The Sumner High girls relay team is on a roll after outpacing all competition — past and present — at the 3A West Central District III meet over the weekend.
About this time last year, returning relay runners Alyssa Murray, Emma Bakke and Rachel Stowell were just getting started, running their best times of the season at districts.
“We started slow last year and didn’t start to get our best times until districts,” Murray said. “We didn’t want to do that this year.”
Starting off sluggish or not, this year’s 4x400-meter relay squad — Murray, Bakke and Stowell are joined by Emma Sjolund — sits atop the 3A district ranking after setting a WCD meet record with a finish of 4 minutes, 0.31 seconds.
That time moved these Spartans to the No. 4 spot in the 4x400 relay in state.
“We want to get under 4:01 mark,” Bakke said prior to the district meet. “We’re all really competitive and feed off that from each other.”
First goal down, several more to go for this Sumner team.
“We set up what we wanted to do at the beginning of the season — each one of us came together and put together how we wanted our season to go,” Bakke added.
And why not do it at the biggest stage at the state meet?
After last year’s 4x400 relay team finished second in Class 2A, it’s nice to know that nothing’s changed since moving up to 3A. These Spartans still have a shot at placing — even with better relay teams gearing up for the same feat.
“We are comfortable with each other,” newcomer Sjolund said. “It makes me nervous knowing there’s going to be more people there (at Mount Tahoma).”
Sjolund is nervous — but excited as well — and she should be, since becoming the newest and youngest member on Sumner’s stellar squad. It’s hard not to when an event as big as the state meet approaches.
But if anxiety is coming down on these kids, they’re not showing it. It’s all about no fear and pushing through that wall and into a state placement.
“They take it personal to capture that goal (WCD-record time) … being competitive is good because it drives them to reach their goals,” Sumner coach Kristin Chapman said. “These girls are only getting started, and it’s at the right time.”