BELLINGHAM - Squalicum senior Gina Flint doesn't remember her turn and recalls very little about her release.
"I just remember it leaving my hand and watching it fly," Flint said.
She ended up watching for quite a while as she uncorked a discus throw of 157 feet, 2 inches on Saturday, April 6, at Civic Stadium during the Birger Solberg Track and Field Invitational.
Not only was that throw enough to give the defending state champion a win by 50-11 over second place and a new personal best by 3-10, it would been enough to win the boys' competition by more than 4 feet.
In fact according to athletic.net, the only high school girl in the nation to own a longer throw entering the day was Valerie Allman of Silver Creek, Colo., at 184-1.84.
"When they measured it, I was pretty happy," said Flint, who has committed to the University of Washington. "I knew it was good when I let it go and I just watched it. ... I really don't know exactly what I did, but I know my release was really good."
Flint also picked up a win in the shot put with a throw of 44-5.5.
"I was feeling good going into that one after winning the disc, but my first three throws were 39, 39, 38," Flint said. Even those three throws would have been enough to give her the win. "After the first three throws and before the finals, I worked on not stopping, because I could feel myself kind of stopping. The first throw in the finals was a 41, so it was getting better, and then I threw the 44-5.5. It was good to get that to get back on track."
Flint was hardly the only Whatcom County athlete to turn in an impressive performance on Saturday, as no fewer than 20 individuals or relays from area high schools claimed event victories in the meet, which attracted 29 schools from throughout the region.
One of the highlight events was the boys' 800.
"Just looking at it coming in, I knew it was going to be tough," Sehome senior Reed Henderson said. "I wanted to go out and run a 55 (second) first lap and take it from there. I figured doing that would simulate a first lap at state."
Henderson's plan worked to perfection, as he ended up running a one-minute second lap and turned in a winning time of 1:55.47. Issaquah Liberty's Hiron Redman was a little more than a second back in 1:56.87, and six runners in all - including Bellingham's Joe Charbonneau (1:57.02) and Paris Speidel (1:57.73), Squalicum's Chris Fredlund (1:58.39) and Sehome's Trevor Northrop (1:58.90) - turned in sub-1:59 times and eighth-place Tom Bradley of Blaine turned in a 1:59.97.
"I'm happy with that run," said Henderson, who was two seconds off his personal best. "My goal is to PR next time out and then keep PRing and keep lowering my time and give myself a chance at the state record."
Another runner capable of breaking some records this spring is Squalicum's Patrick Gibson, who received an unexpected challenge in the boys' 1,600 meters from North Surrey's Ephraim Tadesse.
"He was kind of the wild card," Gibson said. "I had never run against him before. My goal was to go at 600 meters. There was a guy stringing it out about 20 yards ahead, so when I hit 600 I went. I probably got a little anxious on the third lap and ran it faster than I should have, but it was a good thing, because that guy from Canada was right there with me."
Gibson, who is heading to Stanford next year, ended up holding him off to win in 4:16.2 - about five seconds off his personal best, but "still a good time." Tadesse was just over 2 seconds back.
Besides Flint, Sehome's Sarah Dolese was the only other county athlete to win more than one individual event, though several others also were involved in relay wins.
Dolese managed to grab a win in a loaded 100 field with a time of 12.64 seconds. Bellingham's Alyssa Porter was second in 12.76 seconds.
"With a field like that, I had to start getting mentally prepared a couple of days ago," Dolese said. "It helps if I can just let things happen. You can't put too much energy or vibe into it."
Getting a good start also was key for Dolese, who then was able to stay relaxed and finish strong.
The junior also picked up a win in the 400, an event that she said she had only run twice before. She looked like an experienced veteran, though, as her time of 59.63 was the only one under 1 minute.
And, as if that weren't enough, Dolese joined Olivia Raymond, Hanna Tarleton and Kendra Thomas to win the girls' 4x100 relay in 49.77 seconds.
The Mariners also picked up a win from Brianna Keane in the 800 in 2:17.94.
"It's always good to win, but I was hoping for a little better time," Keane said. "At this point of the season, the biggest thing is to just keep going faster and faster."
Teammate Tarleton added a win in the 300 hurdles with a time of 45.67 seconds. Blaise Black's win in 42.75 seconds on the boys' side gave the Mariners a sweep in the event, while Daniel Ziegler picked up a win in the 100 in 11.12 seconds in another event sweep for Sehome.
The Mariners also fared well in a couple of boys' jumping events, as the breezy conditions didn't seem to bother Sehome's Chris Wilson, who set a personal best by 2 inches to win the high jump with a leap of 6 feet.
"I think the wind actually helped me," Wilson said. "I don't like it too hot or too cold. The sun came out when I was jumping, so it was just about perfect."
Teammate Ryan Otterholt, meanwhile, made the most of a little bit of extra time in between jumps to get in some extra practice.
"I didn't start out jumping all that well, but I was able to go out back to one of the practice pits and get in a few extra run throughs, and something just started to click for me," Otterholt said.
That extra worked helped him work out the kinks and beat his personal best in the triple jump by 31/2 inches and win with a leap of 40-9.5.
Squalicum's Jason Pfannenstiel and Kyler Reed, meanwhile, were a part of three winning Storm boys' relays. They joined with Neall Koetje and Jonah Jacobson to win the 4x100 in 44.24 seconds, Fredlund and Jacobson to win the 4x200 in 1:32.24 and Fredlund and Nick Gallaher to win the 4x400 in 3:28.58.
When he wasn't busy winning a pair of relays, Jacobson won the boys' long jump by clearing 20-8.5, while Kirsten Webber cleared 11 feet to beat out teammate Madi Krussow (10-6) and win the girls' pole vault.
Bellingham senior Olivia Halverson cleared 5-2 to win the girls' high jump by 2 inches.
"It's not a PR for me, but it's a good height for this early in the year," Halverson said. "Now the key to get ready for state is to build on this and keep working toward higher heights."
Meridian's Collin Magnusson was the county's only winner not from a city school, as he ran a 6:31.66 in the boys' 2,000 steeplechase.
The win was particularly rewarding for Magnusson, who said he had never competed in the event, which is not a regular in WIAA meets, and had only practiced it "two or three times."
"I was definitely happy with it, especially considering it was my first time," Magnusson said. "Peter Oviatt (coach of the Whatcom Tesseract track club) worked with me to get me ready, and he's going to try to find me another race so I can qualify for nationals."
Magnusson's day was far from done, though, as he ran in the 3,200 later in the day. The sophomore ended up finishing second in that in 9:57.9.
"I knew I was going to have about five hours in between races," Magnusson said. "I just got something to eat - about 1,500 calories - and made sure I got enough to drink and went out and ran as hard as I could."
Sehome ended up winning the boys' team title and finishing second to Inglemoor on the girls' side. Squalicum was third on both sides, while Bellingham was fourth on the girls' side and tied for eighth on the boys.
The Lynden Christian girls were 13th, while the Lyncs were 22nd on the boys' side. Meridian finished 14th on the boys' side and 16th on the girls'. The Mount Baker and Blaine boys finished 19th and 20th, while Nooksack Valley was 24th. The Borderites tied for 20th on the girls' side, while the Pioneers tied for 22nd.
The LC girls were led by third-place finishes from Morgan Van Kooten in the shot put (32-5) and Hannah Wynstra in the javelin (114-11). Meridian's Mimi Meggison was third in the girls' 3,200 (11:58.4), while Mount Baker's Nathan Dunford finished second in the boys' pole vault at 15-0.
BIRGER SOLBERG INVITATIONAL
Saturday, April 6
At Civic Stadium
Team scores: Inglemore 124.5, Sehome 120, Squalicum 88.5, Bellingham 61.5, Cedar Park Christian 54, Marysville-Pilchuck 49.5, Lakewood 32, Marysville Getchell 28, Liberty-Issaquah 26, Kingston 23, Black Hills 22, Cascade-Everett 22, Lynden Christian 16, Holy Names Academy 13, Lake Washington 12, Meridian 11, Sultan 11, Sedro-Woolley 10.5, Northwest 10, Blaine 8, Samuel Robertson Technical 8, Nooksack Valley 6.5, North Surrey Sr 6, South Widbey 6, Curtis 4, Cedarcrest 4.
100: Sarah Dolese (Sehome) time: 12.64; 200: Paige Monson (Inglemoor) time: 26.22; 400: Sarah Dolese (Sehome) time: 59.63; 800: Brianna Keane (Sehome) time: 2:17.94; 1,600: Moira O'Connor Lenth (Holy Names Academy) time: 5:12.0; 3,200: Sally Larson (Cedar Park Christian) time: 11:00.3; 110 hurdles: Allie Kohr (Squalicum) time: 16.34; 300 hurdles: Hanna Tarleton (Sehome) time: 45.67; 4x100 relay: Sehome (Olivia Raymond, Sarah Dolese, Hanna Tarleton, Kendra Thomas) time: 49.77; 4x200 relay: Inglemoor (Paige Monson, Melissa Harris, Brooke Monson, Claire Moses) time: 1:45.89; 4x400 relay: Inglemoor (Brooke Monson, Shandon Lystad, Paige Monson, Alexis Hungerford) time: 4:07.43; High jump: Olivia Halverson (Bellingham) mark: 5-02.00; Long jump: Erin Beezhold (Cedar Park Christian) mark: 16-07.50; Triple jump: Anna Richards (Inglemoor) mark: 35-03.50; Shot put: Gina Flint (Squalicum) mark: 44-05.50; Discus: Gina Flint (Squalicum) mark: 157-02; Javelin: Anna Frodsham (Liberty-Issaquah) mark: 128-06; Pole vault: Kirsten Webber (Squalicum) mark: 11-00.00.
BIRGER SOLBERG INVITATIONAL
Saturday, April 6
At Civic Stadium
Team scores: Sehome 115, Curtis 77, Squalicum 68, Inglemoor 60, Sedro-Woolley 47.5, Liberty-Issaquah 43, Marysville Getchell 40, Lake Washington 39, Bellingham 39, Cascade-Everett 37, Cedarcrest 30, Cedar Park Christian 23, Lakewood 19, Meridian 18, Sultan 16, Kingston 16, Granite Falls 15, Marysville-Pilchuck 14, Mount Baker 13, Blaine 12, Black Hills 10.5, North Surrey Sr. 8, Lynden Christian 8, Nooksack Valley 7, Northwest 5
100: Daniel Ziegler (Sehome) time: 11.12; 200: Ruhan Cain (Curtis) time: 22.97; 400: Kenyon Butler (Liberty Washington) time: 49.98; 800: Reed Henderson (Sehome) time: 1:55.47; 1,600: Patrick Gibson (Squalicum) time: 4:16.2; 3,200: Devon Grove (Lake Washington) time: 9:40.8; 110 hurdles: Seth Noble (Sedro-Woolley) time: 16.05; 300 hurdles: Blaise Black (Sehome) time: 42.75; 4x100 relay: Squalicum (Jason Pfannenstiel, Neall Koetje, Jonah Jacobson, Kyler Reed) time: 44.24; 4x200 relay: Squalicum (Jason Pfannenstiel, Chris Fredlund, Jonah Jacobson, Kyler Reed) time: 1:32.24: ; 4x400 relay: Squaliucm (Jason Pfannenstiel, Chris Fredlund, Nick Gallaher, Kyler Reed) time: 3:28.58; High jump: Chris Wilson (Sehome) mark: 6-00.00; Long jump: Jonah Jacobson (Squalicum) mark: 20-08.50; Triple jump: Ryan Otterholt (Sehome) mark: 40-09.50; Shot put: Nick Demars (Cascade-Everett) mark: 49-09.50; Discus: Nick Demars (Cascade-Everett) mark: 153-01; Javelin: Sean Campbell (Liberty-Issaquah) mark: 164-05; Pole vault: Daniel Calhoon (Cedar Park Christian) mark: 15-06.00.
Reach David Rasbach at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 715-2271.