TACOMA - On a day that seemed it would breed at least a pair of Whatcom County girls' track and field state champions, the only sure bet came through.
Squalicum powerhouse thrower Gina Flint highlighted day two of the Class 2A-3A-4A Track and Field State Championships with an exception to a number of Bellingham and Sehome sprinters and relay teams, which put themselves in possession for multiple head-to-head final-day showdowns.
Bellingham's Olivia Halverson, Lynden's Shelby Jacob and Squalicum's Kirsten Webber, Madi Krussow, Zoe Peterson and Flint entered their respective field events as top three seeds, but Flint was the only one with a gold medal-round her neck at the end of day two action Friday, May 24, at Mount Tahoma High School. She accomplished the feat in an impressive way.
Flint broke the old 2A shot put record set in 2008 by sending her brass ball 47 feet, 6.75 inches. She beat the second-place finisher by more than nearly 7 feet.
"To throw a 47 again feels awesome, "Flint said. "I just hit over 47 for the last time last week, so to be able to do that again, and at the state meet, it feels awesome."
The win marked her third career title, and she'll be going for a fourth Saturday in the discus.
Peterson, Webber and Krussow fell just short of titles in their events, but each placed top four.
Webber wasn't able to defend her pole vault title, settling for second place by clearing a height of 12-00.00. The height did, however, match the previous state record. Krussow cleared a height of 11-06.00 and finished in fourth.
"I'm actually really happy with it," Webber said. "I wasn't sure I was going to do so well, because I messed up my hip, but I'm really happy with it."
Her injury also held her out of Squalicum's 4x100 relay race.
Krussow's fifth-place medal capped a strong year in which she improved last year's state mark by 1 foot.
"I felt like I did pretty good," she said. "I'm happy I met my PR this year, so I'm just glad I did as well as I did all season."
Peterson's state meet was all about breaking through into the triple jump's final flight. She's found herself on the outside of the eight-person bubble the last two years at state, but she finally solidified earning a medal on her first jump of the day.
She posted a mark of 35-05.50 to claim fourth place, earning the Storm five points in their quest to snag a team trophy.
"It's been really exciting, because I have been to state two times before, and it's been really rough," Peterson said. "It hasn't gone well for me. This time I came out, and with my first jump, I made the finals. Last year there was a thunderstorm in the middle of me jumping, but this year it was great."
Peterson credited increased training and her new coaches for her success. She also explained she could have earned a better mark on her best jump if her foot wasn't a foot behind the launching board.
Bellingham's Ellie Kindlund also earned a few points for Bellingham in the triple jump. She finished in seventh place with a jump of 34-03.00.
Lynden javelin thrower Shelby Jacob entered her event as the top seed. She made a 133-04 toss during districts, but her throw of 119-03 Friday only was strong enough to net her a fifth-place medal.
Jacob topped Bellingham's Olivia Halverson in the event, though. Halverson ended her illustrious career on a bit of a sour note.
The state meet spans three days, and events range from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Somehow Halverson's two events, high jump and javelin, landed within a half hour of each other.
Halverson began at the high jump, where she was tied for the top seed going in, cleared 5-00.00 after missing her first attempt, put on custom made shoe bottoms by Red Raiders jumps coach Jon Knutsen so she wouldn't waste time changing out of her spikes, hustled over to the javelin staging area to make three quick throws and then hustled back to the high jump.
"She cleared 5 feet on her second attempt, and then had 15 minutes to come over (to the javelin area) to throw then return," Knutsen said. "She made it back there with just under 30 seconds to spare. I know little a bout jav, but the first two (throws) looked like warm-up throws, which every girl gets warm-up throws."
Halverson's javelin throws topped out at a 106-10 distance, which was only good enough for 10th place. When she returned to the high-jump area, she wasn't able to clear 5-02.00 and had to settle for a tie for eighth. Still, Knutsen billed Halverson as one of the top overall Bellingham girls' athletes to come through the program. She belongs to Red Raiders girls' track and field Hall of Fame in four different field events (long jump, triple jump, high jump and javelin).
"I don't think one track meet is going to define me as an athlete," Halverson said. "I think my four seasons will define me, and I'm proud of what I've done. I'm proud of the marks I've made this year and the PR's I've had over the last four years."
Besides field events, several Bellingham, Sehome and Squalicum sprinters turned in strong prelim times that should make for an exciting finals Saturday.
Bellingham's Alyssa Porter and Sehome's Sarah Dolese finished one, two in the 100 meters, and Dolese and Bellingham's Chantal Tran also finished one, two in 200 meter qualifying.
"Honestly, it's going to come down to that one race," Porter said. "Whoever prepares for it the most is going to be there. It helps (winning the prelims) to know I can go in there and feel pretty confident."
Bellingham's Mia Hodges and Sehome's Brianna Keane also put up the top two times in the 800 meter prelims. Hodges topped Keane by more than two seconds, but Keane pointed out she had "plenty left in the tank." Keane's PR is nearly seven seconds faster than she ran Friday.
Disaster struck for Sehome, however, in the 4x100 relay. The Mariners entered the prelims with the top seed, but the relay team botched a final handoff, sending the baton falling to the track surface. Bellingham's quartet of Annie Waddell, Izzi Roberts, Mary Dyrland and Porter posted the fasted time, and Squalicum's group of Kim Hazlett, Julia DeVere, Lauren Gibb and Allie Kohr, who was a last-minute fill in for the injured Webber, also qualified for the final.
Reach Andrew Lang at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 360-756-2862.
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