All these athletes wanted was a little sunshine.
So maybe there’s little coincidence that the temperature at Mount Tahoma Stadium went up and state records fell.
Aliya “Nami” Wilson sure loved it. And she put on one of the most dazzling performances in state meet history, setting meet records in the 100-meter dash and with Tahoma High School’s 4x100 relay team at the WIAA state track and field championships on Friday.
“We thought we would do well because we did the last one in California,” said Wilson, a sophomore. “So now we’re like, ‘We’ve been getting a little bit of that California here, so maybe something is going to happen.’ ”
And she’s just getting started.
Those were the preliminary heats for each event. She gets to come back tomorrow and try to best those times and win a state title.
It wasn’t just Wilson who enjoyed the heat.
The state records to fall on Friday:
▪ Shadle Park’s Jakobe Ford secured back-to-back state titles and broke the state meet’s high jump record, hitting 7 feet, 2½ inches, toppling a mark that stood for 39 years after Pateros’ Terry Ellis hit 7-2¼ in 1978.
▪ Union’s defending 400 champion Jai’lyn Merriweather broke the state meet record in Friday’s prelims, finishing in 53.83 seconds. She obliterated the previous mark set in 2005 by Rogers of Spokane’s Becca Noble (54.14). Gig Harbor’s Ericka Harris still holds the overall state record set in 1981 (51.45).
▪ Bellarmine Prep’s Kelee Ringo broke the state overall freshman record in the 100, running his prelim in 10.58 seconds to enter Saturday’s finals with the top time. Wenatchee’s Isaiah Brandt-Sims held the previous record of 10.72.
▪ River Ridge’s Josh Braverman won the 2A boys 110 hurdles title in 14.07 seconds to break the former 2A meet record set by White River’s Devin Liebel in 2013 (14.17).
▪ Rodrick Fisher from Spokane’s East Valley broke the 2A meet record in the 100, running the fastest time of the day, 10.48 seconds, of any classification. That broke the 2014 meet record set by Ephrata’s Jonathan Green and is approaching the overall meet record set by Ellensburg’s Ja’Warren Hooker in 1997 (10.35).
▪ Cheney’s Alsatta Bakana broke the 19-year-old 2A meet record in the 200, breaking the record set by Steilacoom’s Alexis Yeater and finishing the prelim in 24.48 seconds.
But Wilson maybe had the most impressive day.
She started it by running her 100 heat in 11.49 seconds to topple the previous record of 11.61 seconds set by Lake Washington’s Danielle Marshall in 1992 . Marshall’s overall state record of 11.36 still stands (she set that in Sacramento, California).
But later, Wilson anchored Tahoma’s 4x100 relay team, which ran a 46.32-second time in Arcadia, California, on April 8 to break Federal Way’s 2014 state record time of 46.90.
But that was in California. Wilson and her sisters, Tierra, Miya and Olivia Ribera wanted to set the record in Washington — on a stage for all the locals to see.
So they ran a prelim time of 46.07 seconds — almost a full second faster than that 2014 Federal Way relay team.
“It’s a Washington state record in Washington, at state,” Nami said.
“We are relieved that we broke it again,” said Tierra, a senior. “We can breathe again. Now we want to try to get into 45. That’s our goal.”
Emerald Ridge’s Karlee Stueckle didn’t set a record — but came pretty close.
She’s now the second Stueckle to win a state hurdles title, joining her sister Kayla after finishing in a personal-best time of 14.24 seconds. And it wasn’t far off of the 4A meet record Skyline’s Brandi Hughes set two years ago at 14.10.
But she’s hoping to break Kayla’s 4A meet record in the 300 hurdles on Saturday, which is her best event. She said she was surprised to do so well in the 100 hurdles.
“(Kayla) has always said that if anybody were to break her records, she’d want it to be me,” Stueckle said. “She has been pushing me to do better and pushing me to go for it.”
Nolan Van Amen was hoping to make state history — become the first member of the four-time state discus champions club. But after winning his second 4A state shot put title on Thursday, beating Skyview’s Connor Jensen, Jensen then got the best of him on Friday — winning with a throw of 183-7, to Van Amen’s 171-2.
Van Amen already had the most 4A state throwing championships (two in shot put, three in discus) entering Friday in state history. But he wanted six.
“To make history by winning four in a row would have been crazy,” he said. “But you can’t win everything.”
“I’ve worked so hard for this, though,” Jensen said. “I’ve lost to him every year since eighth grade.”
Kentridge’s Tyler Cronk and Rogers’ Jelani Heath entered Friday as nationally-ranked jumpers and they ended the day with state titles.
Cronk, a junior, won his first high jump title (winning at 6-9, despite owning the third-best mark in the nation at 7-2, set lat week). Heath, a University of North Carolina-bound junior, won her second consecutive 4A girls long jump title, leaping 19-10¼. Last week she jumped 19-11 (tied for the 12th-best mark nationally).
Bonney Lake’s Cody Miller won the 3A 110 hurdles title, finishing in a personal-best time of 14.37 seconds — after placing third last year.
Pole vault hasn’t been kind to South Sound athletes. But Fife’s Madison Licari became the second girl from the region to win a 2A state pole vault title, and the first since Black Hills’ Heidi Dorling won 10 year ago.
And Tahoma’s Ginny Mehl is still looking for her first state throwing title. She placed second in the 4A discus behind Moses Lake’s Elly Johnson after she took second in the javelin behind Sumner’s Rhaven Dean on Thursday. But she owns the best mark in the state this year in shot put and she’ll compete in the finals for that event on Saturday.
She was the only athlete in the state last year to place in the top three in the shot put, javelin and discus.
Bellarmine’s Ringo set the freshman state record, breaking Brandt-Sims’ mark just a week after breaking Michael Rector’s school record. Rector was recently signed as an undrafted free agent by the Detroit Lions from Stanford and Brandt-Sims currently attends Stanford.
But Curtis’ Izaiah Fields also set a personal-record in the 4A 100, finishing in 10.60 seconds. Lakes’ Dorien Simon and Zarrion Hill are the top two seeds entering Saturday’s finals in the 3A 100.
Lakes’ 4x100 relay enters Saturday’s 3A finals after running the second-fastest prelim time behind Gig Harbor. And Curtis’ 4x100 enters as the top prelim time for Saturday, just ahead of Sumner, which has Stanford-bound football player Connor Wedington. Wedington did not qualify for the finals in the 100.
Tahoma’s Miya Wilson helped Tahoma’s relay team break the state record, then she finished second in the 4A long jump finals. The sophomore also finished third in the 4A triple jump finals on Thursday.
Jordan Whitford contributed to this story