Prep boys track and field: Five storylines to keep an eye on at state


Three of the best days of the spring season are getting closer and closer.

By the time 4 p.m. hits on Thursday, the state track and field championships will kick off at Zaepfel Stadium for Class 1B/2B/1A and Mount Tahoma High School for Class 2A/3A/4A. Field event finals will be held every day with the majority of running finals on Saturday.

Here are five storylines to keep an eye on in Yakima and Tacoma over the next three days.

Can Tumwater sneak into the trophy chase?

For much of the spring, the Thunderbirds have been one of the teams to beat in Lewis County. They triumphed in four league meets, won the EvCo league championship and placed top-20 in three big weekend meets.

Head coach Jordan Stray feels this group is similar to the 2019 team that ended with a team trophy at Mount Tahoma High School. Is the 2024 group destined to leave with a trophy?

Tumwater is one of the favorites in both the 400 and 1,600-meter relays, plus Aaron Paul (high jump) is tied for the state lead this year in clearance at 6 feet, 6 inches. Add in two potential point scorers in Malijah Tucker and Dane Iversen in the shot put and it could lead to a banner three days in Tacoma.

Sprinters Cash Short, Blake Kirkpatrick and David Malory will likely have to outperform their seeds in the 100 and 200.

Price attempting to sweep fastest events

A year ago, Adna’s Tyler Price wasn’t competing in track after injuries derailed his sophomore year. Healthy and peaking at the right time, Price is now one of the favorites to claim his first career state titles in the 100 and 200-meter dashes.

After triumphing at the C2BL Championships and Class 2B District 4 meet, the senior heads to Yakima with plenty of momentum. He’ll be in Lane 4 of heat two in the 100 prelims and Lane 5 in the final heat of the 200 prelims.

Price and Brewster freshman Uriah Marcille have the fastest times in the 100 while Tommy Murdock (La Conner) and Braydon Bayless (St. George’s) will challenge Price in the 200.

Busse seeking return to form in discus

Since uncorking his lifetime best and school record throw on April 13, W.F. West thrower Caleb Busse has been stuck in a minor rut. He’s teetered in the 140s four times in the last six meets, having his best mark over 160 once at the Shaner Invite three weeks ago.

The senior had his last throw at the Class 2A District 4 of 147-07 be enough to surpass the automatic qualifying mark even with a fifth place finish.

When the southpaw throws in Tacoma, he’ll be the first thrower in the second flight. Between him and the second-to-last thrower in the flight, there’s a 10 foot gap based on district throws.

Busse remains in the hunt for a medal, yet a championship likely requires a new PR and re-breaking the school record.

Hurdlers aim for podium domination

If there are two events that may have the most area kids end up with medals, it would be the 110 and 300-meter hurdles. Between Yakima and Tacoma, there are 12 hurdlers and nine of them qualified in both races.

Pe Ell’s Carter Phelps is the heavy favorite in 1B while Morton-White Pass’ Clark Henderson is expected to contend in 2B. Adna’s Gavan Muller and Kolton Moon plus Napavine’s Austin Lyons could make the finals and challenge for a podium spot.

Carson Schall of Tenino is in the final heat in both events for the prelims. Meanwhile in 2A, W.F. West’s Hayden Niemi and Tumwater’s Reid Crumley are in both events. They’ll be on opposite sides of the track in the prelims. 

Bearcats sophomore Maddox Sampson is in the final heat of the 110 prelims.

Toledo going for relay three-peat

One of the constant victories in Yakima has been one of the last races of the week. The Riverhawks are aiming for their third straight state title in the 1,600-meter relay.

They were first in the prelims and finals two years ago, turned a third place prelim finish into a title last spring and now are one of the favorites once again.

Reardan has the best time from districts while Lind-Ritzville, St. George’s and Kittitas are contenders to challenge Toledo. Jordan Mckenzie and Trevin Gale are the lone two back from last year’s title-winning quartet. Treyton Marty and Bryson Trosper will run the middle two legs with Mckenzie on the anchor.