Mariyah Vongsaveng felt her leg cramp bounding over the sixth hurdle with about 100 meters left in Friday’s 300-meter hurdles race.
As if that was going to stop her.
The senior for the Federal Way High School girls track and field team fell to her hands and knees after crossing the finish line and had to be helped to a trainer’s table. But she still finished with a season-best time of 44.42 seconds to take first in her heat and second overall behind Emerald Ridge’s Karlee Stueckle on Friday in the 4A South Puget Sound League championships at French Field in Kent.
“I’ve learned from past experiences,” Vongsaveng said. “I don’t give up. If I die at the finish line, I’ll die trying. I’m never not going to cross the finish line. I will always cross the finish line. No matter what.”
It was nothing she hadn’t done before.
Vongsaveng crashed to the ground at the 4A state championships two years ago when she hit the opening turn in the preliminaries for the 300 hurdles. Her foot clipped the first hurdle.
When most would have been too devastated to finish strong, the three-time state hurdles champion got up, passed multiple competitors and placed third to qualify for the state finals.
She said she is worried about the cramp in her leg that bothered her again Friday, like it did in the 4x100 relay and 100 hurdles on Wednesday. But certainly not scared.
“It hurt really bad. On a scale from 1 to 10 it was about a 7,” Vongsaveng said. “It was very tight. But this is my senior year. And I want to keep on going all the way to state.”
The top 11 from each event advanced to the 4A West Central/Southwest bidistrict meet next week, also at French Field.
And Vongsaveng wasn’t the only Federal Way athlete nursing an injury. So was sprinter Jason Palmer, who has been hampered by a strained right quadriceps suffered at the Oregon Relays. He placed 13th in the 200 on Friday with a time of 23.31, missing the district cut.
But Palmer will move on in the 400 after placing ninth in 51.97 seconds on Wednesday. He placed third in the 400 at the state meet last year.
“After the injury I could barely walk or go up stairs,” Palmer said. “But I still think I can get to state in the 400.”
Decatur junior Parris Watson won the SPSL shot put title with a mark of 40 feet, 11/2 inches two days after also taking the discus title. And she was named the SPSL Northwest Female Athlete of the Year later in Friday’s meet.
All, she says, because she took a leap of faith and joined Decatur’s girls wrestling team this year.
Samuel Hunt coaches both the wrestling and the track and field teams at Decatur, so he persuaded Watson to try wrestling for the first time this year.
“Me, I’m not an aggressive person. I’m a friendly giant,” said Watson, laughing. “I was like, ‘I really don’t want to hurt anyone.’ So I was really skeptical of it.”
But it helped her get faster and keep in shape for track. That’s helped her in the ring in both discus and shot put.
“The whole point of it was for track, but I enjoyed it so much,” Watson said. “I’m actually going to go back to doing it next year.”
ONE OR THE OTHER
Here’s a problem.
Tahoma’s Delaney Tiernan qualified for the 4A West Central/Southwest bidistrict meet in the 3,200, 1,600 and the 800, taking first in the latter two and second to teammate Alice Jensen in the 3,200.
But she’s not going to run all three next week. Not with a preliminary for the 800. That’d be too much.
“I really cannot pick between the 800 and the 3,200,” Tiernan said. “I love them both, and especially after my 800 race today it’s going to be really tough to decide which one of those to run.”
She ran both the 800 and 3,200 on Friday after winning the 1,600 on Wednesday in 5 minutes, 5.49 seconds. She ran the 800 in 2:15.72 (now one of the top-10 times in the state) and the 3,200 in 11:14.06, with Jensen finishing in 10:47.77.
Mount Rainier’s Aiden Basco hit a season-best time in the 300 hurdles, finishing in 37.40 seconds. That moves him from the No. 2 time to No. 1 in the state. … Tahoma’s Olivia Ribera ran the 200 in 24.89 seconds to jump from No. 3 in the state to No. 1.