For Kyler Nygren, winning a Class 2A state long jump title was a good start for his final weekend at Mount Tahoma Stadium.
“I feel awesome, I feel really good,” the Black Hills High School senior said. “I’ve been working hard all year. I’m so pumped about it. I’m speechless.”
Nygren, who will compete for Western Washington University next season, jumped out to an early lead on Thursday at the 2A track and field state championships in Tacoma, and never let it go.
His second jump in his preliminary flight, 22 feet, 7 1/4 inches, turned out to be a winner.
“I was feeling strong, I was healthy, I wasn’t tired,” Nygren said. “I just went for it as hard as I could, and just kind of zoned out and did my thing.”
Nygren breathed a bit following that attempt, knowing he’d at least secured a spot in the finals. The mark continued to hold steady.
“The whole time I was tense that someone was going to pass it,” Nygren said.
Nygren, the final jumper, walked back down the runway after his last attempt, knowing he had his first state title. He looked up to the crowd, smiling, and flashed a No. 1 hand signal.
“I knew I had a chance, but I knew I had some competitors,” Nygren said. “It pushed me.”
Lynden’s Brandon Swarthout, the 2A runner-up, had the best mark in the classification (23-4) entering Thursday, but finished the meet with a mark of 22-4 1/4.
Nygren set his personal best, 23- 3/4, earlier this month at Tumwater’s annual Shaner Invitational.
River Ridge senior Alex Coleman (21-11) finished fourth in the event. He set his personal-best mark, 22-2 1/2, at Oregon Relays in April.
Nygren’s win gave the Black Hills boys — the defending 2A team champions — an early 10 points.
“We’re feeling pretty good as a team,” Nygren said. “We know we have a chance to repeat and get the title again, but we know we have to work really hard for it. Everyone has to compete.”
▪ Josh Braverman thought, for a moment, he might not make it to the starting line to run his prelims heat of the 2A boys 110-meter hurdles.
Before the race, the River Ridge senior was asleep in the stands, after being told his race started an hour later.
He scurried to the field to briefly warm up when he was alerted he had the wrong time, and wasn’t entirely pleased with his finish, noting that it wasn’t his cleanest race.
But, Braverman, the top-ranked hurdler in the state, won his heat. He also set a 2A meet record, finishing in 14.04 seconds. White River’s Devin Liebel held the previous record at 14.07.
“I’m going to hit better than 13.8 tomorrow (in the finals), no doubt,” Braverman said. “I’m going to fix some things up and warm up more next time, not be so stressed out.
“Other than that, I’m happy I beat it. I didn’t know it was a record.”
Braverman, an Iowa signee, is heavily favored to win both 2A hurdles races. He also runs the 300 hurdles prelims Friday afternoon.
▪ Shelton senior Cody Simon was the runner-up Thursday in the 3A boys pole vault. He topped out at 14-6, and edged out Mount Spokane’s Docker Davis with fewer misses.
Mount Spokane’s Cade Neumann won the event at 14-9, where Simon scratched out. Neumann was the top-ranked vaulter in 3A entering the meet at 15-1.
This was the best state finish for Simon, who set his personal-best mark of 15-0 at the 3A South Sound Conference championships at Shelton earlier this month.
▪ Elswhere, in Cheney, Northwest Christian senior Luke Schilter won his second consecutive state title in the 2B boys 3,200. Schilter ran a personal-best 9:28.13 to beat Adna sophomore Austen Apperson by nearly 15 seconds.
Two more runners place for the Navigators in the race. Senior Corban Phillips (10:04.63) took sixth and freshman Noah Phillips (10:18.1) took eighth.
Northwest Christian junior Eliana Summers was the runner-up in the 2A girls 1,600, posting a personal-best 5:21.74. St. George’s senior Madison Ward (5:16.16) won the event.