PREP BOYS TRACK: Stanwood vaulter settles for second

PASCO — Nathan Simunds knows he has more in him. He’ll have to prove it somewhere else.

Simunds matched his personal record and then nearly went 3 inches higher before settling for second place in the Class 4A boys pole vault competition Friday during the 3A/4A state track and field championships at Edgar Brown Memorial Stadium.

Simunds, a Stanwood High School senior, matched his school record by clearing 15 feet. In his first attempt at 15-3 Simunds had plenty of height but knocked the bar off on his way down. He eventually placed second behind Inglemoor’s Ian Quinn, the only competitor who vaulted 15-3.

“I know I have more in me, as that (nearly successful 15-3) jump showed me. I’ll have to get it this summer,” said Simunds, who plans to compete in all-comer meets over the next several months and then possibly compete in college.

Simunds placed third in the state last year and came into the 2008 meet ranked No. 1. He was outdone by Quinn, who soared 15 inches higher than he had previously gone this season. Jackson’s Garett Ochs and Marysville-Pilchuck’s Taylor Gibson both cleared 13-6 and tied for sixth.

Simunds, who last week broke Stanwood’s vaulting record and won a district championship, said he wanted to win in Pasco but is still happy with his performance this spring.

“I’ve come a long way since the beginning of the season. I’m really proud of all I’ve done in the last couple weeks,” said Simunds.

Another athlete with plenty of pride was Oak Harbor’s Donovan Hunt. In his first appearance at the state meet, the sophomore placed second in the 4A long jump.

Hunt jumped 22-6 and broke his personal record by 3 inches. He did it on his first of six jumps in the event. Instead of getting psyched out by the high stakes, Hunt said he used the same mental approach he had all season.

“It’s just another meet,” said Hunt.

Hunt did get a special haircut in honor of the occasion though. He wore a variation of a Mohawk in which the middle strip was not quite as short as the rest of the hair on his buzzed head.

It may have caused people in the bleachers to notice him, but Hunt said he did his best to ignore the large crowd.

“I don’t really pay attention to all of them,” he said. “I just get zoned out.”

Marysville-Pilchuck’s Andy Abadam and Stanwood’s Kale Schmidt placed seventh and eighth in the long jump. They also competed with Mohawk hairdos. M-P coach Randy Davis said he thinks Abadam, who sported a much taller Mohawk, started the trend.

It was an up and down day for Mariner sprinter Marzell Jenkins. Jenkins, who won the 100-, 200- and 400-meter races at last week’s district meet, won his 400 preliminary heat Friday in a personal-best time of 48.89 seconds. He is the No. 2 seed for today’s final.

Earlier in the day Jenkins was disqualified in the 100 for a false start. In the evening he qualified for the 200 finals.

One of Jenkins’ teammates placed first in the wheelchair shot put event: Mariner’s Malcolm Tatum won with a throw of 18-5.

Everett seeks 3A repeat

Everett began its defense of the 3A boys team title. The Seagulls had some strong preliminary performances in individual events and relays that could lead to lots of points in today’s finals.

Everett senior J Hopkins won his 110 and 300 hurdle heats. Today he’ll try to win the latter event for the second consecutive season.

Hopkins also ran on Everett’s 400 relay team, which placed first in its preliminary heats and finished in a season-best time (42.49 seconds).

“It just feels like this year we’re stronger than ever,” Hopkins, who recently committed to run for Washington State University, said of his team.

Everett sophomore Bobby Rodgers finished eighth in the discus. Shorecrest’s Marek Domanski was the runnerup.

Writer Mike Cane: mcane@heraldnet.com. Check out the prep sports blog Double Team at www.heraldnet.com/doubleteam.

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