The fastest 4x100 meters relay team Washington has seen in at least five years will not win a state title.
Federal Way’s 4x100 relay team was disqualified in the preliminaries of the Class 4A West Central District track and field meet Friday at Mount Tahoma Stadium. A judge ruled that Trenton Pinson impeded a runner in another lane in the third exchange zone after handing off the baton. Federal Way coach Sam Beesley appealed the ruling, but it was denied.
“One official made a ruling, a judgment call, and took out three seniors who worked hard for four years,” Beesley said. “I think the officials forget sometimes that we’re here for the kids.”
Federal Way finished the heat with an unofficial time of 41.91 seconds, which would have made the relay team of Ezekiel McNeal, Pinson, Robert Shelby and Maurice McNeal the fastest foursome in the state since at least 2006, and the only one to crack 42 seconds this season. The Eagles’ previous best time of 41.93 seconds is more than a half-second faster than the next best mark in Washington this season.
“The 4x100 was devastating to everybody,” Pinson said. “We planned on beating the state record, we prepared to beat the state record. To take it away after the entire season, it’s hard for some of us to deal with.”
The judge ruled that Pinson took one step into the sixth lane and impeded a runner from Beamer High School, although the Titans’ relay members and coach did not express any complaint and told Beesley they disagreed with the ruling. In a strange twist, Beamer was disqualified, too, because its runners wore uniforms with writing in different fonts.
Video evidence showed that no contact was made between the runner from Beamer and Pinson, who admitted to taking one step in the other lane, which is allowed, Beesley said. National federation rules prohibit meet officials from reviewing such materials when ruling on appeals.
Federal Way ended the day on a high note, posting the fastest time in the 4x400 prelims. The relay team, composed of the same athletes as the 4x100, finished in 3:22.30. Pinson also placed first in his heat in the 100 and second in the 200, and Maurice McNeal won his heat in the 400.
In the only running finals of the first day, Central Kitsap’s Shane Moskowitz and Olympia’s Clare Kane won the boys and girls 3,200 races. Moskowitz, the reigning state champion in the 1,600 and 3,200, won in 9:22.23. That time is slower than usual, but Moskowitz admitted he was trying to save some energy for today’s showdown in the mile against friendly rival Kenny Krotzer of Auburn Riverside, who owns the fastest time in 4A this season.
“It might be a big one, I don’t know,” said Moskowitz. “I’ve been looking forward to (the 1,600) all year long.”
AROUND THE TRACK
Tahoma senior Derek Eager is on track to win three individual events, after claiming titles in the shot put (58 feet, 61/4 inches) and discus (184-6). The UCLA-bound senior will compete today in his best event – the javelin. ... Defending state champion Kayla Adams of Jefferson added a district shot put title to her collection, winning with a throw of 43-01/2. ... Tahoma’s Bianca Walton, the state leader in the triple jump, won the event with a leap of 38-81/2. ... Emerald Ridge’s Kayla Stueckle turned in the fastest times in the girls 100 and 300 hurdles, and teammate Cory Okazaki did the same in the boys 110 and 300 hurdles. ... Kentwood’s Holly DeHart is the top seed in the girls 100 and 200 after winning her heats in 12.48 and 25.21 seconds. ... The top six finishers in each of today’s finals will qualify for the state meet. The field events begin at 9:30 a.m. and the running events start at 10:30 a.m.