For the past 40 years the Lake Washington Invitational has been the largest all-girls track and field meet in the state, and featured some of the best athletes — whether it be record sprinter Danielle Marshall, record distance runner Alexa Efraimson or jumper LaShonda Christopher.
And the Tahoma High School girls team still won the 40th annual version of this meet by almost twice as many points as the second-place school.
Ginny Mehl wondered if this isn’t foreshadowing for what her team can do at the state championships later this month.
“I just can’t wait to see what we can do,” said Mehl, who placed second in the shot put and javelin, and fourth in discus on Saturday at Lake Washington High School. Tahoma scored 62 points as a team, with Holy Names finishing second with 38.
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“It surprises me that we’re so young and we have so much more to improve on,” Mehl said. “We’re really just starting out.”
No event was more anticipated than the triple jump — featuring two reigning state champions, the meet’s record holder and two of the three best triple jumpers in the nation.
Curtis’ Alexis Ellis again broke her own state sophomore record, hitting 41 feet, 9 1/4 inches on her final jump. But that wasn’t enough.
She took second place to Mountlake Terrace senior Chinne Okoronkwo, the reigning Gatorade Washington state girls track and field athlete of the year. Last year’s 3A state champion hit 41 feet, 11 3/4.
That is the second-best mark in the nation this year, according to athletic.net, with Ellis holding the third-best mark.
Not that Ellis looked all that excited.
“I had a really big goal for today, just because of last year,” said Ellis, who set the meet record with a leap of 42-4 1/4 last year. “I just wanted to hit that again, at least. But just wasn’t my day.”
Her and Okoronkwo practice together on their club team, the Flying AJs. The crowd performed a slow clap in unison when either attempted their jump .
“We jump against each other in practice, but to jump in a meet is a whole other thing,” Okoronkwo said. “I really like when we jump against each other because it really adds to the meet and makes it more fun.”
Reigning 4A champion Saudia Heard — also from Curtis — placed fifth after hitting 36-4, which was two inches behind Emerald Ridge’s Audrey Fernandez (who also placed second in the long jump with a mark of 17-9 1/2).
Heard tried two jumps in the finals (out of three total) as she recovers from nagging injuries.
The South Sound has also featured some of the state’s best throwers. Mehl took second to Bonney Lake’s Samantha Boudreau in the shot put after Boudreau, an Eastern Washington University signee, hit 41 feet, 5 3/4 inches. Mehl hit 40 feet. Boudreau took second in the state meet last year behind Enumclaw’s KC Moulden.
Boudreau also took third in discus Saturday with a throw of 118 feet — that after setting the Bonney Lake school record with a heave of 130-4 on April 21.
But Boudreau said she was more concerned about competing against herself rather than some of the best throwers from around the state.
“I don’t compete against other people. I compete against myself,” she said. “So when I don’t’ do well for myself, I get frustrated. It was a rough day.”
Her sophomore teammate Dreakeanna “Kiki” Adair took second place with a mark of 123 feet.
Tahoma freshman Aliya “Nami” Wilson took first place in the 100 in 12.05 seconds and first in the 200 in 25.28. She also helped Tahoma’s 4x100 relay team take first place in 48.50 seconds, ahead of second-place Kent-Meridian (49.16). … Curtis’ 4x200 relay team finished first in 1:43.56. … Auburn’s Rebecca Thareek, a three-sport athlete at the school, won the high jump (5-4), was third in the 300 hurdles (15.36) and fourth in the 100 hurdles (15.27).