Lucas Dahl’s Long-Awaited State Trip Ends With Two Titles

RESILIENCE: Napavine Senior Wins the 200 and Long Jump at State Track Championships


A week removed from heartbreak, after two years of not even getting to compete on the big stage, Napavine senior Lucas Dahl was ready for Cheney. 

The Tiger speedster could have already earned several 2B individual state titles if the state championships had occurred in the 2020 and 2021 seasons, considering his District 4 titles in the 100 meters, the 200 meters, and the long jump in 2021. 

Instead, the 2020 season was canceled and the 2021 season featured no state meet due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Finally, just when he was ready to push for up to four state championships this season, Dahl suffered a devastating setback in his first running event at the District 4 championships in mid-May. 

Lining up for his signature event, the 100-meter dash, a false start instantly disqualified one of the state’s top sprinters.

Dahl was crushed. 

“It sucked not being able to run the 100 at state,” he said. “It’s easily my favorite event. But I couldn’t change it; I have to just do what I can. I let it fuel me in my other events. 

“It was a huge motivator for me. It doesn't matter what happened before — it's how you react to it.”

If his performance at the 2B state championships at Eastern Washington University was any indication, Dahl seemed to react to the tough moment well. 

The senior crushed the competition in his lone individual sprinting event, winning both the 200 meter prelims and finals by a comfortable margin with the lone sub-23 second times in the field. In the finals, Dahl ran a 22.29. It was a continuation of the motivated state-best and school-record 22.27 personal-best time he ran at districts, right after his 100-meter disqualification.

Looking to fight his fiercest competitor throughout the season, Ocosta’s William Idso, Dahl put the emphasis on the curve in his preparation for the championship runs. 

“I really worked on the corner of the 200. It was something I knew I could work on,” he said. “That first 100 is where I'm strongest. That's where I can use my real speed. I knew if I got (Idso) on the corner that I could get him. Throughout the year I got better at that. It got easier to take the 200; the straight got easier because I had a bigger lead.”

All that positive momentum from his run on the track helped on the field as well, with Dahl easily taking home a long jump title thanks to a personal-best 22-foot, 7.75-inch leap in the finals. That jump was also a school record. 

Dahl had never cracked 22 feet before the state finals. Once again, thanks to a new approach and improvement on his technique, the senior delivered in his final high school competition. 

He had previously looked down at the board on his jumps, a bad habit that slows all the momentum he built up with his speed. This past weekend at state, however, something clicked for Dahl. 

“I’ve been wanting to break 22 all year,” Dahl said. “It turned out really well. I kept my head up and ran straight through the board looking to get higher. I just tried to fix that. It was huge for me.”

Dahl’s leap won state by almost a foot and a half, with Toutle Lake’s Chase Lynn finishing second with a 21 foot, 2 inch jump. 

The senior got a taste of the state championships his freshman year — the last time the state meet was held — on Napavine’s 4x100-meter relay team. That Tiger relay squad finished just one spot short of qualifying for the finals. 

Soaking it all in, Dahl had been waiting to make a name for himself in individual events after witnessing his peers in 2019. 

“I looked up to a lot of the people when I went my freshman year,” Dahl said. “I wanted to compete at that level so bad when I went. To get a taste of that and see how they reacted to the moment was huge for me. Obviously it sucked to not get that chance my sophomore and junior years, but to get a taste of it my freshman year and see what it took to get there and see how they reacted when they got there was big.”

And the soon-to-be Napavine graduate isn’t done. After graduation, Dahl plans on enrolling at Pacific University in Oregon to play football and run track in college. 

Midway through his senior year of football, while Dahl was helping the Tigers to a second-place finish at state and an undefeated run to the state title game as an electric receiver and playmaker, the Pacific coaching staff caught up with him after a game and showed serious interest. 

Being able to play football and run track was just an added bonus for Dahl.

“It feels great,” he said. “It’s something I've wanted to do even before I got in high school.”

All his high school career, Dahl has had obstacles come up in his athletic career that could have slowed him down. Whether it was COVID, his untimely disqualification in his favorite track event, even some tough losses on the football field, he still found a way to produce and motivate himself to do everything he could with what he had. 

Though his career at Napavine is over, Dahl will look forward to doing the same things at the next level. 

“It means a lot,” Dahl said of his state titles. “To be able to go out on a note like that and have it be normal. My goal was four, to be able to leave state with four titles, but life hits hard sometimes. It's about how you react to it. 

“Some of my past teammates didn't get their senior year and they gave me a better perspective to be able to take what I had and do with it what I did. It turned out really well.”