Then-Bonney Lake High sophomore Dreakeanna “Kiki” Adair was walking on air after her throw of 133 feet, 9 inches captured the Class 3A state championship at the state meet in the girls discus throw last season.
“It was a lot calmer and peaceful environment for track than I thought it would be,” said Adair about winning the 3A state discus title. “I didn’t feel pressured.”
The next closest throw next to Adair’s championship mark last year was Vernice Keyes of Edmonds-Woodway, who finished in second with a distance of 127-7.
After topping the state competition, Adair went into the offseason with a great amount of expectations coming from all directions — from her community to school and team to the ones she created for herself.
Sitting on top of the list for Adair was that this is her year, as a junior, to remain the top discus thrower for a second straight season.
Except a challenger to that situation emerged this summer: teammate Kiana Schwendeman.
“I’m really excited about the upcoming track season, but at the same time I’m disappointed because I thought it was going to be my year alone at the top of the state. And then in the summer I find out the state champion from Utah moved here and I was thinking this was supposed to be my year,” Adair said.
Schwendeman won the Utah’s Class 5A (the state’s highest classification) girls discus championship at state last year, where the then-Viewpoint High junior set the top mark of 130-3.
“Dealing with a new coach, a new team, and definitely dealing with all this rain is different,” said Schwendeman, who has committed to Western Washington’s track and field program. “We didn’t have this much rain (in Utah). But this is something I need to adjust to because I recently committed to Western Washington and this will be a season where I can learn to adjust to the different conditions.”
Bonney Lake track and field now has two discus state champions on its roster with Adair (3A in Washington) and Schendeman (5A in Utah).
It’s a strange predicament that the Panthers throwers face this season since at any weekday or weekend meet, as either of these two can capture the top spot among their competition, an aspect that hasn’t escaped the thoughts of Bonney Lake throwing coach Jason Silbaugh.
It’s not hard to imagine a scenario that Silbaugh describes as both of his top discus throwers having the distance to accomplish the No. 1-2 feat.
But like any new season there is no telling what can happen, or who in the state will rise up the competition to try to make their claim as the top thrower. Those are the unknowns many track and field athletes face each season.
To have arguably the top competition either of these two Panthers will face in state this season on the same team is a rare experience for both Adair and Schwendeman.
“I know that if Kiana wasn’t here, then I wouldn’t have anyone on the team who could push me,” Adair said. “It’s only been a couple of weeks, but I can already feel her support and I’m supporting her.”
“Coming here, knowing Kiki throws very far — I’m so excited for this season because we’re going to have some great competition,” Schwendeman added. “So we’re expecting bigger and better scores.”
And through that support, there can be a pair of Panthers who could be standing at the top of the podium come May.