Long-time River Ridge track coach Phil Lonborg wondered when his boys 4x100 relay team was going to flip the switch on the season.
Sure, the Hawks had been winning this year, but not with the same times and dominating style that saw the squad capture the last two Class 2A state titles in the event.
In an impressive display of blistering speed, Lonborg received his answer.
The River Ridge 4x100 relay team of Michael Key, Ika Morton, Josh Braverman and Dejuan Frye proved to be the highlight of the 51st annual Bob Shaner track and field invitational Friday at Tumwater District Stadium, as their winning time of 42.04 seconds not only broke the meet record but also set the benchmark as the fastest time in the event for any team in the state this year.
River Ridge’s time broke the old meet record of 42.54 set in 2003 by Yelm, but fall short of the team’s own school record of 41.49 set in last year’s 2A state finals.
The state record is 41.34, established by Garfield in 1986 — a time the Hawks are very familiar with.
“That’s the goal,” said Morton about the 29-year-old record. “I think that time has always been in the back of everyone’s mind. We just want to keep getting better and better as the season goes along. We’ll break it.”
After running the anchor leg of the 4x100 relay, Frye proved he still had plenty left in the tank by capturing the 200 (21.81) less than 20 minutes later, bettering the mark of 22.04 set by Hoquiam’s Jason Anderson in 1990.
That would have been a full day for most, but Frye was far from done, saving his best for last by winning the 400 — an event he won at last year’s 2A state championships -- in 48.99.
“Busy day,” said Frye, who has already committed to Iowa, “but I don’t mind it. Sometimes you have a little too much downtime between events.”
Earlier in the meet, Frye won the 100 for a third consecutive year. He flirted with Carolina Panthers tailback Jonathan Stewart’s 2005 meet record of 10.86, but had settle for a winning time of 10.93 — which proved to be a shade better than Morton, who finished second in 10.99.
The only time Frye hasn’t won the 100 at the Bob Shaner Invite was during his freshman year, when he was the runner-up to Tumwater’s Andrew Brown back in 2012. Brown, who currently runs track at the University of Washington, won in 11.20. Frye finished in 11.22.
“I’ve never won three (individual events) here before, came close,” said Frye, who had won the 100 and 400 last year, and the 100 and 200 as a sophomore in 2013. “Out of all the events the relay means the most, though. We’ve built that camaraderie over the years. We’re out there running for each other.”
Yelm’s James Rodeman took home a pair of first-place finishes, winning the 110 hurdles (14.73) and the pole vault (14-00.00).
Capital’s Ryan Chase was a dual champion as well, successfully defending his long jump crown (22-07.25) while also taking the triple jump (45-10).
Tumwater junior Peyton Russell accomplished the same feat on the girls side with a winning leap of 17-06.75 in the long jump and 38-02.50 in the triple. Russell, a junior, has won both events the past three years.
Additional repeat winners among the female athletes included Capital’s Payton McGuin (800) and W.F. West’s McKenna Moon (high jump).
Capital’s Lauren Pierson (5:16.10) and Kyle Rapacz of Olympia (4:22.57) both triumphed in the 1600.
“I came in as the No. 2 seed, so I thought I had a chance, but you never know,” said Rapacz, who trimmed more than 10 seconds off his personal best time. “The race really set up exactly the way I envisioned. I couldn’t have asked for a better race.”
Pierson closed out the meet by finishing second (11:30.85) to Northwest Christian’s Anna Brooks (11:21.97) in the 3200.
The Navigators also received a first from sophomore Heidi Sowers in the girls 300 hurdles and from Luke Schilter in the boys 3200.
Olympia took first in both the girls and boys javelin with Jona Spiller (127.08) and Kaden Wilson (172.00) claiming the respective titles.
River Ridge also had champions with Braverman (300 hurdles) and Tyrell Chisholm, who won his second consecutive high jump title with a leap of 6-04.
Yelm freshman Frankie Morrill won the girls 100 hurdles (15.68), while teammate Kollin Crown took first in the boys shot put (53-11.75).