Bryce Sterk and Trent Postma have impressed with their athleticism in football and track for four years for Lynden.
But both careers came to an end Saturday, May 30, at Mount Tahoma High School. And they took the time to share the moment.
Immediately following Lynden’s 4x400 relay’s second-place finish at the Class 2A, 3A, 4A Track and Field State Championships, Sterk and Postma shared an embrace, Postma struggling to catch his breath after running the final leg.
Both were exhausted. They gave everything they had — Sterk while nursing a leg injury — and almost pulled off a state title.
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For two years, Lynden’s 4x400 boys’ relay team has never been top dog. On the rankings, on the state leaderboard, the Lions were always just a few steps too slow.
Last year, the Lions took third in the 4x400. This year, they jumped up to second, just steps behind Sequim, but they desired more.
“A little bit bummed out,” opening leg runner Jordan Thompson said. “We were going for first.”
Thompson, starting in lane six, ran a speedy first leg to give Sterk the lead by inches. Sterk extended the lead to a few strides by the end of his split, before Ean Price got passed by Sequim down the stretch.
Postma, who also finished fifth in the 400 earlier in the day, made things interesting. After falling significantly behind with 200 meters to go, Postma made his move. He gained on Sequim down the stretch but just ran out of gas at the end.
“It’s kind of sad but at the end it’s kind of joyful,” Sterk said following his 300 hurdles’ eighth-place finish. “Just sad that it’s over but got to be happy that it happened.”
Lynden finished 18th as a team and on a day where the only Whatcom County boys’ winner was Jakob Chamberlin, the Lions’ relay was a shining moment.
Chamberlin’s state 2A discus title, though, was mighty impressive.
He broke the school record by throwing 72 feet, 5 inches and nobody else could come close. Sehome’s Drew Norvell finished third with a 155-09 and the Mariners’ Tyler Haggen placed seventh.
Chamberlin, whose nerves were getting to him in the morning, found a way to quiet them by the mid-morning event time.
“It all just came together and I felt really calm going into it,” Chamberlin said. “It worked out.”
It was Sehome’s throwers, though, that led the Mariners’ boys to a fifth-place team finish. Norvell and Haggen, who finished 1-2 in the shot put Friday, combined for 26 of the team’s 30 points.
The other four? Those came from runner Riley Allsop’s fifth place in the 800.
“I feel like I ran pretty well considering it’s my first year competing in track and field,” Allsop said. “I didn’t want to go out early like I did in the preliminary race because these guys are faster than me. I just wanted to sit and wait and see how many places I could pick off in the last 300 meters.”
Behind Sehome two spots in the team rankings was Bellingham, which earned 14 points from Chamberlin between Friday’s javelin and Saturday’s discus combined with Benjamin Doucette’s second-place finish in the 110 hurdles Friday and the Red Raiders’ 4x100 relay, which placed fourth on Saturday.
Isaiah White who anchored the Red Raiders’ 4x100 seemed to make up ground but it wasn’t enough to vault Bellingham into third, a sixth and final goal for the relay team this season, White said. They had already met the other five.
“I did what my coaches tell me, went out there for my teammates. It’s the last race of the season for me, the last race of high school for me. I just ran it out for them,” White said. “It’s a little bittersweet (ending my high school career), but I got to end it with my teammates and that’s all that matters.”
At the 3A level, Ferndale’s Daniel Jones was the lone Whatcom County participant on Saturday.
He finished seventh in the 200, but was disappointed in the result.
“Worst race of the season,” Jones said. “I’ve been battling a fever, allergies, a hip injury. It was just a bad last two weeks of the season. I’m grateful I made it to state, grateful I made it to finals, but I could have won it.”
It typified the way the last two weeks have gone for the senior, though.
Jones was on pace to break a couple school records — in the 100, in which he was eliminated in preliminaries, and the 200 — before his hip injury derailed his season.
“It’s really hard. I was so close to two school records and then with three weeks left the problems started and that kind of ruined that for me. Senior year, it’s hard to let go,” Jones said. “I’m happy with how I did, happy with how hard I worked. I just wish I could have ended it on a high note but I did come a long way.”
For many seniors, state track and field is the last day of their sporting careers. Whatcom County’s athletes showed Saturday sometimes it ends with elation and sometimes with heartbreak.