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Wachter, Jesuit girls run past Sunset


Crusaders put away Apollos with strong field events

Sunset had the speedy stallions in the sprints, but it was Jesuit's seemingly endless stable of jumpers, hurdlers and steady runners that in time parked the Crusaders in the winners' circle at the Metro League Championships on Friday.

Jesuit shook off a disastrous start after the 4 x 100 relay dropped the baton to score 205 points and avenge a regular season defeat at the hands of the Apollos. Where the Crusaders really shined was in the field events, as Jessica Finn won the javelin (116-02) and JoJo Ananouko was second (115-09). Claire Alexander and Mariel Klein tied for first in the high jump (5-01). Freshman Hadley Wilhoite won the triple jump (37-09) while placing second in the long jump (16-10). Tarea Green took gold in the shot put (100-06). Rachel Shaw cleared 9-10 in the pole vault for second place and a berth at the 6A State Championships this weekend at Hayward Field. Mariah Gibbs and Abby Wachter went one-two in the 100 hurdles. Dylan Hite placed second in the 3,000 (10:22), and Chloe Smith ran a 58.69 in the 400 for second place as well.

Wachter — one of the legs on the 4 x 100 relay that was automatically disqualified because of the drop — used the disappointment to fuel her first place in the 300 hurdles, which she won by setting a new 44.76 personal record. Seeded third in the district coming in, the junior was right on the bubble of making it to state and knew she'd have to grind over the last 100 meters. Wachter's fast start from the back of the pack helped move her through the explosive conclusion of the race, where she put a sizable distance between herself and Lincoln's Emma Lambert. Toward the tape, Wachter break-necked down the backstretch, leaving nothing in the vat and nothing to chance in case Lambert was lurking.

“My coach always says at the end of the race it's just guts,” said Wachter. "I was just struggling, trying to finish it. It was awesome. I knew I could finish strong and pump my arms. We've been practicing that end of the race a lot, and I just used the training, and it fell into place.

“I knew it was going to be really close, and I was going against girls who could run 45's (second races). Being in lane three, coming from the back, I used it to get out there. It's really unexpected, really exciting. I'm just happy I PR'd and am going to Hayward.”

by: COURTESY PHOTO: JEFFREY LIM - Southridges Jordyn Searle and Sunsets Taylor Coon had a photo finish in the Metro District 100-meter dash on Friday with Coon winning by a nose.

Hardcore workouts

Last year Sunset's Taylor Coon was a bridesmaid but never a bride, placing second in the 100 and 200 behind Westview's Dominique Keel. Yet, this summer Keel accepted the Apollo junior under her wing and took Coon through the training regiments that made the current Washington State sprinter a district and state champion. Together they ran in the Warrior Track Club under Aloha coach Jay Miles and shaved those precious hundreths of a second that helped Coon nudge Southridge's Jordyn Searle in the 100.

“We worked on starts mostly, which is what I needed,” said Coon. "Having the hardcore workouts with Dominique every day this summer just helped push me. I got to see what a D1 athlete looks like.” Undefeated in individual events this season, Coon wasn't about to lose in front of a crammed crowd, and she used each inch of her 5'11” frame to eek out the win over Searle. After taking a backseat to her good friend Keel for two years on the district level, Coon won the 100, 200 and anchored the triumphant 4 x 100 relay.

“It's been a goal of mine for a while, and it's an honor to win all three,” Coon said. “This year is the first time I've felt the 200 was my best event. I used to think the 100 was my favorite, but my stride's getting better and my training in the 400 has helped me a ton in the 200. My endurance has gotten better and it just all came together.”

Set up for success

Sunset's second-place finish as a team got off to a rollicking start with Coon pulling away on the anchor leg. It set the stage not only for the Apollos but for Coon's culmination of three first places in the 100, 200 and 4 x 100. With Jesuit's team botching the baton and Sunset dipping under 48 seconds, Coon, Mary Grace Roselli, Payton Coon and Maddie Thom are set up for state success in the 4 x 100.

“We all had really good handoffs, and my team came out and ran as best we could,” said Coon. "I won state as a freshman on the 4 x 100 team with a 48-flat, and to beat that today is big for us. It's awesome."

Jesuit's Hite and Meghan Mullany led the 800 for the first two laps but Sarah Fahmy and freshman Nicole Griffiths paced themselves for the final kick and thrusted past the Crusader combo with 200 meters for the top-two sweep. The two Apollo training partners impelled each other to the tape with Griffiths winning by two seconds.

“That was the goal,” said Griffiths. “We were ranked one-two going in, so we just wanted to finish really well, make it to state and do it for the team score too. Our coach always says to leave one last gear in us for the end just in case someone comes up on you.

"It's always nice having someone by you, making sure you do as well as you can. It's been nice running with her the whole season, getting better. I don't think I could've done it without her," added Griffiths.

“You just find something deep down inside of you and use it,” said Fahmy who won the 3,000 last Wednesday. "I like beating Jesuit. I like beating everybody, actually. The plan was to kind of let them do what they wanted and stay with them. We let it go in the last lap and sprinted it out at the end to get them. We wanted to outkick them at the end.”

Day of firsts

Savannah Sharp sealed two state berths with a first place in the discus (120-09) and second place in the shot put (35-07). Senior Hayley Gooding won the pole vault by clearing 9-10 for Sunset. Madeline O'Leary is going to state in the discus after throwing 110-07.

It was a day of firsts and pleasant surprises for the Skyhawk senior Searle who's been to state in the long jump the past two years but never in the 4 x 100 relay or the 100. During a normal dual meet, Searle has to do long jump, 100 and the relay consecutively, but having a rest day in-between competitions during districts was of great assistance on Friday.

“Today I just got to run my 4 x 100 and had so much energy — I was just ready to go. Then I ran my 100, so I was rested and my legs weren't tired, so I think that really helped, having two days to finish it all,” said Searle. “I'm so excited. I've never gone in all three of my events.”

Searle nearly leaned past Coon in a 100-meter photo finish, but the Apollo's altitude advantage ended up being the difference between first and second place. Searle's gold in the long jump, her first ever after coming in second the past two years, came despite shoddy, wet weather on May 15.

The Skyhawks' 4 x 100 relay's second place was somewhat of a shock, but Searle wasn't complaining when Jesuit dropped the baton, automatically disqualifying the team from the competition. Jaena Goddard, Kayla Coleman and Natalie Leckey all ran fast legs and were neck-and-neck with Sunset until Coon ran away and hid down the backstretch.

“We didn't expect that,” said Searle. “We kept saying, 'Oh we're going to go to state,' just to have a positive attitude about it but I honestly never thought it would happen. I think Jesuit could've caught us if they hadn't dropped the baton, but I'm really happy we took second.”

Beaverton's Allison Mueller placed second in the 800 (2:17) for a ticket to Hayward Field for the 6A State Championships on Friday and Saturday as did Westview's Hannah Lautenbach in the triple jump (35-10).