By David Pan Weekly Herald sports editor
Meadowdale’s Leah Bennett is back on top.
A week after finishing behind Everett’s Renee Hudson and Oak Harbor’s Raeanna Wynne at the Wesco 3A championships, Bennett took first place in the 100-meter hurdles with a career best time of 15.55 seconds at the 3A District 1 track and field meet May 18 at Oak Harbor Stadium.
Bennett improved her time by more than half a second from her third place finish at the Wesco 3A meet.
“I just got a really good start,” Bennett said. “I knew I had to beat the girl next to me (Hudson). That’s kind of what pushed me. … I ran a better race. I was a little more determined. I wanted to win.”
Bennett heads into this week’s state championships with two goals: establish another personal record and improve upon last season’s 14th place finish.
Bennett has the ninth fastest Class 3A time heading into the meet.
Teammate Haley Suarez also qualified for state with her second place finish in the 3,200 (11:16.72).
Mountlake Terrace’s Nina Penner qualified for her fourth state meet by taking second in the 800 (2:18.82).
“She’s back into her competitive edge that has been missing for some time,” Mountlake Terrace coach Russ Vincent said. “The last three weeks I’ve seen the spark back.”
Mountlake Terrace freshman McKenna Hunt took second in the 300 hurdles (45.99). She dropped 1.83 seconds from her previous best time.
“What a thrill,” Vincent said. “Look what she has done in a few weeks. She has competed very well.”
Hunt goes into state with the sixth fastest Class 3A time.
“Any repeat performance on Friday and Saturday and she’ll bring home a medal,” Vincent said.
Edmonds-Woodway’s Ruby Herbert won the long jump with a leap of 16 feet, 6.75 inches at the 4A District 1/2 championships May 18 at Marysville-Pilchuck High School. She also finished fourth in the triple jump (34-10). Both are personal records.
Warrior coach Rick Fillman noted that Herbert came into the district meet seeded sixth. “Making it to state was certainly a possibility,” he said. “To make it to state, she was going to have to have a good jump. It was a great day for her.”
Coming into what is her senior season, Herbert’s main goal was to advance to the state meet.
“To win districts was a bonus,” Fillman said. “It was very exciting.”
Teammate Djenne Dickens took second in the 200 (24.34) and third in the 100 (12.65). The 400 relay team also moved on to state with its fifth-place finish.
“All the girls had the best meet of their lives,” Fillman said.