TACOMA — Kiana Lino didn’t need to wait for her mark to be announced.
After watching her fifth attempt soar well beyond the 40-foot line during Friday afternoon’s Class 3A girls shot put state finals, the Shorecrest sophomore knew it was good.
Lino let out a scream, jumped into the air, sprinted down the right side of the shot put area and belted out a celebratory “Let’s go!”
Then, for good measure, she followed it up with an even better final attempt — and another spirited celebration.
By the end, there was no doubt: Lino was a state champion.
Lino launched back-to-back massive personal bests on her final two attempts and claimed the state crown in style with a winning mark of 44 feet, 10 inches during the second day of the state track and field championships at Mount Tahoma High School.
“I’m speechless,” she said after hugging numerous coaches, friends and family members. “I’m so speechless right now.”
Heading into her fifth of six attempts, Lino was sitting in sixth place with a top mark of 40-8.25. She was more than 1 1/2 feet behind Central Kitsap’s Ho’oponokauilani Fuiava, who was leading at 42-5.5.
But all it took was one massive heave for Lino to surge into first place.
“I just threw it out there and I saw how far it went, and I couldn’t control (myself),” she said of her go-ahead fifth throw and the enthusiastic celebration that followed. “I started screaming. I was screaming my head off.”
The event announcer then playfully asked, “Do you want to know what it is?”
The answer: 43 feet, 4.75 inches. Not only had she skyrocketed into first place, but she’d also surpassed her previous personal best from last week’s district meet by more than 1½ feet.
Lino, however, wasn’t done. She heaved another enormous personal best on her final attempt, improving nearly 1½ feet from her previous attempt just seven minutes prior.
Lino then let out several more celebratory jumps and screams before leaping into the arms of Shorecrest throws coach Mingure Dorjee.
“With Kiana, once she gets it going, she’ll just keep going,” Dorjee said. “It’ll just improve every time. She just needs to hit that sweet spot of where she’s pumped up and where she’s feeling it.
“We (coaches) all knew she had it in her,” he added. “We’ve seen her throw multiple 44s in practice, and to finally do it in a meet is just a whole different feeling.”
As Lino shed tears of joy following her final throw, an opponent came over to congratulate her and said, “Girl, if you keep up with this crying, you’re going to make everybody cry.”
Dorjee said the interactions between Lino and her opponents are nothing new.
“She’ll go out and high-five (and) introduce herself to all the competitors, and then congratulate them if they do good,” he said. “And even if she doesn’t do well, she’ll get out of her down and congratulate and high-five everybody. That’s just the type of person she is.”
This time, it was Lino receiving the congratulations. Among those in attendance to witness her state title was her older brother, Andre, who is a throws coach at Bishop Blanchet. Lino said she trains with him a lot.
“There’s a lot of work that my coaches (did with me),” she said. “It was all because of them. … There’s so many people to thank for this.”
Arlington shot putter takes 2nd
Lino’s heroics meant Arlington junior Julia Parra had to settle for second place in the 3A girls shot put, despite a personal-best 42-8.25 on her final throw.
“There were a lot of girls who were throwing better than me, and I knew that I was going to have to really get after it on my last throw,” Parra said. “And so my coach just told me (to) finish through and get after it, and so that’s what I did. I’m pretty happy with how I did today.”
It was the second top-three state medal in less than 24 hours for Parra, who placed third in the 3A girls discus Thursday evening.
“She did absolutely incredible today,” Arlington throws coach Dan Boyden said. “I could not be happier. We always want more. We want a state title, but you can’t control what other people do. She threw far today. She’s three-quarters of an inch from the school record, which she will get next year. I’m very confident in that.”
Snohomish athlete wins 2 ambulatory races
Snohomish sophomore Humoody Smith took first place in a pair of ambulatory races, winning the 100 meters in 14.29 seconds and the 400 meters in 1 minute, 3.18 seconds.
Smith, who has previously been featured in The Herald, was blinded at age 2 when insurgents shot him in the face in Iraq. He was adopted by foster parents in Snohomish and is a three-sport athlete for the Panthers in wrestling, football and track and field.
“He does not lack in confidence, that’s for sure,” Snohomish track and field coach Dave Weller said. “He doesn’t let anything stop him.”
Shorewood hurdler places 2nd
Shorewood junior Jonathan Birchman took second place in the 3A boys 110-meter hurdles with a time of 14.49 seconds, finishing 0.10 seconds behind state champion Jurrian Hering of Gig Harbor.
It was Birchman’s second state medal in the event. He placed eighth in the 110 hurdles last year.