver (Arlington) 2913; 20. Jessica Miller (Glacier Peak) 2870; 26. Allison Bawden (Cedarcrest) 2325.