Mareonna Henderson is fast. Teammate Karlee Stueckle is faster still.
On the soccer pitch, Stueckle is fast, using her long strides to jump out ahead of opponents. And with that quick twitch only coming from understanding one another, Henderson is never too far behind, setting up Stueckle with a quick shot.
Working together has led to great results for the two on and off the pitch. But it’s their work off that has the two names buzzing at Emerald Ridge High School.
“I guess it just shows how much work we put in. (It’s about) just working hard every day even though we’re not always up for it,” Stueckle said.
“It’s a lot of work because (of) playing two sports at the same time,” Henderson said. “Your legs get really tired, but you still have to train hard.”
When it comes to hurdlers on the ER girls track team, it’s all about these two as they look to reach the podium together this week at the 4A State Track and Field Championships at Mount Tahoma Stadium.
“They have the ability to reach the podium together. It’s just focusing on what’s in front of them right now,” ER hurdlers coach Kayla Stueckle, Karlee’s older sister, said.
After the West Central District III meet at French Field, both Stueckle and Henderson qualified for the state hurdles events together — Stueckle in both the 100- and 300-meter hurdles, and Henderson in the 300.
“We push each other (and), it’s nice to have a warmup buddy down here that keeps you calm,” said Stueckle, who clocked the fastest time, 44.47 seconds, in the 300 hurdles at the district meet. “She pushes me and I push her. It’s a mutual thing.”
Stueckle and Henderson are nearly inseparable during meets. At every meet it’s the same thing — wherever one Jaguar is, the other is not too far away.
“Running with her, she’s really fast. It only pushes me to go faster,” Henderson said.
It was a common theme that was established last year, and one that continued into track season this year: Stueckle out in front with Henderson right on her tail. It was a two-sport theme for the two Jaguars.
“I think soccer does help the two because of the stamina they build playing soccer,” Kayla Stueckle said. “They work all season long to get better together during the soccer season, and I don’t think there’s (too) much of a difference in pushing each other here.”
With Stueckle finishing with the fastest time in the 300 hurdles and Henderson taking the sixth (46.42 seconds) and final spot out of the district meet, Emerald Ridge is now set up for a chance to have both its hurdlers finish the season in style.
Together, standing on the podium Saturday at Mount Tahoma Stadium.