YELM — The annual Mountain Invitational tends to bring out the worst in the weather for mid-April’s annual track and field event in east Thurston County — rain, hail, severe winds and sometimes snow — but can still produce the best times and marks among athletes adapting to the conditions.
Other than sunshine peeking through the sparse clouds amid temperatures in the mid-50s for the late-afternoon start at Yelm High School on Friday, there was nothing to suggest weather would be a factor in the athletes’ performances.
Such was the case for Olympia senior Sofia Kane, who made her season debut in her specialty, the 3,200-meter run, and dominated with a winning time of 10 minutes, 59.92 seconds to break her meet record from a year ago (11:04.76).
The Yale-bound runner led from start to finish, widening her lead on Graham-Kapowsin’s Mykaela Thomas with every lap. While it was the first 3,200 this season, it was the first time in her career she has run a sub-11-minute time this early on. The hip issues that plagued her last spring have returned, limiting her training so far this spring, she said.
“I was nervous going into it, but I was happy with how I felt today,” Kane said, “I wanted to try and run a sub-11:05, so I was happy with my time.”
Lakes dominated the boys team race, racking up 125 points, besting runner-up Lincoln (79) in the 16-school meet. On the girls side, Olympia and Graham-Kapowsin tied for first with 79 points, followed by Yelm at 76.
The way Karley Lawton keeps progressing this spring, the Yelm senior looks to ready to etch her name as one of Class 4A’s top 300 hurdlers. Just three weeks ago, she was running sub-51 seconds, lowering it to sub-48 last week, and her time of 46.77 on Friday not only shaved her all-time personal-best finish by almost 2 seconds, but it broke the 2012 meet record time set by Tumwater’s Brooke Feldmeier (46.89). Her time now ranks seventh-best among 4A hurdlers.
Lawton credited her fast start and sustaining her momentum for her record-breaking time.
“The second-to-last hurdle, I saw it was 42 (seconds),” Lawton said, “I was like, ‘You have to get a 46, you have to get a PR.’ I just pushed myself to get a 46.”
Timberline’s Johnny Shields might not have won either hurdle race, but he still had what he called “clean races” in the 110s (fourth, 15.66) and 300 (sixth, 42.76), despite wearing borrowed spikes from teammate Micah Segura-Mitchell after forgetting his own at home. Still, he came within two-hundredths of his time from last year’s sixth-place finish at Star Track (15.64). His 110 and 300 times are season bests, though. Fellow 3A Narrows League rival TJ Randle of Lincoln swept both races (15.22 and 39.63).
“I’m looking forward to a 40 (seconds), like I know I can do (in the 300s),” Shields said. “I know I’ve got it in me.”
Shields and other Timberline athletes will compete at the Larry Eason Invitational Saturday at Snohomish High School, and you can be certain he’ll remember his spikes.
“That’s my top priority,” he said.
AROUND THE TRACK
The Lakes boys 4x100 relay team’s winning time of 42.59 broke the meet record held by the 2004 Lakes team (43.00), and two of the Lancers; sprinters — Isaac Swillie and Xzavier Weston — had a 1-2 finish in the boys 100 at 10.89 and 11.07, respectively. Swillie’s time was two-hundredths off the meet record (10.87), and he also won the 200 (22.67). ... Spanaway Lake’s Quiana Lawrence swept the girls shot put (39-4) and discus (123-0), as did Mount Tahoma’s Tristan Meye in the boys long jump (22-1) and triple jump (45-0). ... Kane wasn’t the only champion for Olympia. The Bears had six total: Molly Peters (high jump), Maia Halvorson (javelin) Mackenzie Andrews (triple jump), Peter Kesting (800) and Cedar Frost (discus). ... Tumwater’s Anna Chartrey (9-0) and Samantha Jones (8-6) went 1-2 in the girls pole vault. ... In addition to its runner-up finish in the 4x400 relay to North Thurston (4:13.09), Yelm’s girls 4x100 relay placed first (51.41).
Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473 firstname.lastname@example.org @megwochnick