Sumner High junior Josh Riley has been a developing track star on the Spartans’ boys track team, and at the Class 3A state track and field championships over the weekend, he reached those heights.
Riley was on the podium four times over the weekend with three individual placements — his highest a second-place finish in the high jump (6 feet, 6 inches). He also finished fourth in the 300-meter hurdles (39.54 seconds) and eighth in the 110 hurdles (15.7).
Riley was also a member of Sumner’s 4x100 relay team, which notched a seventh-place finish in the relay along with Connor Wedington, Michael Russell, Kolby Nikolaisen and Dayne Raines.
“It was a good weekend and I was able to place in four events — it was good,” Riley said at the end of the final day of the state meet.
The event of the weekend for Riley almost seemed like it was destined to take place. In the high jump, it came down to Bellevue’s Tyson Penn and Riley. Penn had won a Class 4A state title in the same event last year a part of Federal Way’s team.
But after Sumner moved up to the 3A classification and Penn moved down from 4A to Bellevue, it almost seemed like this was how the finals should be.
“We felt like we were destined to meet here because I moved up from 2A and (Penn) came from 4A,” Riley said. “We were thinking maybe it was destined for us to start jumping against each other.”
Penn felt the same way.
“I just feel like it was destiny for me to jump with him. He’s a great jumper and made it the farthest out of everybody – I could not ask for better competition,” Penn said of Riley.
Penn won the state title in the high jump by clearing 6-8.
After clocking a time that wasn’t extraordinarily fast in Friday’s preliminaries, members of the Sumner boys’ 4x100 chose not to stick around and see where the ended up in the consolation final.
“We thought we just missed the cut and everybody on our team but Josh (Riley) and myself left early,” Nikolaisen said Friday.
But something didn’t stick with Riley as he checked the board which placed Sumner’s team in eighth place — good enough to qualify for the final — after Wilson didn’t finish the race and Nathan Hale was disqualified.
“No one believed me when I came back to tell them we qualified,” Riley said. “We had to all come together and check if it was right.”
It was indeed, and Sumner went on to take seventh place in the final.
“It’s just good to be here and reach that podium as a team,” Wedington said.
Bonney Lake’s 4x400 relay team — Williams Glick, Patrick Oxile, Mykel Fisher, Bennet Hillier — knew when to attack the lead of the pack in the team’s third-place finish on Saturday.
Right from the start, Glick felt the crunch of the sprint around the full track as his opponents pushed the Panthers toward the back of the pack.
“It was tough to get a good position; they just boxed me out,” Glick said.
His teammates picked Glick up, helping Bonney Lake gain on the leaders with each 100 meters. The Panthers handed the baton off to the standout Hillier to finish the job.
Hillier’s final 400 meters were brilliant. As the junior sprinted by his opponents, he had so much momentum in the final 200 meters that he nearly eclipsed Bellevue and Marysville Getchell — the first- and second-place finishers, respectively.
“I just went for it on that last lap,” Hillier said. “At the end I thought I could get by the leaders.”
Bonney Lake finished the race with a time of 3:23.87.
Sumner’s Nikolaisen knew his time wasn’t going to be this season if he wanted a shot at the 3A state title in the pole vault.
And after a few weeks of events where he couldn’t get over 12-6, Nikolaisen went back to the basics and spent extra time on the track. He wasn’t going to go quietly.
“I had a good week of one-on-one training, so I felt loose,” Nikolaisen said.
Loose and limber indeed, as the junior finished in fourth place after reaching 14-0, a height he believed he could reach more than a month ago.
“I knew coming in it was going to be hard to get to the podium,” Nikolaisen said. “I did my best, and I couldn’t be happier with my finish.”