Lake Steven’s Taylor Roe (left) edges out Eastlake Brooke Mason in the 800 meters during the state track and field championships on May 27, 2017, at Mount Tahoma High School in Tacoma. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Lake Steven’s Taylor Roe (left) edges out Eastlake Brooke Mason in the 800 meters during the state track and field championships on May 27, 2017, at Mount Tahoma High School in Tacoma. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Lake Stevens’ Roe makes history at Class 4A state track meet

TACOMA — Taylor Roe continues to achieve the incredible.

After claiming the Class 4A girls 1,600 meters state title Thursday, the Lake Stevens sophomore sensation won both the 800 meters and 3,200 meters Saturday to complete a historic weekend at the state track and field championships at Mount Tahoma High School.

Roe became the first girls runner in 4A state history to win state titles in all three distance races at the same meet, according to washingtontrack.com.

Including a pair of cross-country titles, the distance-running phenom now has seven state championships.

And she’s only a sophomore.

“She makes the incredible look routine,” Lake Stevens distance coach Cliff Chaffee said. “To have seven of them halfway through her career is incredible. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Roe began by winning the 800 meters in the morning with a time of 2 minutes, 11.09 seconds. Roe was in second place for much of the race, but burst past Eastlake junior Brooke Manson with about 50 meters to go and won by 0.42 seconds.

Roe then turned around to win the 3,200 meters with a time of 10:44.26 in the 80-plus-degree afternoon heat.

After Roe built a seemingly comfortable five-second lead midway through the race, Central Valley senior Kearan Nelson surged past her on the fifth lap. The two runners were jostling for position heading into the final lap, but Roe kicked it into gear and pulled away to win by more than seven seconds.

“Taylor’s a really smart racer,” Lake Stevens head coach Jeff Page said. “She let the girl lead a couple laps and carried her along. And then she just took off and slammed the door.

“She just never stops amazing us,” he added. “To come down here in this heat — considering what a cool, cloudy, wet spring we’ve had, so she’s not used to this heat at all — and be able to do that triple, that’s really impressive.”

Roe has accomplished the distance triple crown each of the last two years, winning back-to-back state titles in cross country, the 1,600 meters and 3,200 meters.

Roe didn’t run the 800 meters in last year’s state meet and was unsure about doing so this year, with it being the same day as the 3,200 meters. But less than two weeks ago, her coaches convinced her to attempt the distance triple.

“My coaches tried to tell me that I could, but in my head I was like, ‘I don’t think so,’” Roe said. “I’m just so grateful for coaches that have so much confidence in me. Without them, this wouldn’t have happened.”

Yet even though Roe’s coaches knew she was capable of a distance sweep, the historic performance left them amazed.

“Seeing her actually do it was more impressive than the way we imagined it,” Page said. “I watch her every week, but I still am just astounded.”

“Just an incredible demonstration of toughness and talent and grit,” Chaffee added. “She challenged herself, and she went out and did it. I couldn’t be prouder of her.”

Roe said that while winning a state title was a dream of hers upon entering high school, she never expected this amount of success — especially in her first two years.

“I was like, ‘That’d be so cool my senior year if I just got like one (state title). That’d be so cool, just getting one,’” Roe said. “So to be able to have this amount of success, I can’t describe it. It’s just amazing.”

Roe will cap her season with next week’s Adidas Dream Mile in Boston, followed by the Brooks PR Invitational in Shoreline later next month.

Going forward, Roe said the key will be staying “humble and hungry.”

“Every year is different,” she said. “There’s new people and new competition. People are always getting better, and people are coming after you.

“So I just have to stay humble and hungry and ready for the next year, because you never know what could happen.”

E-W’s Ely wins 3A girls pole vault

Edmonds-Woodway senior Allyson Ely cleared 12 feet, 6 inches to win the 3A girls pole vault title.

Ely claimed the title by clearing 12-3, then matched her personal best with the 12-6 mark. Second-place Chloe Cunliffe of West Seattle cleared 12 feet.

“It was amazing,” Ely said. “I put in a lot of hard work this season, so it was a great feeling to know that it paid off.”

After taking eighth place in last year’s state meet, Ely improved 1 foot, 9 inches from last year’s season-best mark.

“I think the biggest improvement was improving strength and technique and just knowing how to compete at a high-stress competition,” Ely said.

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