Mountlake Terrace jumper makes big leaps

SHORELINE — Chinne Okoronkwo was a freshman standout at last season’s Class 3A District 1 track and field meet, winning two events and taking second in a third. But the Mountlake Terrace sophomore was even better this year, winning the long jump, triple jump and pole vault to help the Hawks to the team title at Shoreline District Stadium.

Her long jump victory came on Wednesday, and on Friday she added first places in the triple jump and pole vault, both with district-record marks.

Okoronkwo leaped 40 feet, 11 inches in the triple jump, which was nearly four feet farther than the runner-up. It also broke a district record that had stood since 2003 by nearly 3 feet.

In the pole vault Okoronkwo cleared 12-1, and that was more than a foot higher than the runner-up and 1 inch better than her own district record from a year ago.

Winning three times “is pretty exciting,” Okoronkwo said. “I’ve definitely improved this year, and it’s pretty cool to win all three.”

The triple jump is probably Okoronkwo’s best event, “and I also think she likes the triple jump best,” said Mountlake Terrace coach Russ Vincent. Earlier this season she jumped 41-6½ at a junior world qualifying meet in Florida, which is the third-best triple jump in the nation this season, he said. She is also the triple jump record holder for freshmen and sophomores in Washington.

On Friday, Okoronkwo outdistanced four of Mountlake Terrace’s boys triple jumpers, including two who placed in the top 10.

But it is her prowess as a pole vaulter that makes her truly exceptional, Vincent said. “To see a young lady be able to do the long jump and triple jump (very well), that’s pretty normal,” he explained. “But to add the pole vault, that’s extremely unusual. … It’s great for us to have her do what she does. She’s just a great kid and a great worker.”

A year ago Okoronkwo was the state champion in the triple jump, the runner-up in the pole vault, and the sixth-place finisher in the long jump. This year she is taking aim at three state titles, a feat that “is definitely do-able,” she said with a smile.

Okoronkwo was the only triple winner in this year’s district meet, with the top three finishers in every event qualifying for next weekend’s state meet at Mount Tahoma High School. She also helped Mountlake Terrace to the district championship, as the Hawks finished with 145 points, well in front of runner-up Glacier Peak at 119.

Mountlake Terrace also got first places from junior McKenna Hunt in the 100 meter hurdles (15.44) and 300 hurdles (47.22), senior Barbara Biney in the 200 (25.43), and freshman Katherine Gustafson in the 3,200 (11:10.94).

Gustafson was one of two freshmen winners on Friday. The other was Meadowdale’s DeeDee Free, who won the shot put with a toss of 35-10½.

Marysville Pilchuck, with its girls competing in “special-meet” pink jerseys, will send all three relay teams to state. The Tomahawks finished second in the 800 relay, then won both the 400 and the 1,600 relays, the latter in a district record time of 3:59.17. That broke the previous district mark of 3:59.30, which had stood since 1989.

Stanwood had a 1-2-4 finish in the 400 meters with Ali Anderson winning in 58.66. Teammates Madison Yerigan (59.16) and Natalie Wyles (1:01.90) were second and fourth, with Yerigan also claiming a spot at state.

Team scores: 1. Mountlake Terrace 145, 2. Glacier Peak 119, 3. Shorecrest 98, 4. Stanwood 78, 5. Marysville Pilchuck 72, 6. Marysville Getchell 47, 7. Shorewood 44, 8. Meadowdale 42, 9. Oak Harbor 40.5, 10. Everett 9, 11. Ferndale 7.5.

State qualifiers: 100 hurdles—1. McKenna Hunt (MLT) 15.47; 2. Maya McFadden (GP) 16.15; 3. Sophia Viviano (SC) 16.43. 100—1. Wurrie Njadoe (SC) 12.20; 2. Barbara Biney (MLT) 12.25; 3. Amanda Klep (MP) 12.55. 1,600—1. Heidi Smith (GP) 5:07.87; 2. Katherine Gustafson (MLT) 5:08.40; 3. Megan Davis (GP) 5:08.75. 400 relay—1. Marysville Pilchuck 49.28; 2. Marysville Getchell 50.52; 3. Glacier Peak 50.86. 400—1. Ali Anderson (ST) 58.66; 2. Madison Yerigan (ST) 59.16; 3. Bri King (MP) 59.30. 300 hurdles—1. Hunt (MLT) 47.22; 2. Sydney Mendenhall (GP) 47.61; 3. Viviano (SC) 47.63. 800—1. Davis (GP) 2:17.28; 2. Smith (GP) 2:17.74; 3. Jessica Ong (MLT) 2:19.44; 200—1. Biney (MLT) 25.43; 2. Klep (MP) 26.05; 3. Bianca Acuario (MP) 26.53. 3,200—1. Gustafson (MLT) 11:10.94; 2. Alex Laiblin (OH) 11:11.54; 3. Sophia Nelson (MLT) 11:15.44. 800 relay—1. Shorecrest 1:44.78; 2. Marysville Pilchuck 1:45.09; 3. Marysville Getchell 1:46.32. 1,600 relay—1. Marysville Pilchuck 3:59.17; 2. Stanwood 4:02.23; 3. Glacier Peak 4:06.06. High jump—1. Madison Yerigan (ST) 5-07; 2. Njadoe (SC) 5-02; 3. Natalie Wyles 5-00 (ST. Long jump—1. Chinne Okoronkwo (MLT) 18-06; 2. Biney (MLT) 17-09.50; 3. Ali Anderson (ST) 17-06.25. Triple jump—1. Mikayla Ingram (GP) 37-01.50; 2. Biney (MLT) 36-04; 3. Julia Heichel (ST) 35-01. Shot put—1. DeeDee Free (Mead.) 35-10.50, 2. Hailee Malins (MLT) 34-04; 3. Ndey Sonko (Mead.) 32-09.25; Discus—1. Malins (MLT) 104-09; 2. Onyie Chibuogwu (SC) 102-11; 3. Sonko (Mead.) 100-01. Javelin—1. Aiko Mizumori-Canfield (SC) 119-03; 2. Haley Strowbridge (ST) 119-02; 3. Katherine Taylor (SC) 117-02. Pole vault—1. Okoronkwo (MLT) 12-01; 2. Annika Dayton (GP) 11-00; 3. Kelsey Southwick (E) 10-00.

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