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Coon, Sharp take state track titles


Sunset girls beat Jesuit at Hayward

Another second-place state medal wasn't going to cut it for Sunset's Taylor Coon.

Ten more meters and Coon could've beat Barlow's Margaret Paul on the anchor leg of the 4 x 100 6A final on Saturday at Hayward Field. A quarter step quicker and the Apollo junior might have snuck by Barlow's Danelle Woodcock in the 100.

With two silvers and no golds around her neck, it didn't take a mindreader to decipher what Coon's thought process was as she warmed up for the 200. Getting loose around the Hayward Field infield, Coon meditated back on the text message of her dear friend and current Washington State sprinter Dominique Keel had sent her early Saturday morning. Keel reminded Coon to finish what she started this season, put the finishing touches on a starry season.

“She said, 'It's your ground. You've been here multiple times. You know how to do it, so take care of business',” said Coon. “It's awesome to have someone to look up to who's been through all of this. Even when I'm nervous, I'll text her and she'll calm me down because she knows exactly what to say because she's been in my position."by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Sunset junior Taylor Coon hugs Jesuits Alexa Dixon after winning the 200 at the 6A State Championships on Saturday.

The 5'11' sprinter prefers to pass opponents on the curve and get in the catbird's seat streaking down the final 100 meters, and she stayed true to form in the 200 final, getting to a small lead. Jesuit's Alexa Dixon was up for Coon's surge, though, and the two Metro rivals tussled and jockeyed over the last 50 meters until the Apollo junior slanted over the tape in 24.96, just ahead of Dixon's 25.27.

After crossing the finish line and seeing a new personal record on the Hayward scoreboard, a relieved Coon looked toward the sky grinning from ear to ear, finally freed from her second-place hindrance. She hugged Dixon, a close friend away from the track, and looked over to her Sunset teammates sitting in the stands giving Coon a huge hand.

“The 100 didn't really go as planned, so the 200, I just came out and took care of business,” said Coon. “It was awesome, especially to break 25 (seconds). That's been my goal for the season, so it felt good." by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Sunset junior Taylor Coon crosses the finish line first in the 200 at the 6A State Championships at Hayward Field on Saturday. Coon also took second in the 100 and 4 x 100 relay.

A sequence of second places at the 6A state level is always acceptable, but in truth Coon utilized winning second as an incentive to get the 200 title. Over and above that, there's a slight chance Saturday's 200 dash was the last Coon will ever run competitively in the high school level. A junior, who committed to Arizona State University to play soccer in 2014-15, Coon said the Sun Devil women's head coach might dissuade her from competing on the oval next year to avoid injury.

Add it all up and Coon was resolute on claiming a state championship belt while helping the Sunset girls take third as a team with 45 points.

Sunset's 4 x 100 relay of Mary Grace Roselli, Payton Coon, Maddie Thom and Taylor Coon had clean handoffs and fast legs in the first race off the bat on Saturday, but Barlow brought their blazers to the track. The Bruins had a 10-meter lead going into the anchor leg and the bent Coon just ran out of room with steps to go towards the finish line.

“It definitely fueled me,” said Coon. “I felt the need to get a state championship in there, and without getting it in the 100 or the 4 x 100, I needed to do it in the 200 and I did. I would've been happy with two firsts also, but I did the best I could, so it feels really good getting two seconds and a first.”

Coon wasn't the only state champion to surface for the Sunset girls on an idealistic, toasty day in Eugene.

Power position

Discus thrower Savannah Sharp tried to just decompress, throw and forget about technique because she worked hard enough during the season that her form was starting to come together. The sophomore made the jump from 13th place at state last year to 6A state champion by focusing on the end of the fling from the power position. By breaking off the end of the throw, getting her hips up and throwing through the disc, Sharp was able to steadily polish her personal bests during the season, which culminated at Hayward with a 127-04 mark and the Apollos' second individual championship.

“I didn't think about anything on any of the throws except throwing hard,” said Sharp. “The hard work was done, so it was just having fun with it, being relaxed and focused.” by: TIMES PHOTO: SETH GORDON  - Sunset sophomore thrower Savannah Sharp won the discus at the 6A State Championships on Saturday by flinging the disc 127-04.

Sharp said she had a little bit of stage fright on Saturday morning when she took 11th in the shot put. But by the time she reached the discus ring, the butterflies had fluttered away. The warm weather and cheering fans watching from behind the net pumped up Sharp to the point she set her personal record on her first throw by more than five feet.

“I wanted to throw better, but I'm super happy with that,” said Sharp. “My first goal was to make it to finals, so as soon as I got 127' it was amazing. I almost couldn't believe it.”

“I've become more relaxed since my freshman year,” said Sharp. “If this would've happened a year ago, I would've been super nervous. I made improvements with how I dealt with it mentally but also in technique.”

Sunset senior Sara Fahmy set a personal record in the 1,500 on Saturday, running a 4:39 to take ninth overall. In her last race as an Apollo, Fahmy wanted to run quickly in front of the Hayward faithful and put an exclamation point on an unpredicted but successful career.

“It was really cool being here with an impressive field — I was really honored to be part of it,” said Fahmy. “It's good to have a lot of competition to make you push harder and run faster. The first lap was really slow, but I just kept getting faster and faster, which was exciting.”by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Sunset freshman Nicole Griffiths (left) and senior Sara Fahmy (right) battle it out in the 6A 1,500 final at Hayward Field on Saturday. Griffiths took seventh, and Fahmy was ninth.

Fahmy started out as a freshman runner on Sunset's junior varsity team and took off as a sophomore, turning herself into an important point-scorer for the Apollos both in the 1,500 and 3,000. In the state final for 3,000 on Wednesday, Fahmy set another personal best, taking seventh overall (10:11.46). Over the course of her four years, the 3,000 Metro champion shaved more than a minute off her freshman year mark.

“I feel like a different runner now than my freshman year,” noted Fahmy. “Being at the top of the Metro League and then coming out here at state...I've definitely improved a lot. My teammates pushed me a lot, and I have an awesome coach. I put in the time and believed in myself.”

Freshman Nicole Griffiths beat Fahmy in the 3,000 to take seventh overall (4:38), and Hayley Gooding placed fourth in the pole vault (10-03).

Shining moment

Beaverton's Allison Mueller ran a spectacular first lap in the 800 final, flying right alongside Grant's Piper Donaghu for the initial 400 meters. When the official rang the bell signaling the last lap, the Beaver sophomore sat in second place and held that position with 300 meters to go. However, the 800 field gained on Mueller and pushed her back to a seventh-place finish (2:16.85).

“I had to start out fast because I knew I couldn't necessarily outkick some of the girls, so I wanted to have a bit of a lead,” said Mueller. “I slowed down a bit in the second lap but still finished pretty strong.”

Still, Mueller's time was two seconds better than her state prelims and gave the sophomore a shining moment to take into next season.

“I felt really good on the first lap, I'll remember that for a long time,” said Mueller. “I wasn't really tired. I felt really good passing the bell, but I think I got tired halfway through the second lap. I started feeling a little lethargic and couldn't finish as strongly, but I made it through.”

Mueller was excited to make the 6A finals as a sophomore and be part of the state experience with a fast track and so many great middle-distance runners.

“I just need to work on my second lap being as good as my first,” said Mueller. “I'm really excited about the next couple years to hopefully keep getting into finals and keep improving my times.”

Southridge's Jordyn Searle jumped 17-09 in the long jump for fourth place for the Skyhawks. The 4 x 100 relay of Searle, Jaena Goddard, Natalie Leckey and Madison Smukalla placed eighth.

Westview's Hannah Lautenbach made sure the Wildcats didn't come away empty-handed by scoring a point in the triple jump (35-08) for eighth place.