BELLINGHAM - What the smile on her face didn't say, a fan from the south stands and Civic Stadium made abundantly clear by yelling, "Welcome back Kendra!"
Welcome back indeed.
Sehome junior Kendra Thomas showed she is back from a hip injury on Friday, May 17, at the Class 2A District 1/2 Meet at Civic Stadium, getting a strong start in the 4x100 relay to help the Mariners claim victory and set a new meet record in the process with a time of 48.72 seconds.
""I was a little worried about letting down my team," Thomas said. "That was my biggest worry, and setting a new record means I'm fully healed."
Bellingham ended up grabbing the overall team title on the girls' side with 128 points to Sehome's 123.5 in a competition that came down to the last race of the day.
The Red Raiders' slim lead entering the final race seemed to roll away, when Bellingham dropped the baton on the first exchange of the 4x400 relay, but the Red Raiders managed to corral it inside the zone and were ruled not to have interfered with any other teams. Not only did Bellingham recover the baton, it recovered to place third in the event to earn a trip to next weeks' 2A State Championships in Tacoma and lock up the team title.
Sehome claimed the boys' team championship with 133 points, beating out second-place Squalicum's 102.
As nice as the team titles were, Friday was all about qualifying for state.
With only three berths to state this year, a large number of individuals and relays capable of placing at state won't get that opportunity, as they fell victim to what is traditionally one of the toughest districts in the state.
Thomas did her best to make sure that the Mariners 4x100 relay wouldn't be one of those victims, as she made up most of the stagger on Squalicum, which was running one lane outside Sehome.
"I always like corners more than straights," Thomas said. "When I run a corner, my goal is just to beat the girl in front of me. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, it doesn't. The Squalicum girl is an amazingly fast runner. To be close to her when I handed off was cool."
Particularly considering Thomas hadn't competed in any big meets since the April 13 Larry Eason Invitational and had seen limited action due to her sore hip.
"We don't really know what it was," Thomas said. "I had this hip pain, so I went to a chiropractor. My pelvis had shifted a little bit, which strained my muscle, which messed up my hip."
But on Friday, Thomas proclaimed herself pain free and ready to help her team make a strong run at state.
Thomas wasn't the only Whatcom County athlete to overcome an ailment and turn in a strong showing on Friday.
Lynden's girls' 4x200 relay ended up holding off Squalicum to finish third and earn a trip to state thanks in part to a strong third leg from Kat Webb.
"Kat Webb had a really strong leg and got us ahead, which is great, because she had a virus and was in the hospital this week," Lions anchor leg runner Maddi Hommes said. "Seeing her coming in and getting that little bit of a lead really helped inspire me to run that corner strong."
Despite a strong corner, Hommes said she could see Squalicum coming on strong out of the corner of her eye near the finish.
"I'm just so competitive, and I wanted to give everything I had for my team, especially, like I said, for Kat," Hommes said. "This whole year we've had a lot of injuries or sickness. It's been our dream this whole year to get to state. We knew this was the final straw, and this is what it came down to."
Hommes said she knew she earned third place and a trip to state with her lean, and she immediately buried her face in hands.
"Tears of joy," she said.
Hommes also had reason be happy later in the meet, finishing second to Gina Flint in the discus with a throw of 110 feet, 10 inches to earn a trip to state. Flint, meanwhile set a new meet record with her throw of 168 feet.
"That throw was my first one of the finals," Hommes said. "I just got back from the 4x1, and I was nice and loose and warm. My coach just told me to let it go. I was relaxed and let it go."
Squalicum's Kyle Stallo, meanwhile earned a trip to state with his third-place throw in the boys' shot put after he bettered his personal best in the event by more than 21/2 feet (49-5).
"I came out strong and got into the finals, which, obviously, is the first thing you want to do," Stallo said. "I was down until the very last throw, and I just put it all on the line and had the best throw of my career."
Stallo said nothing felt all that different about the throw, until he saw them marking it near the 50-foot mark.
"I was surprised - surprised in a good way," he said.
It was no surprise to see Bellingham junior Alyssa Porter near the front of the girls' sprint events.
She's been near the top all year, along with teammate Chantal Tran and Sehome's Sarah Dolese.
"We've always been right there," Porter said. "We're friendly and congratulate each other. It's fun, because we got that competition going between the three of us. They push me to be better."
They certainly did that Friday, as Porter won the 100 with a time of 12.51 seconds, while Tran and Dolese tied for second in 12.54 seconds.
"I started a little behind everyone," Porter said. "I was just trying to make up that ground. When we crossed the finish line, all I could do was my best. I'm just trying to prepare for state."
Dolese and Tran tied a second time in the 200, but this time it was for the win at 25.51 seconds, while Porter was third at 25.79.
"We're all just trying to have a good race," Porter said. "Right now, it's all about preparation for state."
Like the three girls' sprinters, Squalicum's Kyler Reed said he expects to "be a busy boy at state," as he qualified in two individual events and was part of the Storm's winning 4x100 and 4x400 teams.
Reed also won the 200 with a time of 22.31 seconds.
"I've been working all season trying to get my corners out fast," Reed said. "Last year, that was what I really had trouble with. I would come out slow and come back down the stretch. It was good to have Luke (Driscoll) from Cedarcrest pushing me. We were about the same speed, and he pushed me really hard."
Reed also got pushed in the 100 by Sehome's Daniel Ziegler, who ended up winning in 11.22 seconds. Reed finished second just three hundredths of a second back.
"It's a really tough district, because you're running against a lot of fast competition already," Reed said. "I'm really excited for the 100 race at state. That is going to be really tight. It's going to be a few feet from first to last."
In addition to having Reed qualify in the 100 and 200, the Storm boys had Stallo qualify in the shot put, Jason Pfannenstiel finish third in the 110 hurdles (15.61 seconds) and second in the 300 hurdles (39.76 seconds) and Patrick Gibson win the 3,200 (meet record 9:05.78). Squalicum also won the 4x100 relay (43.73 seconds) and 4x400 relay (meet record 3:20.63).
The Squalicum girls, who tied for third as a team, qualified Flint in the discus, had freshman Kim Hazlett win the 400 (59.25 seconds) and Kirsten Webber (12-6) and Madi Krussow (11-6) finish second and third, respectively in the shot put to qualify for state. The Storm also finished third in the 4x100 relay (50.19 seconds) to make it to state.
The Sehome girls won all three relays (4x100 in a meet record 48.72, 4x200 in 1:43.51 and 4x400 in 4:00.23) to qualify for state and will send Dolese in the 100 and 200, Dana Ringer in the 400 (second, 1:00.03), Hanna Tarleton in the 300 hurdles (meet record 44.98 seconds), Brianna Keane in the 800 (first, 2:16.66) and Emily Pittis in the 3,200 (second, 11:06.83).
The Sehome boys will send Ziegler in the 100, Austin Rapp in the shot put (second, 50-0.5), Nick Saupe in the 300 hurdles (meet record, 38.81 seconds), Reed Henderson in the 800 (second, 1:53.56), Ryan Otterholt in the triple jump (second, 42-3.5) and Conner Johnsen in the 3,200 (second, 9:10.35).
The Bellingham girls finished second in the 4x100 (49.19 seconds) and 4x200 (1:44.51) relays and were third in the 4x400 after the baton drop (4:06.60). In addition, the Red Raiders qualified Porter and Tran both in the 100 and 200, Izzi Roberts in the long jump (third, 16-3.25) and Mia Hodges in the 800 (second, 2:17.91).
The Bellingham boys, who finished fourth, will send Tristan Hurley in the triple jump (third, 42-3).
The Lynden boys finished 10th and will send its second-place 4x400 relay (3:25.49) and Trent Postma in the 400 (third, 51.01 seconds) to state.
The Lions girls finished sixth and will send the 4x200 relay (1:46.21) along with Hommes in the discus and Kendra Hack in the 100 hurdles (third, 16.08 seconds) and 300 hurdles (third, 47.18 seconds).
Reach David Rasbach at email@example.com or 360-715-2286.
GIRLS' TRACK AND FIELD
CLASS 2A DISTRICT 1/2 MEET
At Civic Stadium
Team standings: 1. Bellingham 128, 2. Sehome 123.5, 3. Burlington-Edison 99, 3. Squalicum 99, 5. Lake Washington 69.5, 6. Lynden 47, 7. Sedro-Woolley 26, 8. Sultan 25, 9. Archbishop Murphy 24, 10. Lakewood 23, 11. Sammamish 18, 12. Cedarcrest 11, 13. Anacortes 7, 14. Granite Falls 1.
100: 1. Alyssa Porter (Bellingham) 12.51, 2. Chantal Tran (Bellingham) 12.54, 2. Sarah Dolese (Sehome) 12.54, 5. Mary Dyrland (Bellingham) 13.09, 8. Olivia Raymond (Sehome) 13.36.
200: 1. Sarah Dolese (Sehome) 25.51, 1. Chantal Tran (Bellingham) 25.51, 3. Alyssa Porter (Bellingham) 25.79, 5. Kim Hazlett (Squalicum) 26.18, 6. Mary Dyrland (Bellingham) 26.79, 7. Bridget Henry (Sehome) 27.03.
400: 1. Kim Hazlett (Squalicum) 59.25, 2. Dana Ringler (Sehome) 1:00.03. 3. Alan Handy (Burlington-Edison) 1:00.53, 4. Lauren Gibb (Squalicum) 1:01.12.
800: 1. Brianna Keane (Sehome) 2:16.66, 2. Mia Hodges (Bellingham) 2:17.91, 3. Kristi Bartz (Archbishop Murphy) 2:18.11, 4. Bekah Jensen (Bellingham) 2:18.98, 7. Maya Norton (Bellingham) 2:30.01.
3,200: 1. RaynJoy Norton (Burlington-Edison) 11:03.02, 2. Emily Pittis (Sehome) 11:06.83, 3. Pascale De Sa E Silva (Sammamish) 11:13.99, 6. Abby Walker (Bellingham) 11:35.83, 7. Leah Veldhuisen (Bellingham) 11:35.98, 8. Alexa Shindruk (Lynden) 11:39.38.
100 hurdles: 1. Tiffany Richeson (Burlington-Edison) 15.22, 2. Sara Wilson (Lake Washington) 15.69, 3. Kendra Hack (Lynden) 16.08, 5. Annie Waddell (Bellingham) 16.73.
300 hurdles: 1. Hanna Tarleton (Sehome) 44.98*, 2. Sara Wilson (Lake Washington) 46.62, 3. Kendra Hack (Lynden) 47.18.
4x100 relay: 1. Sehome 48.72*, 2. Bellingham 49.19, 3. Squalicum 50.19, 4. Lynden 50.79.
4x200 relay: 1. Sehome 1:43.51, 2. Bellingham 1:44.51, 3. Lynden 1:46.21, 4. Squalicum 1:46.41.
4x400 relay: 1. Sehome 4:00.23, 2. Burlington-Edison 4:04.10, 3. Bellingham 4:06.60, 4. Lynden 4:07.87.
Discus: 1. Gina Flint (Squalicum) 168-0*, 2. Maddi Hommes (Lynden) 110-10, 3. Makayla McNaughton (Sultan) 105-01, 7. Jessy Allen (Squalicum) 89-11.
Long jump: 1. Lauren Curlanis (Lake Washington) 16-8.5, 2. Megan Wilburg (Burlington-Edison) 16-5.25, 3. Izzi Roberts (Bellingham) 16-3.25, 4. Olivia Halverson (Bellingham) 16-0.25, 5. Jessa Clark (Sehome) 15-9.75, 6. Lauren Kurtz (Squalicum) 15-6, 8. Camille Christienson (Sehome) 15-4.5.
Pole vault: 1. Tiffany Richeson (Burlington-Edison) 12-6*, 2. Kirsten Webber (Squalicum) 12-6, 3. Madi Krussow (Squalicum) 11-6, 4. Tori Franzen (Squalicum) 10-7, 8. Sienna Takabe (Squalicum) 9-0.
BOYS' TRACK AND FIELD
CLASS 2A DISTRICT 1/2 MEET
At Civic Stadium
Team standings: 1. Sehome 133, 2. Squalicum 102, 3. Sedro-Woolley 71, 4. Bellingham 54, 5. Lakewood 53, 6. Cedarcrest 52.5, 7. Burlington-Edison 44, 8. Archbishop Murphy 35, 9. Lake Washington 33, 10. Lynden 29, 11. Sultan 16, 12. Granite Falls 15.5, 13. Sammamish 15, 14. Anacortes 8.
100: 1. Daniel Ziegler (Sehome) 11.22, 2. Kyler Reed (Squalicum) 11.25, 3. Justin Tundrea (Sammamish) 11.47.
200: 1. Kyler Reed (Squalicum) 22.31, 2. Luke Driscoll (Cedarcrest) 22.58, 3. Tanner Newton (Sedro-Woolley) 22.78, 5. Jonah Jacobson (Squalicum) 23.06, 6. Kalien Hayes (Bellingham) 23.21.
400: 1. Isaac Westlund (Archbishop Murphy) 49.77, 1. Luke Driscoll (Cedarcrest) 49.77, 3. Trent Postma (Lynden) 51.01, 4. Paris Speidel (Bellingham) 51.06, 6. Nick Gallaher (Squalicum) 52.17, 7. Jordan Sterk (Lynden) 53.14, 8. Tyler Ho (Squalicum) 53.16.
800: 1. Kenyon Butler (Lake Washington) 1:53.26, 2. Reed Henderson (Sehome) 1:53.56, 3. Quinn Radbourne (Cedarcrest) 1:55.70, 4. Chris Fredlund (Squalicum) 1:56.73, 5. Paris Speidel (Bellingham) 1:58.02, 6. Trevor Northrop (Sehome) 1:58.75.
3,200: 1. Patrick Gibson (Squalicum) 9:05.78*, 2. Conner Johnsen (Sehome) 9:10.35, 3. Logan Orndorf (Cedarcrest) 9:10.60, 5. Joe Charbonneau (Bellingham) 9:12.40, 7. Nolan Jones (Sehome 9:49.76.
110 hurdles: 1. Seth Noble (Sedro-Woolley) 15.38, 2. Andrew Stich (Lakewood), 3. Jason Pfannenstiel (Squalicum) 15.61, 4. Elijah Varner (Lynden) 15.76, 5. Hunter Hanlon (Squalicum) 15.83, 8. Benjamin Doucette (Bellingham) 16.69.
300 hurdles: 1. Nick Saupe (Sehome) 38.81*, 2. Jason Pfannenstiel (Squalicum) 39.76, 3. Andrew Stich (Lakewood) 40.13, 5. Bryce Sterk (Lynden) 42.02, 8. Elijah Varner (Lynden) 50.09.
4x100 relay: 1. Squalicum 43.73, 2. Sedro-Woolley 43.74, 3. Burlington-Edison 44.26, 5. Sehome 45.23, 6. Lynden 45.28, 7. Bellingham 45.80.
4x400 relay: 1. Squalicum 3:20.63*, 2. Lynden 3:25.49, 3. Burlington-Edison 3:27.09, 4. Sehome 3:27.11, 5. Bellingham 3:27.29.
Shot put: 1. Brandon Pless (Sedro-Woolley) 52-5.5, 2. Austin Rapp (Sehome) 50-0.5, 3. Kyle Stallo (Squalicum) 49-5, 4. Thomas Vazorka (Bellingham) 49-0, 6. Drew Norvell (Sehome) 47-5, 7. Austin Rosas (Sehome) 46-8, 8. Devon Tefft-Meeker (Sehome) 43-0.
Javelin: 1. Hans VanderWel (Archbishop Murphy) 163-11, 2. Brant Johnson (Anacortes) 163-9, 3. Dylan Daviscourt (Archbishop Murphy) 162-2.
Triple jump: 1. Justin Peterson (Lakewood) 43-2.5, 2. Ryan Otterholt (Sehome) 42-3.5, 3. Tristan Hurley (Bellingham) 42.-3, 4. Sam Humphreys (Sehome) 42-1.
High jump: 1. Justin Peterson (Lakewood) 6-1, 2. Ryan Chabot (Granite Falls) 6-0, 3. Ethan Vanliew (Sedro-Woolley) 6-0, 5. Chris Wilson (Sehome) 5-10, 8. Benjamin Doucette (Bellingham) 5-8.
Reach DAVID RASBACH at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 715-2271.