The weather was its three day stretch with rain only threatening.  The temperature was reasonable for the sprinters yet not too high for the distance runners.   Even a slight breeze added a pleasant touch while not affecting the results in terms of record-keeping.  The beauty of the meet was that the young athletes did their part to show that Washington is a preeminent state when it comes to track.   Marcus Chambers of Henry Foss came into the 400 Meter Dash knowing what he needed to reclaim the top time in the nation and, as if on cue, produced mark he needed with a national best of 46.36.   While Chambers tossed in an impressive mark in this race Ellie Heiden of Kamiakin scored a triple victory by claiming the three sprint events over the flat.   She won the 100 Meters in 12.17, then added the 200 Meters in 24.60 before establishing a new standard in the 3A 400 Meters with 54.15.   That brisk time wiped out the long-standing record of 54.39, which had been set by Ericka Harris of Gig Harbor in 1980.

 

That was so long ago that the year was only the second year of the venerable Foot Locker Cross Country Championship.    Her effort in the one-lap event was a stunner, because she was well behind two runners late in the home stretch.   Then suddenly one girl felt the bear jump on her back and crashed, yet it still left another, who somehow Ellie blew past.   Even young Miss Heiden confessed afterwards:  “I was so scared I couldn’t catch her!”    How she accomplished the deed still stuns yet she flew past and earned yet another title.

 

     Kennadi Bouyer of scored in both the 4A 200M with 24.81 and the 100 Meters with 11.96.  Chambers was also a double winner thanks to his victory in the 200M with 21.30.    Isaiah Brandt-Sims of Wenatchee secured a duplicate triumph in the 200M & 400M   100 & 200 Meters at the 4A level with his times of 10.71 & 21.48 while Andrew Brown of Tumwater won the 100 & 200 Meters with marks of  21.49 & 47.10.   Elizabeth Quick of Richland swept the High Jump & Pole Vault at 4A with 5-05 & 12-00 respectively.   The Mountain Terrace brother sister act of Gifton & Chinne Okoronkwo annexed a family double in the Triple Jump by soaring 46-07.15 & 39-00.50 at 3A.

 

     Andrew Brown’s marks, incidentally, were records and there were a number of others, who etched their name in the record books, as Gina Flint of Squalicum was victorious in the 2 Discus with 161-11.  Courtney Bray of Mt. Spokane took the 3A Pole Vault with 12-07.  Records in the 300 Meter Low Hurdles fell to Hannah Tarleton of Sehome (43.20 - 2A) & Craig Allen of North Mason 37.33 – 2A).

 

      Years from now, when the subject of records is discussed, Alexa Efraimson will most likely be the name referenced.  Her scintillating 2:08.17 eclipsed the 2005 standard set by Becca Noble of2:08.17 and she managed to do it by going out in 65 and coming in with 62 second laps.  Such was her performance that Amy-Eloise Neale of Glacier Peak, who had just reset the standard of Noble in the previous race to 2:08.61, was soon by Efraimson’s side exclaiming in a rhetorical manner:  “Do you realize you just negative split your race?”   Despite Alexis’ time Rose Christen of Central Kitsap & Alexis Fuller of Union were not all that far behind with times of 2:10 and change.   Hannah Derby of Bellarmine Prep edged Mia Wrey of Ballard for fourth with clocking of 2:12 & 2:13.  

 

     The people in New York held the so-called “Dream Mile” in New York City over the holiday and the hilarity of naming the race as such was in evidence on Thursday, when the Washington female middle distance crew of Alexa Efraimson, Amy-Eloise Neale, Megan Beauchene and Katie Knight all ran times between 4:39 for the 1600 Meters to 4:45.   That quartet was back once again on Saturday with Efraimson blazing the 800 Meters by herself in 2:08.17.   Still it has been the 3A division, which has been stellar and the addition of Megan Beauchene of Kamiakin has enhanced an already brilliant group, although Katie Knight accepted the challenge of the 3200 Meters, so she was not at hand in this event.   Once again it was Amy-Eloise Neale of Glacier Peak, who led the way through a first lap in 63 seconds.  She maintained the lead, as she slowed to 65 for the second lap with Beauchene in tow until the last 200 Meters.   Neale finished with a record time of 2:08.61 with Beauchene coming home in a fine 2:10.64.  Any illusion that the talent in the state does not go quite deep was shattered, when Lily Engelbrekt of Bishop Blanchet chased Megan across the line in a solid 2:11.98.   Mikelle Ackerley of Bainbridge ran a solid 1:13 yet was two seconds back, while Ashlie Standow of University finished fifth with 2:15.   That time, more specifically 2:15.63, was good enough for Brianna Keane of Sehome to claim the girls’ 2A race.   Kristi Bartz of Archbishop Murphy (2:16.25) & Alyssa Harmon of East Valley (2:17) annexed 2nd & 3rd respectively.

 

     In 800 Meter action for the guys LaForrest Church of South Kitsap contributed the fastest time of the day with his victory in the 4A race with 1:51.82.   Drew Schreiber of Eisenhower was right on his tale with 1:52.10 edging Mason Fletcher of Puyallup, who ran 1:52.89.  Fourth went to Aaron Schlossman of Garfield in 1:54.01 and Tremaine Rambo of Federal placed fifth and was the first of a trio of runners timed in 1:55 and change with Frankie Hoerner of Gonzaga prep & Daniel Schofield of Mead being the others.    Trevor Love of Auburn Riverside placed 8th in 1:57.94, which had to be tough for Logan Carroll of Gig Harbor, who had just missed out on the finals after clocking 1:55.39 in the preliminaries.     Reed Henderson of Sehome topped the 2A field with 1:52.39, which was record for the division.  Kenyon Butler of Lake Washington earned second with 1:52.88 and Daniel Amann of Deer park took third with 1:54.54.   Mitchell Hughey of Lindbergh & Dallas Snider of W F West also chimed in with 1:54 with his teammate Danny Robertson crossing the line in 1:55 and Mohamud Abdi, also from Lindbergh, running 1:56.   Carter Osborne of Shorecrest was the top of the 3A crop with his 1:53.58 & Eric Schultz of Mercer Island garnered 2nd with 1:53.89.    Keith Williams of North Central placed 3rd with 1:54.01 nipping Max Leach of Nathan Hale.   Daniel Brunner of University also ran 1:54 & change, while Hiron Redmond of Liberty-Issaquah finished sixth in 1:55.02 which gave him a narrow margin over Aedan Roberts, who was also from Nathan Hale.  

 

        Chandler Olson of Woodinville will head off to Yale next fall but prior to that there was one order of business on her prep to-do list and that was to defend her title in the 4A 3200 Meter race.    Of course, as befits a scholar athlete Chandler is driven, so she was not simply going to settle for a victory for her secondary goal was to record a solid time somewhere under 10:40.   With her focus on the secondary goal she took off early and separated herself from any would-be challengers in the first lap.   A solid first lap of 75 seconds gave her such a formidable lead that the only question in most minds was her ability to hold the lead.  Sofia Kane of Olympia is a fine runner in her own right but, although, she did make a bit of dent in the lead a few laps later, she was never really able to mount a charge.  Sofia had also been left to run by herself as Alissa Pudlitzke of Camas and Lindsey Bradley of Richland were another fifteen meters behind Kane.  Olson was clocked in 2:35 after 800, a lap which saw Kane reel the leader back in as noted but the consistency of Olson, that brought her through 1600 Meters in 5:15 pretty much sealed the fate of the race.   By that time it was quite obvious that Olson was in form and would be very unlikely to falter.   In the end Chandler not only had secured her title defense but she accomplished her goal improving by a second over her time from last year, when she was pushed all the way by Jordan McPhee.  Olson’s time of 10:3203 gave her a substantial margin of victory over Sofia Kane, who followed sixteen seconds later & was one of  only other runner to break eleven minutes.   Lindsey Bradley of Richland moved late to take third in 10:55 and Alissa Pudlitzke followed in fourth with11:01 edging Olivia Mancl of Roosevelt, who essentially ran the same time.   Brenna Peloquin of Gig harbor, who had a short season due to injuries returned to action to place sixth with 11:04 and Amber Rose of Inglemoor was 7th in 11:08.   

 

    Of course no discussion of distance running can be complete without considering Katie Knight of North Central, who has represented the United States internationally.  As in the case of Chandler, Knight was not content with a simple defense of her State title and she set the lofty goal of breaking her friend & rival Amy-Eloise Neale’s mark of 10:12.33, which was established in 2011.  Katie moved out earlier establishing a fifteen meter lead over Katie Bianchini of Glacier Peak, which she improved to around forty meters after two laps.  Knight clipped of marks of 3:48 and 5:00 in the next two laps but without aid her secondary goal of time was a bit much to ask.  Still the North Central star cruised home in an impressive 10:18.22.  Bianchini, who qualified for Foot locker Nationals last December ran a fine 10:42 and Haley Saurez of Meadowlake crossed the finish line in a solid 10:52.   Lindsay Tompkins of Prairie (11:04) & Michelle Fletcher of Kamiakin (11:07) concluded their prep careers by earning 4th & 5th.  

 

      Sanne Holland of Cheney attempted to defend her 2012 title by moving into the lead early but was dutifully followed by RaynJoy Norton of Burlington-Edison & Emily Pittis of Sehome.   After a few laps Holland yielded to Norton and Pittis and ultimately finished alone in third with 11:11 but one has to be impressed with her effort.   Pittis inexorably pulled away from Norton to win by seven seconds in a time of 11:52 but one has to wonder what might have happened had Brittany Gappa of Squalicum not been injured given Gappa’s second place finish last year in 10:51 but then again this was not Pittis’ first State title.  Lauren Pierson of Capital (11:28) and Abi Hensler of Sumner (11:29) rounded out the top five.

 

      Chris Lewis, who set the all-time State mark in the 3200 Meters in 1989 of  8:50.65 was on hand to witness an expected attempt at his record.  Though an impressive time, any time Andrew Gardner of mead runs a standard can be in jeopardy.   The three-time Foot Locker National Finalist, who represented America in the World Junior Cross Country Championships last winter, gave the record a challenge before just missing with his winning time of 8:54.48.   In spite of his brilliant time Gardner did not overwhelm his competition and Sumner Goodwin of Lewis & Clark was a very solid second with 8:58.07.  In point of fact it was only late in the race after splits of 2:08, 3:16, 4:3 and 5;30 that Gardner was able to extricate himself from the pack, which remained in contact even at the split of 6:38.   If anyone questions the overall quality of the Washington state runners they merely have to look at the tight battle for a not-so-distant third between Colby Gilbert of Skyview & Jamie Coughlin of Garfield, who were both credited with 8:58.48.   Jonathan Stevens of Redmond was the first runner over nine minutes (9:03), which can usually be expected to guarantee a much higher placement.   Gig Harbor teammates Tristan Peloquin (9:09) & Wolfgang Beck (9:12) secured the 6th & 7th place positions and should be able to look forward to returning next spring.

 

     While Gardner asserted himself at the end and pulled away for a comfortable victory in the 4A race, the 2A version was another matter entirely.   Like Gardner, Patrick Gibson of Squalicum was a defending champion, but unlike his mead counterpart it was Gibson, who set most of the pacing standards.   He was shadowed by Conner Johnson of Sehome, who used the same strategy in the 1600 Meter Run on Thursday.  Gibson went into Saturday’s race with splits he felt that he needed to record in order to win the race and he was on course until late, when the 6:45 he had wanted was ‘only’ a 6:50.   That left him susceptible to a late charge, which Johnsen launched down the stretch before opening a gap & winning in a record time of 8:59.76.  Gardner came in second with9:01.80, which was also under the record he set last spring.   Poli Balthazar of Aberdeen, who like Gibson, is a Foot Locker National finalist, not only had trouble getting to the race but had been slowed by injuries, yet he ran an inspired race in the fifth position before pulling into third late in the race to finish with a time of 9:06.   The future Central Arizona runner will make an attempt at his school record in two weeks and was not far off this day.   Devin Grove of Lake Washington (9:07) & Joe Charbonneau of Bellingham (9:14) took 4th & 5th respectively and Sean Eustis of Washougal followed in sixth with 9:20.71, which (I believe) is now the school record.   Seventh went to Scott Kopczynski of East Valley who ran 9:24.

 

       The guys’ 3A race was unique, because three sophomores pulled away from the upperclassmen and battled each during the later stages of the race.  John Dressel of Mt. Spokane provided the bulk of the pace-making chores but ran with Tanner Anderson of North Central & Patrick McDermott of Ingraham.  In the end it was Anderson, who was able to pull away and he finished with a time of 9:01.83.  Dressel may not have quite been able to outkick Anderson did secure a clear victory over McDermott, who has had a break-out season and finished third with 9:07.  Gareth Jones of O’Dea and Keenan Piper of Seattle Prep, both seniors, garnered 4th & 5th with times of 9:17 & 9:19, while John Rodehoffer of Oak Harbor edged Aaron Bowe of Liberty-Issaquah for sixth with 9:20.  

 

     The 400 Meter Run of Ellie Heiden was previously mentioned by 2A & 4A races also deserve a look.  Tumwater runner Brooke Feldmeier ripped off a time of 54.37 to establish a new mark in that division.  Cherish Morrison of Blaine had held the record with 56.09, which she ran last year.  Hannah Derby of Bellarmine repeated as champion by running 55.84, as she edged Chante Spotser of Todd Beamer was just behind with 55.87.   All in all another splendid performance by Washington runners