8 track & field athletes to watch

Devan Kirk | Sr. | Shorewood

Kirk, a University of Washington signee, won the 3A 800-meter state title last year and took second place in the same event at the prestigious Brooks PR Invitational in Renton. His fastest time last year was within 1.5 seconds of the 3A state-meet record.

“He’s got big goals this year,” Shorewood coach Miles Mason said. “He wants to win the state meet back-to-back years, set the all-time state record and continue on to some of the bigger postseason meets after the state meet.”

Maya McFadden | Sr. | Glacier Peak

McFadden, a University of Idaho signee, has placed second in the state heptathlon each of the last two seasons. She also placed ninth in the heptathlon last spring at the prestigious Arcadia Invitational in California. In last year’s Class 3A state meet, she took fifth place in javelin, eighth in the 100-meter hurdles and ninth in shot put.

“She’s kind of a jack of all trades,” Glacier Peak coach Loren Childers said. “She’s a busy girl, especially at practice. She’s got her training regimen where she’s doing like three different events at practice every day, so she works really hard. She’s usually one of the last athletes on the track at the end of practice, and it really shows in her performances.”

Yukino Parle | Jr. | Edmonds-Woodway

Parle won the 3A 3,200-meter state title last year, beating second-place finisher Malia Pivec of Lynnwood by 1.11 seconds. Parle also placed seventh in last fall’s state cross country meet.

“When she steps on the track, she’s going to give everything she’s got,” Edmonds-Woodway coach Rick Fillman said. “She has a very competitive spirit. … She maximizes herself every time she steps out there.”

Malia Pivec | Sr. | Lynnwood

Pivec, a Boise State University signee, has placed second in the 3,200 meters at each of the last two 3A state meets, including last year when she finished just 1.11 seconds behind champion Yukino Parle of Edmonds-Woodway. Pivec also placed sixth in last fall’s state cross country meet.

“She’s really worked hard in the offseason to get a little bit stronger,” Lynnwood coach Duane Lewis said. “I know she’s got goals of trying to finish at least as well as she has the last two years, and maybe this year taking that state championship.”

Taylor Roe | So. | Lake Stevens

As a freshman at last year’s 4A state meet, Roe won the 3,200 meters by more than 24 seconds and the 1,600 meters by nearly eight seconds. Last fall, the sophomore sensation won her second consecutive state cross country title, finishing nearly 20 seconds ahead of her closest competitor.

“As far as a coach goes, she’s definitely a once-in-a-career-type talent,” Lake Stevens coach Jeff Page said. “I marvel every time I watch her run at how good she is and how much better she is than the other competition. It’s pretty remarkable. I’ve never seen anybody quite like that in all the years I’ve been coaching high school track and field.”

Rita Sakharov | Sr. | Lynnwood

Sakharov placed third in the 300-meter hurdles and fifth in the 100-meter hurdles at last year’s 3A state meet. She also helped the Royals take second place in the 4×400 relay.

“She’s a really outstanding athlete,” Lynnwood coach Duane Lewis said, later adding, “She’s got a real burst of speed. She might be the second-fastest girl that we’ve ever had. She’s really got a lift when she’s running the 300 or 400.”

Gerrit VanBeek | Sr. | Grace Academy

VanBeek won 1B state titles in both the 400 meters and 200 meters last year and placed second in the 100 meters, finishing just 0.01 seconds behind the state champion. He also helped Grace Academy to a second-place finish in the 4×100 relay.

“He’s a very determined, dedicated young man,” longtime Eagles coach Fred Howard said. “He sets his sights, he’s got goals and, boy, he works toward them.”

Matthew Watkins | Sr. | Jackson

In last year’s 4A state meet, Watkins placed third in the 3,200 meters and fifth in the 1,600 meters. Last fall, he took second place in the state cross country meet and competed in the Foot Locker Cross Country National Championships in San Diego.

“He’s absolutely got the fire in the eye,” Jackson coach Eric Hruschka said. “When the gun goes off, he’s a fierce competitor and is really tough. He’s extremely dedicated and he’s worked very, very hard. He’s gone from being a good high-school runner to being a really good high-school runner, and now to being a top-tier kind of runner.”

—Cameron Van Til, Herald Writer

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