Jack Ammon won himself a six-pack of state championship gold medals running for Northwest Christian the last four years.
But he enjoyed the bookends every bit as much.
Ammon had been in high school just a couple of months when he ran on the Crusaders’ state cross country champions in 2013. On Saturday, the senior closed out his prep chapter with another team title, NWC running away with the boys 2B competition at the State 1A/2B/1B track and field championships at Roos Field in Cheney.
“This means way more to me,” said Ammon, who completed a double in the 400- and 800-meter runs for the second year in a row.
“It’s something I thought about a lot. There’s something about achieving something with others for a greater purpose than yourself that’s so much more satisfying. It’s not just on your own strength, but on everyone’s.”
It was certainly an “everyone” endeavor for the Crusaders. But it wasn’t depth so much as breadth.
Entering the day with just four points, NWC scored in all of Saturday’s finals in ways big – like a win in the 4x100 relay and Ammon and Jacob VanGerpen going 1-3 in the 400 – and small. But sometimes the small stuff was big, too: Thad McKinney took just seventh in the javelin, but got off a 15-foot lifetime best to do it.
In the end, the Crusaders scored 77 points to beat the state’s other NWC, located in Lacey, by 31 points.
Ammon’s double started with a blistering first 200 meters in the 400, when he “caught everyone about 110 meters in and thought, ‘Wow, either I’m going to PR or really hit a wall.’
“I came around the last corner and there was a really strong headwind – and everyone hit a wall,” said Ammon, who will run at George Fox University next season.
He still finished in 49.27, barely one-tenth of a second off his best. He took it out considerably slower in the 800, not jumping into the lead until the gun – and it showed in his time of 1:59.79, more than three seconds slower than his winning mark in 2016.
McKay Knowlton gave the Northeast district another state titlist, leading a 1-4-6 Kettle Falls finish in the triple jump. Napavine’s Conner Locke and Lyle-Wishram freshman Brandon Montoya staged a thrilling 100 – Locke diving through the finish and to the track to win by .01 in 11.15, though Montoya exacted revenge in the 200.
Mike Washington couldn’t stop Mt. Vernon Christian from winning its first team title, but nobody was stopping the Lummi speedster, either.
Washington zoomed to wins in the 100 and 200, lowering the meet record to 22.45 in the latter, and anchored Lummi’s 4x100 relay team that also broke the state record with 43.61 clocking. Defending 200 champ Gerrit VanBeek of Grace Academy got some consolation by running a state-record 49.95 to win the 400.
Landon Callas of Waitsburg got the day’s other individual 1B record in the 300 hurdles (39.85), after Aaron Gies of Odessa-Harrington topped him and the field in the highs.
MVC, which ran a meet-record 3:30.92 in the 4x400 relay, scored a whopping 118 to 67 for Lummi and 58 for Odessa-Harrington, which also got a pole vault victory from John Dewulf.
Caleb Perry’s wins in the 100 and 200 and legs on both winning relays carried King’s to the team title by a 67-50 count over Deer Park.
Seren Dances of third-place Port Townsend also had a big day, with victories in both hurdles races to go with a 22-9 long jump victory.