LYNDEN -- Meridian senior Kaleb Heezen has no problem proving to college football coaches that he now has healthy shoulders. He just throws the javelin.
Heezen has no trouble shouldering that burden, as he demonstrated with his career best of 173 feet, 7 inches in the annual Lynden Bedlington Twilight Invitational at Rollie DeKoster Stadium on Friday night, March 21.
"I've gone through physical therapy all winter since I separated both shoulders in the second game of the football season," said Heezen, who was third in the javelin at last year's Class 1A state meet. "I was under a doctor's care and played throughout football season (making second-team Class 1A all-state), because I was able to handle the pain. Now my shoulders feel real good, just a lot better."
Was he pleased with his mark?
"I was happy but to be honest I wanted more," said Heezen, who said he is talking with the football coach at a small Midwest college. "My goal is to break Denver Vander Yacht's school record of 186 feet and change. That would really make me feel good."
The girls' highlight was a high-caliber pole vault among three state medalists last season. Squalicum's Kirsten Webber won at 12 feet, tying her meet record. Teammate Madi Krussow also cleared 12 feet, but was second on fewer misses. Blaine's Olivia Adams was third at 11-9 - one of the few meets in any division this season in which the third-place finisher will vault 11-9.
Whatcom County girls swept all seven field events in the 15-school meet, including a highly promising 17-5 long jump by Lynden Christian freshman Hannah Rusnak.
The other field winners were LC's Morgan Van Kooten (36-91/4 shot put) and Madison Weg (5-2 high jump), Lynden's Shelby Jacob (meet record 129-11 javelin throw), and Sehome's Bodie Miller (105-0 discus) and Jessa Clark (34-41/4 triple jump).
Every Whatcom County Northwest Conference girls' team had a winner (only Ferndale was not entered), thanks to a diversity of solid efforts on the track.
In the sprints, the local winners were defending Class 2A state champion Alyssa Porter of Bellingham in the 100 meters at 13.2 seconds and junior teammate Mia Hodges in the 400 at 61.2 seconds. Sehome's Sarah Dolese was an impressive runner-up in both the 100 in 13.12 and the 200 in 26.19 behind a 25.96 by North Mason's Tegan Daviscourt.
"I'm switching to shorter distances this season," said Hodges, who was fourth at Class 2A state in the 800 last year. She received fine competition Friday from 400 runner-up Dana Ringler of Sehome in 62.37.
"I'd like to break my personal best (58 seconds), but I'm not going to get stressed out this year," said Hodges, who felt she was sometimes too intense last season. "I figure running shorter distances will help me in college soccer."
In the longer distances, winners were Mount Baker's Chynna Phan with 2:24.26 in the 800 meters, Meridian's McKenzie Roque with 5:34.53 in the 1,600 and defending state 2A champion Emily Pittis of Sehome with 11:20.47 in the 3,200.
"We wanted Emily to run 85-second quarters and that's just what she did," Sehome coach Kevin Ryan said. "She's right where she wants to be."
In the hurdles, Squalicum's Allie Kohr won the 100s at 16.09 and Blaine's Kieya Villars took the 330s in 50.48.
"With the headwind and the cold, I'm OK with that," Kohrs said. "My goal is to place at state and break 15 seconds," (which would almost surely land her on the podium).
Bellingham won the 4x200 girls' relay in 1:50.70 with Emma Brice, Katie Linton, Hodges and Hattie North. Meridian claimed the 1,600 sprint medley in 4:33.09 with Dena Andrushenko, Taylor Lunde, Payton Lunde and Janessa Murphy. The 4x400 wasn't posted at press time.
On the boys' side, Lynden's Trent Postma said he is trying to master the tricky combination of speed and endurance in the 400, which he won in 53.80.
"I'm using this to improve in football," said Postma, who won all sorts of honors as a junior and hopes to be recruited as a senior, although his prime goal is to help Lynden win its sixth Class 2A title in nine seasons. "I feel I'm making a good progression. I got to state in the 400 as a sophomore, but I didn't place."
In the hurdles, there was one local winner as Bellingham's Benjamin Doucette ran 15.83 in the 110s. In the distances, Sehome's Trevor Northrop won the 800 in an unofficial 1:59.1 and Meridian's Collin Magnuson claimed the 1,600 in 4:34.03. The 3,200 wasn't posted at press time.
"I see myself as getting to state for the first time," Northrop said. "A good time for me would be a sub-1:54. I just keep chuggin' along, working hard and seeing how everything works out. The biggest lesson I've learned so far is just to run my own race, to run against myself."
In the field, Nooksack's Aaron Bosscher won the high jump at 6-0, Bellingham's Tristan Hurley took the triple jump at 41-11, Sehome's Drew Norvell claimed the shot put with a fine early season 48-113/4 and Squalicum's Joel Jensen won the discus at 140-7. The long jump and pole vault ran too late for deadline.
Lynden Christian won the 1,600 sprint medley in 3:57.17 with Nathan Rusnak, Josh Friberg, Logan Carlson and Sam Vander Griend. Marysville-Pilchuck took the 4x100 in a meet record 43.42 and the 4x-400 was posted too late for deadline.
Sehome's Daniel Ziegler finished second in the 100 in 11.41, only two-hundredths of a second behind Austin Joyner of Class 4A Marysville-Pilchuck.
"I wish I could have taken first with a better time but it's still early. I'm not worried," said Ziegler, who was fourth at state last season in 11.18 and is working toward improving his speed as a scholarship football player for South Dakota School of Mines in Rapid City. "With warmer weather in April, I'm shooting to break 11 seconds. My PR is 11.2, so I think I can do it."