Federal Way High School senior Keenan Curran is the reigning Class 4A state triple jump champion.
But in a strange twist, a teammate Curran has been teaching and training with all season appears liable to thwart Curran’s shot at a second title.
Sophomore Tyson Penn bested Curran for the second time this season, setting a personal record of 46 feet, 8 inches in the triple jump Saturday as Curran hit 45-101/2 at the Bill Harris invitational at Federal Way Memorial Stadium.
Federal Way’s boys racked up 201 points to win the meet, but its girls fell to Inglemoor, who beat the Eagles 145-123.5.
“It hits home a little bit,” said Curran, who still holds the top 4A mark in the state at 46-91/4. Penn’s mark is second. “I know my title is up for grabs now. Last year, I felt I had solidified it, but then (Penn) came along.”
Curran’s comment was more in jest than jealously.
The two elite jumpers illustrate Federal Way’s blend of depth and talent. The program’s boys and girls teams are both favorites to bring home team state titles – for the second consecutive year.
Only Garfield (1985, 1986) and Mount Rainier Lutheran (2010, 2011) won boys and girls titles in the same year in consecutive seasons, according to Washington Interscholastic Activities Association archives.
Curran said he’d rather join that group than worry about his younger teammate beating him for a state title.
“As much as we hassle each other and give each other crap about who is getting first and who is second, I look at him as a younger brother,” Curran said. “He could kill all my marks, set all the records we have … as long as Federal Way stays on top”
Penn also took first place in the high jump with a 6-6 mark.
Federal Way’s Ta’Mara Richey won the girls long jump with an 18-4 mark, and her 36-111/2 was best in the triple jump.
“Especially with this being my last year, I want to see us go out with another boys and girls title,” Richey said. “We think we can take it this year. It’s definitely a big goal of ours.”
Inglemoor’s Darhian Mills earned victories over Federal Way’s Mariyah Vongsaveng in the 100- and 300-meter hurdles in a pair of races that might as well have been a state title preview.
After losing the 100 hurdles race, Vongsaveng, the 2013 100 hurdles state champion, was in the lead rounding the final turn in the 300. But Mills caught up on the straightaway, raced past her and finished in a meet-record time of 44.64 seconds.
“I thought I had it and then I saw her, and I don’t know, I guess I just gave up,” Vongsaveng said. “I just started to lose it and my legs started to give out. I’ll have to have a better mindset for state.”
Part of that mindset is making sure a potential return trip to the state championships isn’t taken lightly.
“Some people think our heads are too big because we won state,” Vongsaveng said. “But it’s meets like this that help us practice and get our mindsets right for it.”TJ Cotterill: 253-597-8677 firstname.lastname@example.org