When Delaney Tiernan pumps her arms out on the running trail, she can see four words written in black marker on her right forearm: “This is for them.”
On Saturday, those teammates gave the Tahoma High School junior motivation to hold off defending champion Jordan McPhee of Mount Rainier and win the South Puget Sound League 4A subdistrict meet in 18 minutes, 24.70 seconds.
Tahoma dominated the competition at Fort Steilacoom Park, winning the individual and team titles.
McPhee, a senior and the 2011 state champion, was clocked 18:52.40.
“My strategy was to stay with Jordan as long as I could,” Tiernan said, “and I just ended up feeling good.”
Tiernan said that when she reached the final hill, Tahoma’s varsity boys were waiting.
“They were yelling, ‘You have 50 yards on her!’ so I tried to speed up as much as I could,” she said. “Our team is a big family. I definitely could not do this by myself.”
McPhee said that despite getting off to a strong start, she didn’t push herself hard enough.
“I knew Delaney was behind me, and then she took off, and I just couldn’t catch her,” she said. “I hope I can keep with her at districts.”
Tahoma senior Riley Campbell won the boys competition in 15:43.30. The boys finished with 22 points and the girls with 34.
Campbell said Tahoma’s boys have been something of a surprise after finishing eighth at state in 2012.
“It’s kind of nice because our team wasn’t really coming into this year supposed to do a lot,” he said. “Now, I think we have a good shot at top four at state.”
Tahoma coach Gary Conner said his runners’ dedication translates to wins.
“They are committed to the program and to each other,” he said. “I think that makes a difference.”
In 3A, Enumclaw sophomore Aleea Gwerder beat Peninsula senior McKenzi Bravo for her first league title, in 19:24.20.
Gwerder said she relied upon “mental strength” to prevail against defending champion Bravo (19:28.40).
“I knew I had her, and I knew I had to go, so I kicked hard and pulled away with 100 meters left,” she said. “I felt so great about myself.”
Auburn Mountainview sophomore Christian Rotter won the boys race in 16:15.90. Bonney Lake’s boys (64) and Peninsula’s girls (28) won team titles.
In 2A, Lindbergh senior Colton Maddy (16:21.80) and Foster senior Alem Belete (19.24.90) won individual titles. Lindbergh won both team titles.
At Federal Way 33, Auburn 23: Chico McClatcher sparked a second-half turnaround with three touchdowns, starting with a 90-yard catch-and-run from Keenan Curran, and the fourth-ranked Eagles survived an SPSL crossover game at Federal Way’s Memorial Stadium.
Auburn led 23-7 before McClatcher got loose off a slant pattern and took it the distance early in the third quarter. He also scored on runs of 17 and 39 yards.
At Federal Way 3, Curtis 2: Audrey Shin’s 30-yard blast off a free kick in the 78th minute proved to be the winner, and the Eagles (11-2) grabbed a share of the SPSL South lead with the Vikings (11-2).
Samantha Cheever tied it at 2 on a header for Federal Way in the 67th minute.
Both teams face Puyallup (9-2) this week.Staff writer Todd Milles contributed to this report.