The undeniable quality of running talent in the state of Washington was stunningly underscored on Saturday at Mount Tahoma Stadium in Tacoma, when Alexa Efraimson turned on the jets in the Girls’ 4A 800 Meter Run.  Instead of running away from the field her challenge was accepted by Rose Christen of Central Kitsap.  It was only late in the race that she opened any daylight in spite of the fact that the Camas Comet obliterated her state record time by clocking 2:04.10.  Christen produced one of the fastest times in the nation for this year by running a scintillating 2:05.64.  Relegated to third was Hannah Derby of Bellarmine Prep, whose time of 2:10.03 would often be more than fast enough to win a state title.   Alexis Dougherty of Skyline was right on her heels with 2:10.75 & Kayla Leland earned fifth for Gonzaga Prep with 2:12.60.  Erin Ripple of Holy Names Academy topped her team mate Jordan Oakes by three seconds by running 2:10.27.  Katia Matora of Lake Washington nipped Kristi Bartz of Archbishop Murphy with her time of 2:17.00.

   Brenna Peloquin of Gig Harbor continued her family’s impressive record at state by winning the 3200 Meter Crown with a mark of 10:43.12.  Brenna was easily the best of the field, while Richland received fine second & third place efforts from Lauren Perry & Lindsey Bradley of 10:47 & 10:49. Pia Richards of Eastlake took fourth with 10:51 and Amber Rose of Inglemoor took fifth in 10:53.   Alissa Pudlitzke of Camas garnered sixth with 10:57 & Cayla Seligman of Issaquah followed with 10:58.  Megan Beauchene of Kamiakin claimed her second state title this week by running 10:34.52.   Erin Ripple came in second with 10:45 followed by Andrea Masterson of Lakeside, who was just a second back.  Emily Pittis of Sehome secured the 2A championship with 10:59.81, as Brittany Aquino of East Valley ran 11:04.  Third went to Lauren Pierson of Capital with 11:17.

    In the sprints fans were treated to the Hannah and Ellie show as the two precocious talents made their marks in the short events at the 4A & 3A levels.  Their paths to this year’s finals could not be much more extreme, because Hannah had spent the previous three years battling the bureaucrats, who applied a variety of rules in an arguably capricious manner, which denied her the opportunity to display her talents and measure them against her peers.  Ellie Heiden on the other hand has represented Kamiakin all four years of her prep career.  Entering this year’s meet Ellie had already accumulate ten state titles as an individual or the member of a victorious relay team.   On Saturday Hannah Cunliffe powered her way to victory in the 4A 100 Meter Dash in a time of 11.96:   a time, which is one of the fastest in State history.   Heiden, the defending champion in 3A, was upset by Ngozi Musa of Holy Names, who ran 12.14.  Emily Morgan of Columbia River ran 12.26 to Heiden’s 12.35.   Cunliffe secured her second state title by running 24.66, while Rebecca Tarvert of Eastmont, who placed third in the 100M, followed in second in 25.11.  The story behind the story is that Cunliffe strained her quad in the 100M, so, when she came back in the 200 she had to run at less than all-out.  It is amazing to think, she had been sick on Friday & had to deal with a wind in the 100, yet still recorded what she did.

    Not to be overlooked was the fine duel at that distance in 2A, where Brooke Feldman of Tumwater edged Shame’s Sarah Doles 24.96 to 24.98.  Nike McClure of W F West finished third with 25.17.  Heiden won the 200M and matched the 24.66 recorded by Cunliffe.  That was her third consecutive individual title in the event & Imani Apostol of Holy Names Academy placed second with 55.51.  Imani was also second in the 200M with 25.02.

    Oddly Federal Way chose not to try Hannah in the 400 Meters, the event in which her father Mike, who is coach of the vaunted Seattle Speed, feels will be her future event (we concur), so we will have to wonder there but then Hannah Derby of Bellarmine Prep would have had plenty to say as she finished her brilliant career with her fourth consecutive title in the one lap event with 55.69.  Hannah also has shared in two state title team efforts, as she has been a part of two four winning by 400 Meter Relay teams.   Hannah also contributed to Bellarmine ’s victorious Cross Country Championship last fall so she too has quite an impressive career.   Ellie Heiden reigned supreme in the 3A race at the metric equivalent of a quarter (Mile)by clocking 54.93. Incidentally Apostol also placed second in the 400M with 55.51.  When she walked off the track Saturday evening, Heiden had collected thirteen state titles and only missed a fourteenth by .51 of a second, when she lost as a freshman to Megan Kelley of Camas, who ran 56.33.   One can only wonder what Hannah might have achieved had she been allowed to run for all four years, as she was a formidable runner even as a freshman and was even nationally ranked indoors even in the 50m nationally.   Still there is no doubting that both Heiden & Cunliffe are two of the greats in Washington history and Derby surely will be missed as well.

   Lest some are overlooked Brooke Feldman annexed the 400 Meters in 2A with 55.83.  Following Derby in the 4A 400 Meters were Dorie Dalzell of Skyline, who ran 55.83, and Dai’lyn Merriweather of Evergreen, who ran 55.86.  Alyssa Porter of Bellingham topped the bill in the 2A 100M with 12.28 with Tierney Sillman of West Valley – Yakima taking second in 12.47 and Sarah Dolese getting another medal in 12.53.  No matter how one looks at it, fans were treated to a litany of impressive performance on the track.