The Cascade Christian High boys and girls track teams have had one frame of mind the entire season: Think like a champion.
Not just go up to each race or field event and envision the win — it’s the ability to think of winning that event as well as league, district and eventually state titles. It’s a mindset bred from coach Devin Snyder, who also was the defensive coordinator for Cascade Christian’s Class 1A state champion football team.
“It’s about getting them to think about winning a championship,” Snyder said. “Why not? It comes a little from me (as a coach) on the football team where we had success there with that goal in mind. So far, someone is getting a personal record each meet.”
That method has worked for Cascade Christian as the girls relay team has been crazy good this year, and now these Cougars are set to take their first place rankings to claim a 2A-1A West Central District 3 championship this week at North Mason High.
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“(There’s) not too much (pressure) because we have the exact returning relay team from last year — we were young last year as well,” senior Julia Inderbitzin said. “We have camaraderie built up from last year.”
This season, the Cascade Christian girls relay team ranks first in districts in all three relay events: the 4x100-meter (50.82 seconds), 4x200 (1 minute, 47.97 seconds) and the 4x400 (4:13.54). Each district-leading time is a school record for Cascade Christian girls track.
The records and improvement is great, but the crazy thing about this that Cascade Christian is reaching these heights with six girls. Inderbitzin leads the way, and twin sisters Elizabeth and Lindsey Stover, Morgan Schepker, Nicole Souply and Tristen Coltom make up the rest of the squad.
Everything these six girls have accomplished so far has only been a part of the plan.
“I prefer the relays more because it’s a team thing … it’s more fun when you have the team to rely on,” Schepker said. “We set the bar high at the beginning of the season (a championship), and then actually doing it all comes from hard work.”
Hard work with a strong determination, Schepker added, yet there’s more to this relay team than just accomplishing goals. It’s the bond they’ve shared in the process.
“We definitely talk about it … it’s kind of weird because I never thought I’d be in that position at the top of the league,” Elizabeth Stover said.
They’re at the top of the league with a chance to reach the podium — something that eluded these Cougars last year.
“We’ve just been really focusing and buckling down on working on the techniques,” Lindsey Stover said. “Over the offseason we were training so that we can try to reach that goal.”
The son’s shot
Jaelin Goldsmith is having a strong season for Cascade Christian boys track. Last week, Goldsmith won the Nisqually League championship in the 100- meter, shot put and as a member of the boys 4x100-meter relay team.
It’s his connection in the shot put that stands out the most for this senior. Not often does a quarterback of the football team hurl around a 12-pound shot. Goldsmith’s top throw of 43 feet, 8 inches leads the league, but is just shy of Class 1A’s top ten marks.
“Shot put is great and all, but I like the relays more because it’s a team event,” Goldsmith said. “Although I know shot put helps the team overall, it just seems like a self-proven activity to me.”
Whether he likes the relays more or not, shot put is in Goldsmith’s blood as his father, Vince, who’s also the team’s throwing coach, is the state’s current all-time record holder for shot put. The elder Goldsmith set the mark of 68 feet, 8.5 inches, when he competed as a member of the Mount Tahoma High track team in 1977.
“Shot put is in my blood,” the younger Goldsmith admitted. “My father came this year and tries to help as many guys make meets as we can.”
“Vince has really helped many guys who haven’t thrown before, reach high levels,” Snyder said. “He’s taken someone like Mason Tobeck, who’s never thrown discus before, and now is third (with a mark of 125 feet, 9 inches) in districts.”
And the father-son work has paid off as well, as Jaelin is now inches away from breaking the school record in the boys shot put.
“My father has helped me as I’ve been seeing improvements,” Jaelin said. “I’m pretty close to the school record — that’s been one of my goals this year.”
With districts looming this weekend, Goldsmith has the chance to capture the school record and perhaps even more — a district championship.