Perry Passes Father


Times, measurements and places bellowed through the speakers during the 48th Shelton Invitational at Highclimber Stadium. It was approximately 5:50 p.m

Dan Perry stood in the stands, far removed from his days on the track at White Pass High School. Below, he watched his son, Nathan, leg out the final meters of the 3,200.

Nathans time seemed quick.

Dan waited for the numbers as the speakers hummed. He had set the Panthers school record in the 3,200 21 years earlier — at 9:52.60. It was his only mark standing in the White Pass records.

But at this moment in Shelton April 26, as Nathan crossed the finish line, Dan wished so badly his son would knock him out of the books for good.

When you raise your kids, youre always hoping theyll achieve a little bit more, Dan said. That youll give them more and that theyll achieve more&

The speakers lit up: Nine minutes. Good so far. Fifty& Oh. &seconds.

Nathan did it: 9:50.75.

This time, Dan lit up. (Or, as Nathan put it, jumped up).

I stood up and started yelling for him, Dan said. That was a pretty happy moment for me. I dont think theres any greater throw.

The accomplishment wasnt just a longing for Dan, though.

Nathan set his soul on that record in junior high.

At the time, he played football, basketball and baseball along with his track pursuit. By the time high school came around, he narrowed it to cross country, wrestling and track. He thrived off those individual sports, as he called them, because I dont have to rely on anyone else.

The 5-foot-7, 131-pounder ran two-a-days, once in the morning and once at night this season. Before that was cross country, and he was also the only Panther wrestler to make it to the Mat Classic in Tacoma for the state wrestling tournament over the winter.

Hes a hard worker, and he was very focused on breaking his dads school record, White Pass coach John Karas said. I think it really started about half way through his sophomore year. He did track because his dad had held the record and encouraged him to run.

And Nathan isnt done chasing records. Not with his very last opportunity coming up this weekend.

Dan said in junior high, Nathan was two seconds off the eight-grade record. Then, he broke the 3,200 record by two seconds. And, up until the Panthers last meet, he was two seconds off the 1,600 record (he shaved it to just one second.)

Currently, hes second in the state in the 1,600 (4:33.21) and in the 3,200 (with his 9:50.75) in the 2B Classification.

Jeff Pope of Valley Christian holds the records in both of those — 4:29.24 and 9:44.00, respectively.

This coming Saturday at the 2B State Track and Field Meet at Eastern Washington University in Cheney, Nathan wont settle for second.

He plans to set a new record in the 1,600 and break his record in the 3,200. The fact that hell run one event Friday and the other on Saturday should give him a boost, Dan said.

Nathan agrees.

More time, more rest, more energy.

Its really, really good because I just have to concentrate fully on the 1,600, and then fully on the 3,200, he said. I can use all my energy on Friday, and then all my energy on Saturday.

Karas said he plans to build a track board for White Pass, a plaque to place all of the track and field records, he said.

He knows the schools records quite flawlessly, such as the fact that no one person in the Panthers record book ever went on to win the state championship.

Karas said Nathan could change that.

Weve only had one state champion, and that was done in the high jump a few years back, Karas said. Nathan has the ability and goal in mind, and that would set him apart from everyone else on this record board.

He should hold the 3,200 and 1,600 records by the time hes finished.

NOTES: Marissa Nyman of Morton is ranked first in the state in the triple jump (35-1). Dustin Brooks of Mossyrock comes in No. 1 in the state in the high jump (6-3), and hes also fourth in the state in the javelin (159-10). Mikel Elliott of White Pass comes in ranked second in the state in the 800 (2:20.9) and in the 3,200 (11:51.00).