By David Pan Weekly Herald sports editor
LYNNWOOD — The future appears bright for the Meadowdale track team.
The present isn’t half bad, either.
A large freshman class has boosted the Mavericks’ overall numbers to 88, which is a healthy increase of 15 from last year’s turnout.
But what’s just as encouraging is the returning senior talent, including hurdler Leah Bennett. The senior standout qualified for state in the girls 100-meter hurdles, where she finished 14th overall.
Bennett currently has the fastest Northwest District 1 time in the event this season (16.59 seconds).
Teammate Payton Shrum, the team’s top sprinter, has clocked in with the second fastest district time in the 100 (13.34). She also has the seventh fastest time in the 200 (28.55).
All this speed has Meadowdale head coach Tony Perkins thinking relays.
“Hopefully, I can get a couple of the girls relay teams to state,” Perkins said. “I’m thinking both sprints: the 4 by 1 and the 4 by 2.
Meadowdale has more than just speed, though. Junior Haley Suarez figures to be one of the top distance runners in the district. She has the third fastest time in the 3,200 (12.09.0) and the fourth best time in the 1,600 (5:28.60).
“We’re looking to get her to state,” Perkins said.
While some schools have reported lower numbers for girls, the Mavericks have 30 out, which is an increase of about five.
“They’re strong,” Perkins added. “You always want more numbers. I’ll take 30 strong and be happy with that.”
The Meadowdale boys team is a little bit younger in terms of experience and has some promising newcomers.
Sophomore Tay Kilcup posted a mark of 5 feet, 8 inches in the high jump during a dual meet with Kamiak March 22.
“With some technical work with him, we could probably get him to 6 feet,” Perkins said.
Kilcup also finished second in the 100. Teammate Corwin Perkins, a senior, is another strong sprinter, placing second in the 200 and third in the 100.
Here are looks at Edmonds-Woodway, Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace.
The Warriors boys team is shaping up well with a pair of strong juniors in sprinter Jacob Roling and distance specialist Jack Griffing. At last week’s nonconference dual meet against Glacier Peak, Rolling swept the 100- and 200-meter dashes, posting a personal best time of 23.64 in the 200. His 100 time of 11.68 has been fairly consistent this season.
“He has done quite well,” Edmonds-Woodway coach Rick Fillman said.
Roling also ran the first leg of the winning 400 relay team.
So far Griffing is undefeated this season. He swept the 1,600 and 3,200 races. His time of 10:01.60 in the 3,200 was especially noteworthy considering he was running two races that day, Fillman said.
Junior Wyatt Meyring finished first in the shot put with a throw of 47 feet, 5 inches. His throw of 148 feet in the discus earned him second place. The throw, however, is second all-time best for the school. He has state potential.
“Wyatt definitely has that ability,” Fillman said. “He’s hardworking and dedicated. He’s a gym rat for track. He’s been working all summer and winter on his own. He’s doing everything he can to make his goals.”
A freshman to watch out for is Obioha Okereke, who finished third in the 200 with a solid time of 24.20.
Though she wasn’t feeling well, sophomore Djenne Dickens won the 200 and also ran the anchor leg of the 1,600 relay.
“She’s got the true heart of a warrior,” Fillman said. “She did not want to let her teammates down.”
Her only request, Fillman said, was to switch from the leadoff position to the anchor.
Dickens ran on last year’s state 800 relay team.
Teammates Savanah Van Citters and Ruby Herbert are looking strong in the long jump.
Sophomore Haley Kettel won both the 1,600 and 3,200 races and sophomore Victoria Lebesis captured the javelin with an 87-7 throw.
“She’s setting herself up nicely. Her goal is to break 100 feet,” Fillman said.
Edmonds-Woodway has 25 throwers out this year, one of its larger group of throwers in years.
“It’s a very talented group out there,” Fillman said. “They’re working hard.”
The Royals return thrower Andrew Basham, who took fourth place in the shot put as a sophomore at last year’s Class 3A state track and field championships.
Basham injured his knee playing basketball earlier this year, head coach Duane Lewis said.
“It’s wait and see with him. He seems to be working hard.”
Lewis is hoping Basham also will work on the discus this season.
“It would help to have someone with his physical being doing both the discus and shot put,” Lewis said.
All three of the individuals who finished ahead of Basham at state were seniors.
Also back is junior Ryan McArthur, who took sixth in the 800 at state. McArthur is the No. 3 finisher among the 3A field. Junior Jordan Drew advanced to state in the 110 hurdles, taking 14th overall. He’s also been slowed by a knee injury, Lewis said.
The old man of the Royals is senior sprinter Tim Darby, who might be the only senior athlete out for each of the last four years.
A newcomer to watch is McArthur’s younger brother Tyler. He’ll add some depth to the Royals, running anything from the 400 to the 1,600.
Lynnwood’s girls teams is young without much experience. Lewis is looking to sophomore sprinter Grace Douglas, who also plays basketball. Douglas may also run the 400.
“She’s a tough little kid,” Lewis said. “She’s as hard a working kid as I’ve had in several years.”
Senior Nina Penner is looking for her fourth straight state appearance. She competed in the 800 her freshman and sophomore years and the 400 as junior. Penner has the district’s fastest 400 time so far.
Freshman McKenna Hunt looks to be one of the more promising athletes, head coach Russ Vincent said.
Hunt runs the hurdles but might also be a good distance runner.
Senior Dorothy Moore is off to a good start in the throws. She already has throws of 92 feet in the discus and 30 feet in the shot put. What’s noteworthy is that this is her first year out for track and field, Vincent said.
The boys team also has some solid performer with sophomore Jack Pearce a definite contender in the 1,600 and 3,200.
“He’s just been having a heck of a year,” Vincent said. “Things are looking good for Jack.”
Junior Yohanis Tewolde should be strong in the 800 and 1,600. Senior Stuart Milner took first place in the triple jump at the Terrace Relays March 24. He also placed second in the long jump. Senior Ryan Shannon advanced to state in the high jump last year when he was at Marysville-Pilchuck. Senior John Kim has shown promise in the shot put and the javelin.