The heat sheets list multiple competitors, but track and field athletes aren’t only going against those preparing in the adjacent lanes. It’s simultaneously a competition against themselves and their own personal records.
Against herself, Federal Way High School’s Mariyah Vongsaveng was better in the 100-meter hurdles the past two days than the three-time hurdles champion had been all season.
But in the two lanes to her right the two best times in state history were run in the high hurdles. Inglemoor senior Darhian Mills would have set a Class 4A state-meet record at 14.13 seconds if Skyline junior Brandi Hughes had not beaten her to the finish by .03 seconds for first place and a spot in the history books Friday at the state track and field championships at Mount Tahoma High School.
Vongsaveng finished third in 14.58 seconds. The two-time defending state champion in the event struggled to hold back tears afterward.
“It was a tough race,” said Vongsaveng, who was looking to become only the second in 4A state history to win three consecutive 100 hurdles titles. “No excuses.”
It figures it would take two state-meet records to beat her.
Hughes outran top-ranked Mills for the 14.1-second finish and passed the 1994 mark of 14.15 seconds set by Walla Walla’s Seville Broussard, who won five state titles in her career between the 100 and 300 hurdles events.
Hughes and Mills are good friends. They both compete on the same club team, the Seatown Express.
“One of the things I wanted was for us to be right there with each other,” Mills said. “It would have been cooler if we could have stopped, held hands and walked over the finish together.”
Hughes didn’t slow down enough to allow that to happen.
But they were so neck-and-neck with each other through the race, Hughes said their hands actually did touch about midway through the race.
“I am just really glad I got to run against her and I was able to do my best,” Hughes said.
Mills had earlier set the state-meet record in the preliminaries of the 300 hurdles at 42.06 seconds, passing Emerald Ridge graduate Kayla Stueckle’s previous record of 42.13 seconds from 2009.
Coincidentally, Stueckle’s younger sister Karlee, a freshman for Emerald Ridge, qualified for Saturday’s finals in the 300 hurdles at 45.11 seconds and took seventh in the 100-hurdle finals at 15.13 seconds.
Vongsaveng, too, qualified for the finals of the 300 hurdles. She won a state title in the event her freshman year. Mills won it last year.
Different person, same result for Federal Way.
Mason Sallee set a personal-best with a triple-jump of 47 feet, 7 inches to become the third different Federal Way track and field athlete to win the event in the past three years.
Keenan Curran won it two years ago. He’s since graduated. Tyson Penn won it last year, but he transferred to Bellevue.
Sallee, a junior, transferred to Federal Way from Thomas Jefferson after his family moved midway through his sophomore year. He placed fifth in the event behind third-place Curran and first-place Penn last year.
“Not having those two, it pushed me even more to come out here and win this,” Sallee said. “At the end of the day, they are not coming back. I just had to think about me and how I’m going to get better.
“The person who is my biggest competition is the one I look at every morning in the mirror.”
His win certainly helped Federal Way in its quest for a third consecutive year with the state boys and girls team titles, which has never occurred in state history. But the Eagles were tied for second after six events on the boys side behind South Kitsap.
Curtis and Gig Harbor are tied for first on the girls side, though Camas and Tahoma aren’t far behind. Federal Way is in eighth.
KEFFER WINS JAVELIN
Friday was finally Central Kitsap’s Hudson Keffer’s time to shine in the javelin.
His first throw soared 198-1 and that was all he needed to win his first Class 3A state title after placing second in the Class 4A division to since-graduated Denham Patricelli of Tahoma, whose now at the University of Washington, each of the past two years.
Keffer didn’t hit his season-best mark of 210 feet he set at Central Kitsap’s third meet of the season. If he would have beaten that by a foot, he would have tied the state-meet record.
“I didn’t get the marks I was looking for, but I got the title I was looking for,” Keffer said.
Curtis freshman Saudia James-Heard did not compete in the 400 on Friday because of a strained hip flexor that’s bothered her since the Pasco Invite on April 18.
She won the 4A triple-jump title Thursday and tried to compete in the long jump, but only took two jumps and finished second to last in 15th place. She was sitting in a garbage can filled with water and ice afterward and said her pain level was “over 10.”
Kentwood’s Brittany Woke won the long-jump title with a leap of 18-0 1/2. Rogers’ Jelani Heath was third and Karis Cameron of Federal Way placed fourth.
Tumwater’s Peyton Russell not only defended her Class 2A triple jump title, she set a meet record by almost two feet with a mark of 40-8. … South Kitsap sophomore Nolan VanAmen defended his 4A discus title with a mark of 165-0. That came after he won the shot put title on Thursday. ... Auburn Riverside’s Brittni Williams took second in the 3A long jump to Mountlake Terrace’s Chinne Okoronkwo, who successfully defended her state title in the event. ... Tahoma’s Ginny Mehl and Gig Harbor’s Hadassah Ward both hit 42-5½ in the 4A girls shot put, but Mehl won the state title because her next best throw was better. … Kentridge’s Tanner Connor took second to Gonzaga Prep’s Nick Johnson in the 4A boys 110 hurdles. Mount Rainier’s Aiden Baso was third.
TJ Cotterill: 253-597-8677