After finishing in a first-place tie with Mt. Vernon Christian in last year’s State 1A/2B/1B track and field championships, the game-planning for 2017 began early for the Oakesdale Nighthawks.
“Like right after our first meet our coaches were stalking athletic.net,” revealed sophomore Logan Reed, “comparing marks and saying, ‘Oh, no, we’re losing by four – we need to start moving people around.’ ”
Whether the urgency was that pronounced or not, the Nighthawks found the winning formula – the outright winning formula this time. When Ward finished the day with a sixth-place finish in the 1B triple jump, Oakesdale had a 92-90 edge on MVC and the school’s first solo girls state title. Both of the others – last year and in 1999 as Tekoa-Oakesdale – had been shared with the Hurricanes.
It was one of two team titles won by area schools on Saturday, with Lakeside collecting its first 1A girls crown since 2007.
“I didn’t think we were going to come out on top,” said Oakesdale coach Cap Perry. “Mt. Vernon Christian has fantastic athletes and kids in a lot of events.”
But the Nighthawks actually had more girls score, and occasionally more than expected. They took the lead after a 14-point windfall in the 800 by Emma and Elisabeth Perry and scored in every Saturday final except the 100 and discus.
And they got their usual bonanza from Anne Hockett, who won both hurdles events and took second in the 200 and third in the 400, in which she was the defending champ. A repeat there was undone by a spectacular sprint triple by Cusick’s Alana Keogh, “but even that helped us,” Perry noted, because it also cut into points from MVC’s eighth-grade sensation Jaiden Hill.
Keogh shattered state 1B records in the 200 (25.82) and 400 (57.74), the former a minor surprise only because of what happened on the awards stand after the latter.
She lost her lunch.
“My ‘little incident?’ ” she said, laughing. “I think it was because I’d been so nervous. I hadn’t run against Anne or Jaiden (Friday) and they’re very fast.”
Waitsburg’s Emily Adams completed a triple just as impressive, running meet records in the 800 (2:20.16) and 3,200 (11.28.51) to go with Thursday’s win in the 1,600. She lowered the 3,200 mark by 14 seconds – and in the process became her school record holder at every event from 400 to 3,200 meters.
2B: Madison Ward capped her sensational run at St. George’s with her fourth title in the 800 meters – coming up short of the state record for which she was gunning.
“I went out hard – probably harder than I needed to,” she said.
Still, seven individual state track titles, another in cross country, three relay wins and last year’s team crown makes for a pretty good haul for Ward, who will run next year at Montana.
The Dragons also got a win in the 200 from Ashley Sande, but couldn’t keep pace with Northwest Christian of Lacey, which piled up 90 points for team honors.
The day’s most redemptive moment: Colfax coming back to win the 4x100 relay, with a full-second improvement, after being disqualified in the 4x200 for running on the line.
“The same thing happened our freshman year,” said senior Alexie Smith. “We were DQ’d in the 4x200 and came back and won the 4x100. That was kind of my motivation – we have to repeat what we did.”
“Sadly,” concluded Parker Warwick, the relay team’s other senior.
1A: Lexi Rolan finished off her career at Medical Lake with a sweep of the 100 and 200. Freshman Lillian Kirry of Chewelah began hers with an impressive victory in the 300 hurdles.
And Freeman’s girls brought the paid crowd of 2,754 to its feet with a wild victory in the 4x400 relay – anchor AnnaBelle Schweiger getting to the line just four-thousands of a second ahead of Cashmere’s Andee Kimes.
But without winning a single event Saturday – Sienna Swannack’s Friday high jump victory was their highlight – the Lakeside Eagles rolled up 51 points for an eight-point edge over Cashmere.
Coach Jim Pettet talked about setting “reasonable” goals all season – and thought a state title was one of them.
“People will talk about getting into the top three,” he said, “but if we’re in the top three, let’s go after No. 1.”