Squalicum 4x400 wins long-awaited gold

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDMay 26, 2013 

TACOMA - Squalicum seniors Kyler Reed and Jason Pfannenstiel had been working toward the 4x400 final Saturday, May 25, for three years.

Teammates Chris Fredlund and Neall Koetje turned out to be the perfect teammates to make the dream of a relay title a reality.

Reed and Pfannenstiel took sixth as sophomores, third as juniors with Fredlund, and this year the group put a championship run together with Koetje.

"(Storm coach Ted) Flint kept saying the whole day, 'As long as Jason goes out with a 50, it's all over,'" Reed said. "I think he came through in about a 49, so it just feels good to be able to put everything together and run so fast."

Pfannenstiel helped Squalicum gain a strong start, Fredlund moved the team up to second, Koetje helped Squalicum capture the lead and Reed easily held off second-place White River, finishing in a time of 3 minutes, 21.34 seconds to win gold at the Class 2A-3A-4A Track and Field State Championships.

"The handoff went well," said Fredlund of his exchange with Pfannenstiel. "I just wanted to turn that corner as hard as I could. I knew if I could turn that corner on the back stretch I'd catch up. The team got a pretty good time, and I'm happy."

Koetje, the newest addition to the team, built Squalicum a huge lead during the first 150 meters of his leg. Fredlund handed him the baton neck-and-neck with second place, and Koetje quickly left his closest challenger in his wake.

"Usually I just try to go as fast as I can the first 300 meters so, and then coast off that, and it works," Koetje said. "Usually I'm just trying to keep the lead in my leg and hand it off to Kyler, and if we're in the lead with Kyler, I mean ..."

Reed, who also ran in the 100 and 200 meter finals and 4x100 relay, displayed his speed in the anchor leg.

"It's been a long tome coming these past three years," Pfannenstiel said. "We started sixth, then we got third and now first feels really good."

Reach Andrew Lang at andrew.lang@bellinghamherald.com or call 360-756-2862.

Reach DAVID RASBACH at david.rasbach@bellinghamherald.com or call 715-2271.

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