TACOMA - Most relays focus on passing the baton. The Sehome girls' 4x200 relay focuses on passing the torch.
For the fourth straight year, the Mariners started off championship Saturday at the Class 2A State Meet by claiming the first title up for grabs - the 4x200. Kendra Thomas, Bridget Henry, Elsa Sandeno and Sarah Dolese turned in a time of 1 minute, 42.15 seconds on Saturday, May 31 - less than a half second off their meet record time set in 2012.
"The first time I did it last year, I swear it was one of the most exciting things I've ever done," said Sandeno, who handled the third leg. "Getting to do it again was such an amazing experience and such an honor. It was exciting because this year we lost one of our best people on the relay."
Replacing key components is a key part of what has made Sehome so successful in the event.
"It's amazing because me and Sarah had Zoe Moeller with us when we were young, and we just kind of learned her work ethic, and then Shannon (DeBacker) after her and Hanna Tarleton - all of them were on the 4x2," said Thomas, who ran leadoff and has been on the state-winning relay three of the past four years. "They showed us how to work for this event."
It was a lesson Dolese, who has run on all four championship relays, had to live up to on Saturday to keep the streak alive.
But Sandeno struggled to find Dolese's hand for the third handoff, as Dolese said she had to reach twice for it.
With hard-charging Alyssa Porter of Bellingham nearly on her hip, that could have been a problem.
"I know I've run with Alyssa Porter like hundreds of times, so I know how she runs," Dolese said. "So all I was thinking was get out as fast as I can and then I can hold her off on the straightaway."
She did - by six hundredths of a second.
Reach ANDREW LANG at email@example.com or call ext. 862.