Several Emerald Ridge High athletes reached the podium over the weekend at Star Track XXIV at Mount Tahoma Stadium, but none stepped higher than sophomore Karlee Stueckle.
First up for Stueckle was the Class 4A girls 100-meter hurdles on Friday afternoon, and she took fifth place with a time of 15.04 seconds.
“I’m happy with it, but I’m not looking back. Just focusing on (Saturday),” Stueckle said.
On Saturday, with a much tougher 300 hurdles race looming, Stueckle was at her best. But as the sophomore hit the final three hurdles, she was unable to catch up to eventual state winner Brandi Hughes of Skyline. Stueckle finished with a time of 44.9 seconds. Hughes’ state-winning time was 44.02 seconds, as the Skyline senior swept both girls hurdles events.
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“I turned over a couple hurdles sideways, and I didn’t get out that great,” Stueckle said. “But the headwind wasn’t too great either. (The wind) definitely played a factor in starting and making it over the hurdle.”
Stueckle wasn’t the only Jaguar to reach the podium in 300 hurdles, as teammate Mareonna Henderson took sixth place with a time of 47.58. Rogers’ Essence Foster came in eighth (51.55).
Brandon Swanson placed fifth in the 4A boys high jump after clearing 6 feet, 4 inches, and Emerald Ridge’s girls 4x400 relay finished in seventh place (4:05.01).
Kastama boosts strength
Puyallup’s Rachel Kastama learned a cruel lesson at her last state track meet when the then-junior’s body broke down over the three-day meet. After the season, Kastama discovered she was anemic and lacked the ability to produce the proper amount of iron in the blood cells.
So vitamins and extra iron supplements were added — all with the purpose of keeping her energy levels up.
“Last year, I was really anemic and I didn’t produce enough iron. So I started taking iron pills,” Kastama said. “This year I started getting my PRs (personal records) because I had more energy racing.”
It paid off in arguably the meet’s most grueling event, the 4A girls 3,200 race, where Kastama was able finish in second place with a time of 10:45.63, which set a new school record.
“When I was racing, I was like, ‘Ugh, why won’t this be over already?’” Kastama joked. “It just feels great. I feel so proud of myself. I can’t believe I got second. I told my mom I was going to get 10 (minutes), 45 (seconds) — five seconds faster than my PR.”
She did just that as only Lake Stevens freshman Taylor Roe (10:21.51) outpaced Kastama in the race.
Kastama’s teammate, Grace Bley, finished her prep career by placing in the 400, as the senior took eighth place with a time of 59.11.
“I’m just happy I was able to make it to state these past few years,” Bley said. “I couldn’t be happier with my career than making it here and placing.”