Prep girls track and field: Five storylines to follow at state


For as much notoriety track and field gains as an individual sport, there are a pair of area teams vying for team trophies this week.

That is well in play as well as a host of other event championships when the three-day state meet begins on Thursday at Zaepfel Stadium for Class 1B/2B/1A and Mount Tahoma High School for Class 2A/3A/4A.

Here are five storylines to follow along with over the next three days in Yakima and Tacoma.

Tumwater, Rainier chasing team titles

A three-peat is in the sights of the Thunderbirds while the Mountaineers have qualified an area-best 15 events for state this week. Both teams feature heavy hitters that will challenge for and plenty of point-scoring depth.

For Tumwater, it has been carried by sprinter Ava Jones and its three relays. It is the favorite in the 800 relay and will contend in the other two relays. Jones will be in the mix in both the 100 and 200 while Annabelle Clapp (400 and 800) will be a contender for the finals.

The T-Birds may look towards their distance runners and throwers to outperform their seeds to notch another title.

Rainier has been led by the star-studded duo of Acacia Murphy and Ella Marvin. Both are seeking a repeat state title in the high jump and pole vault, respectively. Murphy is the 2B leader at 5-5 and Marvin is the only one to clear 10 feet.

Haleigh Hanson is a favorite in the discus and may contend in the shot put. Madison Ingram will run the three distance events – 800, 1,600 and 3,200 – with the chance at medals in all three.

Local flavor the theme in 2B discus

Of all the events in Yakima that have multiple chances to produce a state champion, look no further than the discus in Class 2B.

Reigning champion Karsyn Freeman of Adna, last year at Raymond/South Bend, is the top seed in the field after unleashing a toss of 126 feet, 2 inches at districts. Her teammate and current school record holder Lillian Boyd won the C2BL Championships and was six inches behind Freeman at districts.

The aforementioned Hanson has also thrown over 120 feet this spring. Those three are the only throwers in the 16-person field that have hit that mark.

All of them will be in the second flight for the event that takes place on Saturday.

Bennett seeks back-to-back javelin titles

It was at the state meet a season ago that W.F. West’s Amanda Bennett launched a new lifetime best throw of 129-01 to secure the state title. While the junior hasn’t reset her PR, she is still trying to claim gold.

Bennett is entering Tacoma on a momentum surge after a District 4 win that ended up as a new season-best toss of 124-09. Of her best marked throws, it was just the second time this season she’s eclipsed the 120-foot threshold.

Also a state qualifier and potential medalist in the pole vault – a first-time event – is the second seed behind Port Angeles’ Teanna Clark. The other javelin thrower that has gone over 120 is Enumclaw’s Natalie DeMarco.

Bennett outlasted DeMarco by nearly 12 feet in last year’s state meet. Those two plus Prosser’s Avery Barnhart are the returners from the top-five last spring.

Mossyrock relays trying to get into top-five

The Vikings lost just one leg from their medal-claiming 400 and 800 relays last spring and have reloaded this season.

None of the four runners – Leah Contreras, Renzy Marshall, Bailey Gross and Saydi Mendoza – are seniors and have been a consistent force in the front of the pack this season in both races. They won the District 4B meet and placed fourth in the combined district meet the following week. It has been the same four in every race this season, minus an order change between Gross and Contreras in the 800 relay.

Mossyrock finished sixth in both events a year ago. It has the 10th fastest time in the 400 relay field and fourth best in the 800 relay.

Rochester sprinter warming up at right time

For the first time in her prep career, Merecedies Dupont will represent the Warriors at the state meet in two events.

The junior is coming off a third-place finish in the 400-meter dash at the district meet and a new lifetime best of 59.38 seconds. Of the 20 runners in the field, Dupont is one of nine to run under 60 seconds at districts.

She’s also in the 200 after snaring the final automatic qualifying spot from the district. Dupont has run the 200 just six times this season, but has placed in the top-five the last three races.