It was a bit of a different experience this time around for Sumner High’s Rhaven Dean.
After struggling last year at the Class 3A state track meet, Dean overcame some difficult conditions on Thursday, the opening day of Star Track XXXIV at Mount Tahoma Stadium.
Facing a headwind of about 10 miles per hour, the girls 3A javelin competition became one of half-marks as throwers seemingly couldn’t reach their best in the elements.
During last year’s eighth-place finish in the event, Dean’s throws often veered to side. Not this year.
“It was about getting here and working on my own personal goals. That was different from last year, because I tried to force it more,” Dean said. “Instead, I tried to relax and not worry about anyone else. It was about what I wanted to do.”
On her final throw, she hurled her top toss of the day, hitting 133 feet, 7 inches, jumping into first place with only a handful of throws left from her competition.
“I talked it over and realized my throws (all day) were high and getting knocked down. I aimed low on my last throw — it felt like it was my best on my release,” she said.
The wind gusts seemingly doubled after Dean’s throw, forcing the rest of her competitors to face their toughest task of the day. With each throw falling 10 feet shorter than Dean’s best mark, it looked like the state title was Dean’s to keep.
That is until Lynwood’s Mikayla Pivec stepped in for the last time. The Lynnwood senior set loose a throw that sliced through the wind, landing 147 feet away, giving Pivec the 3A state title and dropping Dean to second place.
“If I’m going to lose, I’m glad it was on that throw,” Dean said.
Sumner School District flies high in pole vault
Seniors Kolby Nikolaisen of Sumner and Austin Schweyen of Bonney Lake took on arguably the most difficult event of the day in the 3A boys pole vault.
As gusts of wind from the throwing fields brought on crosswinds on the east end of the stadium, many of the boys competing were off-balance.
“There was big gust, and that through me off my first two (jumps),” Schweyen said. “And my third attempt, I did everything I was supposed to do and blew through my pole. I cleared it twice (but) I came down and hit it (the pole) twice on my way down. It’s frustrating — (pole vault) is an unforgiving sport, but I love it.”
In the end, Schweyen took fourth and Nikolaisen took sixth after both SPSL 3A rivals failed to clear 14-6.
“It’s always fun — state’s always a great atmosphere,” Nikolaisen said. “I’m bummed the way my season ended, but being a three-season veteran, I can’t be too mad about my accomplishments in high school.”
Bishop Blanchet senior Zach Shugart won the championship after clearing 16-3.
ER Jaguar takes fifth in triple jump
Emerald Ridge High’s Audrey Fernandez just wanted to match her best mark in the 4A girls triple jump, one the junior set last week at the district meet where she finished third behind Curtis’ Saudia Heard and Kentwood’s and Brittany Woke.
Facing even tougher competition at Mount Tahoma, Fernandez was at her best as the Jaguar finished in fifth place with a jump of 35-8 3/4.
“It’s awesome. I wasn’t able to PR (personal record), but I’m happy with coming in fifth,” Fernandez said.
Woke (38-5 1/4) took the championship and Heard (38-4) finished second.