TACOMA – People noticed that Eddie Gonzalez had some hops.
So they encouraged the University junior to turn out for track and try high jumping. So he did.
All Gonzalez did Saturday afternoon at Star Track XXX was capture a 3A state championship, vaulting 6 feet, 6 inches. He tied with Shadle Park junior Cole Jensen, but Gonzalez was awarded first based on fewer misses.
So the natural thought is Gonzalez had to be surprised with taking gold, right?
“Not really,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez plans to spend time training this summer and through next winter.
“I want 7 feet next year,” Gonzalez said. “I’m going to work hard over the summer and next year.”
North Central junior Katie Knight completed the triple crown for distance runners, becoming the first NC female to do so.
Knight, the state cross country champ last fall, cruised to victory Saturday in the 1,600, winning in a season-best 4 minutes, 50.20 seconds. She won the 3,200 on Thursday.
The 1,600 was supposed to be a showdown between the top-ranked runners in the state. Instead, defending champ Amy-Eloise Neale, a junior from Glacier Peak, had to scratch with a hamstring injury after running the 800.
“I was disappointed,” Knight said. “I wanted a race with competition that’s faster than me. It’s no victory for me that she’s hurt. It feels very different not running against her.”
Knight is looking forward to trying to defend all of her titles next year.
“I just want to keep improving, stay healthy and think more long-term,” Knight said.
Knight, who carries a 4.0 grade-point average, is being recruited by some high-powered schools. Stanford, Georgetown, Oregon and Washington have indicated interest.
It was a bittersweet day for Shadle Park senior Nathan Weitz. More emphasis on sweet even though he didn’t capture a state title in the 1,600.
Weitz ran his best race of the season but it wasn’t enough to overcome the nation’s top-ranked runner, Lakes senior Izaic Yorks.
Weitz pursued the school records in both distance races all year, coming up short by a second in the 3,200. But he broke through Saturday, finishing second to York in 4:05.60 and eclipsing the school mark set by Michael Kiter (4:07.24) in 2001.
Yorks won in 4:04.77, breaking the meet record of 4:09.28 set in 1988. Weitz’s time also was better than the record.
Weitz, who likes to get out and set the pace, chased Yorks the whole way, pulling within 5 meters with 200 to go. But Yorks had a final kick to keep the separation.
“I was thinking with my coach before the race that if I walk away with a (personal best) and not win that would be phenomenal,” said Weitz, who is headed to Northern Arizona University. “I owe Izaic a lot. He went out and set a daring, bold pace. It pulled me along.”
It was a great note to go out on as far as Weitz was concerned.
“It’s the fastest 1,600 that I’ve run in my life,” Weitz said. “I thought I had a chance with 200 meters to go. But he kicked some more. It was a great race to be part of. It’s been an amazing four-year journey.”
The Kamiakin girls dominated, winning with 85 points. Bellevue’s boys were victorious (65).
Two other area athletes finished runners-up. Mt. Spokane junior Courtney Bray was second in the pole vault (12-0) and University senior Tanisha Whitsett placed second in the shot put (41-1¼). Shadle Park senior Tiara Pajimola took third in the 300 hurdles (45.30); NC sophomore Megan Murphy was fourth in the triple jump (36-4¾); Mt. Spokane sophomore Ashlee Pedersen took third in the 400 (57.60); the Mt. Spokane girls 800 relay took third (1:44.24); University senior Matthew Fry placed sixth in the 800 (1:54.73) and NC junior Keith Williams was eighth (1:56.87); Shadle Park senior Joshua Munter took sixth in the 300 hurdles (40.78); Mt. Spokane senior Shane Concepcion was sixth in the triple jump (43-11); NC senior Durran Bates took seventh in the shot (52-3); Shadle Park senior Drew Before was eighth in the 200 (23.13); Shadle Park senior Katie Morris took eighth in the 1,600 (5:06.36); University junior Austin Upmeyer was seventh in the 400 (50.08); the U-Hi boys 1,600 relay placed fifth (3:25.44); and the Mt. Spokane girls 400 relay placed seventh (50.41).