Let’s get the record straight about Karlee Stueckle – she’s still a soccer player.
But she’s also a heck of a hurdler.
The Emerald Ridge High School junior might have surprised in the 100 hurdles for her first state title on Friday at Mount Tahoma Stadium. But it’s like she’s built for the 300 hurdles – much like her older sister was.
Stueckle finished almost two seconds ahead of second-place finisher Lele Williams of Hanford, her final time being a personal-best of 42.33 seconds in Saturday’s finals.
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Williams finished in 44.22 seconds.
“It was really fun,” Stueckle said. “I was waiting for it all year, this race. And I finally did it.”
Even though she’s now halfway to her sister Kayla’s state-title haul, Karlee still considers herself a soccer player over a track and field athlete.
But soccer players winning 300 hurdles title became a bit of a state track theme because Gig Harbor’s Leahi Manthei, a Seattle University signee for soccer, won the 3A 300 hurdles title.
And Kayla Stueckle was a standout soccer player, too, before going on to win three 300 hurdles titles and a 100 hurdles title.
It’s an endurance event that’s suited well for someone who bursts back and forth on a soccer field for 80 minutes.
“It’s just making sure to keep the lead and not leave anything out there,” Stueckle said. “Making sure I give it everything I have.”
She wasn’t too far off from breaking the 4A state meet record of 42.13 seconds set by Kayla Stuekcle in 2009 and tied by Inglemoor’s Darhian Mills in 2015.
Karlee has been coached by her older sister, and she had to spend the past two years trailing Mills and 100 hurdles meet record holder Brandi Hughes of Skyline.
“I realized this could be my year,” Stueckle said. “Just trailing those other girls and seeing what it’s really like all about has made me like it a lot more.”
TJ Cotterill: 253-597-8677