Jordan Koetje has been on the Morton-White Pass track team since eighth grade, and considers her track career the highlight of her school days.
However, her first state 2B track appearance as a freshman ended in disappointment. She was in last place in the 100 meter dash, her only event as a solo runner. In the 4x200 relay, she and her team didn’t make it out of the preliminary round.
“I told my coach that one day I was going to have so many medals, my neck was gonna hurt,” Koetje said.
But the next year, despite qualifying in her three solo events, the COVID-19 pandemic meant she couldn’t attend a state tournament. As a junior, it was the same story.
When the state championships finally came back her senior year, Koetje wasn’t going to pass up her final chance to prove her speed. After dominating in the 100 all season — winning 11 of the 12 races into which she entered — she earned the 2B state title with a personal-best 12.60 seconds in the finals at Roos Field in Cheney.
“I didn’t believe it when I first went through,” she said. “For me, I always thought that sophomore, junior, senior year: those were gonna be my redemption years. I was going to make up for how bad I screwed up in state my freshman year, and I didn’t get those. I was super disappointed. So, I finally redeemed myself by winning. Not once, but three times.”
After the 100, Koetje went on to earn first place in the 300 meter hurdles (in a personal-record 46.20 seconds) and finally the 200.
After the hurdles, she was limping and had no time to ice her foot for recovery. Her expectations for the race were low.
“I was like, ‘yeah, I’m definitely screwed. I’m going to get dusted,’” Koetje said.
Mid-race, something switched in her attitude. She realized it was her final race for the MWP Timberwolves. Between the bittersweet feelings of the finality and letting go of any expectations of winning, she was able to pull through to take place in the final 50 meters — in a personal-best 26.16 seconds.
“It was very emotional. It gave me the power to pull ahead,” she said.
Now graduated, Koetje will continue her track career in both indoor and outdoor events when she attends Eastern Washington University — the site of her three titles over Memorial Day weekend — this fall. She said in college track, she’s most looking forward to expanding the amount of events she competes in and having access to training and equipment that will make her even faster.
Koetje said being on the MWP track team was the highlight of her school years, and she especially thanks her coach, Scott Draper, for always supporting her.
After Koetje told Draper of her dreams to be decorated with medals, he gave her the first one she’d ever have: a plastic medal that read “winner.”
She held onto that memento throughout high school. Now, she has some gold to hang beside it.
“It finally felt like all the hard work paid off. Because, I was worried that I wouldn’t win and it would feel like it was all for nothing. So, I just feel relieved. I did what I intended to do. I set a goal so many years ago and then I finally got it,” she said. “I achieved something, and it was really nice.”