TACOMA – Alsatta Bakana stood at the top of the awards podium, trying to brush back tears Saturday afternoon.
The Cheney junior wasn’t as successful trying to stop up her tear ducts as she was streaking down the track at Mount Tahoma High School.
Bakana captured State 2A championships in the 200 (24.49 seconds) and 400 (56.25) meters at Mount Tahoma High School.
The Blackhawk’s improvement from a year ago is startling. She took fifth in the 200 (26.60) and sixth in the 100 (13.0).
Bakana swapped the 100 for the 400 this year because she didn’t like her speed in the short race out of the blocks.
“I wasn’t fast enough for the 100,” she said.
It was a fantastic decision.
“I didn’t know I was going to win,” Bakana said.
Then Bakana was asked when she had an idea that she was one of the elite runners, regardless of classification.
“Now,” she said. “I didn’t know what the competition was going to be like. I mean I had a clue – I was here last year – but the competition was tighter this year. I definitely waited my turn and competed against some of the best athletes I’ve ever competed against.”
The 4A, 3A and 2A classifications were loaded with talented, speedy sprinters. At the head of the class, at least in the boys, was East Valley senior Rodrick Fisher.
Fisher easily captured state titles in the 100 (10.49) and 200 (21.27).
It was Fisher’s first completed track season. Shin injuries cut short his season a year ago.
“It was a matter of keep bettering my body and bettering my form,” Fisher said. “It was enjoyable to show everybody my true talent. There aren’t many people who thought I’d be as fast as I am.”
He also earned a second-place medal in the 400 relay (43.45), teaming with Isaiah Ervin, Matt Mason and Andre Moundir.
Fisher, who changed his name from Jackson and was adopted by EV football coach Adam Fisher and his wife in December, has given Washington State an oral commitment to play football.
He’s looking forward to see how his speed translates as a wide receiver in college.
Cheney’s boys tied for the state team title, finishing with 48 points along with Ridgefield.
Junior Charles Johnson accounted for several points. He finished second to Fisher in the 100 (10.60) and 200 (21.66) and ran the anchor leg on Cheney’s winning 1,600 relay. He teamed with Carson Brown, Kevin Houndonougho and Isaiah Brown.
Brown stepped in for Peyton Putney, who was injured in the prelims.
“It felt amazing,” Johnson said of anchoring the winning relay. “I can’t believe we did that. I knew we’d do well as a team but I didn’t think we’d win the state title.”
Johnson and his relay teammates all return next year.
Javelin thrower Rylie Pease of Cheney finished her prep career with a state title, winning with a throw of 147 feet, 6 inches – a personal best by nearly 8 feet.
Pease is headed to throw javelin at Princeton. She graduates as one of six valedictorians.
She was second as a sophomore and third last year.
“I knew coming in that I was going to have to PR to win,” Pease said. “I really wanted to win.”
Other top area placers were: Drake Johnson of Cheney, third in the 800 (1:54.82); Caleb Simpson of West Valley, second in the 300 hurdles (38.99); WV boys 1,600 relay of Simpson, Tyler Mays, Jake Jordan and Garrett Morton took second (3:25.25); Anna Sharp of Clarkston, fourth in the javelin (134-1); Jett Sobotta of Clarkston, tied for fourth in the high jump (6-2); Chole Chalfant of EV took second in the javelin (145-3); and Taylor Bogle of Clarkston, fourth in the triple jump (35-5 1/2).