TACOMA - The Red Raiders' 4x100 relay team may have added a new member this spring, but the Bellingham girls for the third year straight closed its season with the same result: a state championship.
Annie Waddell led off, Alyssa Porter handled the second leg, Mary Dyrland conquered the corner and state 4x100 rookie Mia Hodges brought home Bellingham's win with a state-title winning time of 48.59 seconds during the 2A-3A-4A State Track and Field Championships on Saturday, May 31, at Mount Tahoma High School.
Waddell and Hodges embraced at the finish line until both Dyrland and Porter joined the group for a collective celebration. For Dyrland and Porter, it was their third straight 4x1 relay title. Waddell claimed her second, and Hodges earned her first state title in any event.
"This is our third time winning, so I think it's really important to us that we were able to keep that title, and I feel really good about it," Dyrland said. "I think we are a great team, and we work really well together."
Bellingham beat runner-up Sehome, which ran a 49.03.
Waddell ran a strong first 100 meters, putting Porter in a great spot to catch most of the field during her 100 meters down the back stretch of Mount Tahoma's track.
"My goal is to get my team in a good position, so if I'm anywhere below first, I'm trying to push as hard as I can to get us in set position for Mary and Mia," Porter said. "We're very close, and it's on and off the field. It's just so much fun working with them."
Dyrland ensured that the few competitors close to Bellingham during the third 100 fell far enough back for Hodges to sprint mostly uncontested to the finish line.
"They always put in the work early to get me a lead, so that I can just drive it home, not focusing on anybody else but focusing on running my best," Hodges said.
Bellingham's time was only .47 seconds slower than the 2A state record the Red Raiders' team of Porter, Waddell, Dyrland and Chantal Tran set last year.
"We couldn't be happier with it," Waddell said of the time, "because we left it all out there."
Reach Andrew Lang at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 360-756-2862. Follow @bhamsports on Twitter for Whatcom County sports updates.
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