By David Krueger Herald Writer
MARYSVILLE — The rain held off, but the Tahoma track and field teams did not.
The Bears won the boys and girls titles at the 11th annual Tomahawk Classic Saturday afternoon at Marysville Pilchuck High School, with the boys’ team score almost doubling second-place Lakewood and the girls holding off charges from Issaquah and Marysville Pilchuck.
It was a race for second place in the boys events, with Lakewood (88 points) finishing ahead of Issaquah (73.5). Tahoma finished the meet, which featured a heavy wind throughout, with 153 points.
“We didn’t aim for it at all,” said Lakewood head coach Jeff Sowards of the Cougars’ second-place finish. “We came here with some specific events that we wanted to get some things done in. We didn’t have kids in certain events that we normally would. So yeah, we’re real pleased with the kids.”
Lakewood, a 2A school, led off the meet with a win in the 3,200-meter relay, and followed that with a victory by Andrew Stich in the 110 hurdles.
Tahoma’s Riley Campbell got the Bears’ first win in the 1,600, but the Cougars remained close to Tahoma for the first half of the meet. Stich (41.30) and teammate Ryan Whitehead (42.84) finished second and third in 300 meter hurdles to help the Cougars temporarily overtake Tahoma 62-61 through 10 events.
The Bears reclaimed the lead with two top-five finishers in the next two events, the 800 run and javelin throw.
“I know they announced us in the lead a couple of times, but we didn’t have horses enough to run with them at the end,” Sowards said.
Tahoma all but clinched the victory with a top-three sweep in the discus throw. Lakewood’s Tristan Nelson was fourth with a throw of 135 feet, 11 inches.
Sowards said the meet provides good competition, and allows teams to try different strategies in some events, like the distance races.
It’s also a good place to ease athletes back from injuries.
One of those was Lakewood’s Justin Peterson, who was in his first competition since injuring his hamstring in the Cougars’ home meet against Archbishop Murphy on March 21. Peterson, last year’s state champion in the triple jump, won the high jump event with a leap of six feet.
“It was nice to have Justin Peterson back in the high jump,” Sowards said. ” … He’s not quite at full throttle yet, but he had a pretty severe hamstring pull and it’s nice to see him back.”
Marysville Pilchuck’s Austin Joyner beat out Graham-Kapowsin’s Kevin Dudley by three hundredths of a second in the 100 dash and Deion Stell finished first in the 200 for the host team, which finished with 58 points, good enough for a fifth-place tie with Squalicum. The Tomahawks also got a victory in the 400 relay finishing in 44.06 seconds.
Stanwood (39) finished eighth, led by its long-jump champion Trevor Shaw, who went a distance of 20 feet. Mountlake Terrace (34.5) finished right behind the Spartans, fueled by a pair of individual champions. Blake Fernandez won the triple jump and Beau Kennedy took the title in the javelin toss. Kennedy’s throw of 171 feet, 3.5 inches was 16 feet farther than the next highest throw.
The Tahoma girls finished ahead of Issaquah and Marysville Pilchuck, which finished third. The Tomahawk girls had one individual champion, Lacey McLean, who won the 300 hurdles event in 48.37 seconds.
Marysville Pilchuck’s Amanda Klep finished four hundredths of a second behind Gabrielle Gevers of Issaquah (13.20) in the 100 dash. Gevers also finished just ahead of Klep in the 200.
“(Klep) competes like gangbusters all the time,” Marysville Pilchuck head coach Randy Davis said. “She had great races against really fast sprinters today. She kind of gets a lot of her strength from the fact that her teammates support her and cheer her on. And she does the same for them.”
Davis was very happy with his team’s performance, both on the boys and girls sides. He knew his team might be a little tired going in — they have competed in four meets in the last 10 days — but Davis said his team rallied to put on good performances all over their home field.
“Overall, completely (pleased),” Davis said. “They competed well. I can’t remember a disappointing performance. That’s how I look at it. Where the points fall, the points fall.”
King’s (76), the only 1A team at the meet, finished three points behind the Tomahawks. The Knights got wins from Karly Hibbard in the shot put and their 800 relay team. Kacey Kemper got second in 1,600 and 800, where Cascade Conference rival Ariel Jensen of Lakewood edged her out by one-hundredth of a second in the closest race of the day.
“The time wasn’t nearly as indicative of what shape she was in today. With the wind as strong as it was, the strategy changed,” Sowards said. “Instead of going for a time that we had planned, we just went to see if she could win the thing.”
Snohomish and Oak Harbor finished fifth and sixth, respectively. The Panthers got a win in the high jump by Kellianna Cavin while Oak Harbor got victories from Alex Laiblin in the 3,200 and the Wildcats’ 3,200 relay team of Lauren Vagt, Hayley Lundstrom, Marisa Sligh and Ashley Everett.
Along with Jensen, Skylar Cannon won an event for the Cougars, with a throw of 117 feet, 11 inches in the javelin. Lakewood finished eighth with 33 points.
The Tomahawk Classic is an annual track and field event held at Marysville Pilchuck High School and boasts 12 teams from around the state from the 1A classification all the way up to 4A competing together.
Davis said that performing at home definitely motivates his players to perform at a higher level. And while Davis says he enjoys putting on the Classic, he’s also happy when the final event is completed.
“It’s exhaustingly fun, let’s put it that way,” Davis said. “You worry, because track and field has so many little nuances to it, and so many little details. You really rely on people stepping up to help volunteer. For years now, our parents have stepped up. It’s really kind of fun because it’s a community-type thing.
“It’s a track family.”