Sports

Final day of track meet is good for underclassmen and returning champions

Lakes’ Dorien Simon crosses the finish line as Lakes 4x100 meter relay team wins during the WIAA State Track and Field Championships at Mount Tahoma High School in Tacoma, Wash., on Saturday, May 25, 2019.
Lakes’ Dorien Simon crosses the finish line as Lakes 4x100 meter relay team wins during the WIAA State Track and Field Championships at Mount Tahoma High School in Tacoma, Wash., on Saturday, May 25, 2019. joshua.bessex@gateline.com

Too young? Not for Kentwood High School’s 800-meter relay team.

Of the relay team of Jessica Robinson, Faith Marshall, Makayla Williams and Emma Pollak, the only senior in the group is Marshall. No matter; the Conquerors proved ready to win on Saturday at Mount Tahoma High School, taking the state title with a time of 1 minute, 42.5 seconds.

“We’ve been working hard all season so it’s a really big accomplishment for us,” said Pollak, the sophomore anchor on the relay. “Midway through the season, we started to really see the results after we got our handoffs down.”

Having only one senior in the group bodes well for a repeat bid next year.

“It’s really nice, we know we have a solid relay now and we can just build onto it the next few years,” Pollak said.

Even with less than ideal overcast and windy conditions , Kentwood’s team took the title.

“We wanted to just to run our hardest and best, even with the wind and everything,” Pollak said. “Just to try our best and just really smash.”

WASHINGTON FRESHMAN WINS 800-METER TITLE

When freshman MaryAlice Mitchell thinks about Washington High School, she knows it maybe doesn’t have the advantages that a lot of other schools have.

“We’re poor, we don’t have our own stadium, we don’t have our own fancy facilities,” Mitchell said. “I don’t have as much, but I can do just as much as everybody else can.”

That much was clear in the Class 2A girls 800-meter race, which Mitchell won, clocking in at 2:14.08, just edging second-place Lauren Larson from Port Angeles, who finished at 2:14.47.

“Lauren was a good amount in front of me and I wanted to get her,” Mitchell said. “ I just thought, ‘It’s time to kick it in.’ My last lap is almost always faster than my first one.”

It was one of two titles won by Washington High on Saturday, the first since 2009 for the school.

“It feels amazing to represent my school, doing it for God, doing it for my coach,” Mitchells said. “I’m very proud to represent my school.”

TAHOMA’S BRADY TAKES 300-METER HURDLES TITLE

Two days, two titles for Tahoma track standout Alaina Brady. Brady took the 4A title in the 300-meter hurdles, clocking in at 43.27 seconds, edging Kentwood’s Emma Pollak, who finished in second at 44.45.

“I knew it was going to be pretty competitive,” Brady said. “Emma Pollak is amazing. I knew she’d be right on me and we’d be pushing each other. I expected a pretty competitive field. I felt a lot of pressure going in. I knew I was going to have to run my butt off to do well and win. I wasn’t expecting to win going in, I was expecting to fight for it. The entire race, I was pushing and pushing. I didn’t hear anyone right on me but I was running like there was.”

And for the second day in a row, Brady struggled with her start.

“The first hurdle, I jumped over instead of hurdling,” Brady said. “The second hurdle, I stuttered. It was definitely worse than yesterday and it’s something we’re going to look into next year, just fixing my form and stuff like that.”

But ultimately, it didn’t matter, as Brady’s pure talent and athleticism won out over her peers.

“I messed up early so I have to push harder later,” Brady said. “Mistakes happen but you just have to push through it.”

WASHINGTON’S MAIAVA WINS EMOTIONAL 2A SHOT PUT TITLE

It’s been a tough year for Washington High School’s Moeshana Maiava. Her grandma recently passed and her mom is battling cancer. So when Maiava won the Class 2A state girls shot put title, throwing a distance of 41-6.25, she looked up to the sky, in tears, thinking of her grandma.

“I really wanted to make my family proud, especially my grandma up in heaven,” Maiava said. “It feels good to dedicate this to my family.”

Maiava got her state-winning mark on her first throw, which she knew was a good one right off the bat.

“I was still trying to be humble about it,” Maiava said. “After that, I felt relieved, felt good. Just still trying to stay humble.”

CURTIS SPRINTER JONES TAKES 4A 100-METERS

If Curtis High School’s Marlon Jones wanted to head into his football career this fall at Eastern Washington University with some momentum, he certainly accomplished that task, winning the Class 4A 100-meters with a time of 11.03.

It almost didn’t come together this season, as Jones had to deal with a strain in the back of his knee and some pulled tendons in his hamstring that caused him to miss much of the track season. But he made it back in time for the league and districts and peaked at the right time for state.

“I just focused, got back in the weight room, did my drills and pulled out the win today,” said Jones, who plays cornerback.

The injuries haven’t totally disappeared, but for Jones, it was worth it to fight through the pain.

“If I had to do it again, I would,” he said.

LAKES’ DORIEN SIMON WINS THIRD STRAIGHT 100-METERS

The state record Simon wasn’t shooting for didn’t fall, but Simon still won his third consecutive 100-meters in Class 3A, clocking in at 10.71.

“It feels amazing in my last year running track to finish my season off with another gold medal,” Simon said.

Simon said he knew it was going to be tough to knock down the meet record — set by Ellensburg’s Ja’Warren Hooker in 1997 (10.35) — given the rainy and windy conditions.

“It was not ideal weather,” Simon said. “I just knew that we’re all going to be running in this weather. So I just wanted to try my best, get really warm and not cool down too much when I took my sweats off.”

DRAMA IN THE BOYS 3A 400-METER RELAY

Favorite Gig Harbor bobbled the final baton exchange, causing a disqualification for the Tides and clearing the path for the rest of the field — and in particular, Lakes and Simon, the anchor for the Lancers.

Simon saw the dropped exchange and it added fuel to the already hot fire he was ready to run with.

“Seeing that definitely made me more hungry,” Simon said. “I just knew that I was going to have to do some chasing.”

Simon said he pumped himself up before the race.

“I got really angry before the race and just ran my heart out,” Simon said. “I just knew I was going to really have to go. I just got really hungry. I just got really in the zone of running that last leg.”

It was Lakes’ third consecutive title in Class 3A 400-meter relay.

TAHOMA’S ALIYA WILSON WINS THIRD STRAIGHT 100-METER 4A TITLE

All this week, Aliya Wilson’s twin sister Alisha, was telling her that she was going to win the Class 4A 100-meter title.

“She kept telling me, ‘It’s not your turn this year,’” Wilson said with a laugh. “ I was thinking, ‘OK, I’m still going to win.’ So it’s just fun to go back and forth with her.”

Ultimately, it was still Aliya who won the title, her third in a row, clocking in at 12.13 seconds. But Alisha gave her a run for her money, coming in fourth at 12.42.

“I saw her coming up,” Wilson said. “She was in lane two and I could see someone out of the corner of my eye, so I knew I had to move.”

It was one of the final events in the storied career of the Wilson twins in high school.

“It’s special since it’s my last one,” Wilson said. “The time wasn’t what I wanted, but I’ve been struggling with injuries, so all I wanted to do was get out and get my 3-peat. I’m just happy, it’s my last high school meet and I just had a lot of fun.”

Tahoma’s Adaji Osaro-Igwe took second in the event, coming in at 12.31 and giving the Bears three finishers in the top four of the event.

GIG HARBOR’S PELOQUIN SWEEPS 3A LONG-DISTANCE TITLES

When Gig Harbor senior Bradley Peloquin failed to win the Class 3A cross country title last fall, despite being the favorite going in and having won all of his races to that point in the season, he figured maybe a state title was just never going to come for him as a high school runner.

“I was really discouraged after cross country,” Peloquin said. “I was thinking, ‘Maybe this just isn’t going to happen.’ Maybe I’ll get second or third again.”

But thanks to a dominant effort over the weekend, Peloquin will leave with not only one, but two titles to his name, winning the 1,600-meters on Thursday and taking the 3,200-meter title on Saturday with a time of 9:01.84.

“It’s made it that much sweeter, when it didn’t go well in cross country,” Peloquin said. “It’s made me appreciate it a lot. I feel really blessed.”

Kamiakin’s Ryan Child tried to keep pace with Peloquin for the first half of the race ahead of the pack, but eventually ran out of gas and fell back.

“The fourth or fifth lap, I noticed he was starting to drop off,” Peloquin said. “I kind of felt like I was in the clear at that point and wanted to just keep pushing, keep the same pace.”

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