High School Sports

Local athletes kick off Star Track XXXIV with state titles

VIDEO: Tahoma's Deszmon Humphries sets school record, wins 4A shot put title

Tahoma High School's Deszmon Humphries sets school record in shot put, edges defending champion Nolan Van Amen of South Kitsap. More about this and Star Track XXXIV.
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Tahoma High School's Deszmon Humphries sets school record in shot put, edges defending champion Nolan Van Amen of South Kitsap. More about this and Star Track XXXIV.

Kentwood High School’s Brittany Woke plans to put her first-place medal in a box.

After earning a first-place medal Thursday, Bellarmine Prep’s Jack Yearian is hoping for one more on Saturday to go with one he earned in the fall.

And Tahoma’s Deszmon Humphries is hoping he has enough time to reflect on his medal — before he goes back to working 60 hours a week outside of school.

Let Star Track XXXIV begin.

An overcast first day of the state track and field championships at Mount Tahoma Stadium produced three South Sound individual state champions.

Woke edged Curtis’ defending champion Saudia Heard for the 4A state triple jump crown in her senior year. Woke had lost to Heard last week at the 4A West Central/Southwest bidistrict championships and took third behind Heard and Curtis’ Alexis Ellis last season.

Ellis, a sophomore, owns the sixth-best mark in the nation at 41 feet, 9 1/4 inches this year, but did not qualify for the state championships because she scratched on each of her jumps at the 3A Narrows League meet.

Her teammate, Heard, saved her best jump for last, hitting 38-4, but it was a little more than an inch short of Woke’s 38-5¼.

Woke only tripped up stepping onto the winner’s podium — literally. She banged her knee.

Heard congratulated Woke as they stepped off it.

“It hasn’t really sunk in yet,” Woke said. “Do I even have the medal yet?”

She looked down to the thing hanging around her neck.

“Oh, I do. There it is,” she laughed.

Yearian’s previous season-best time in the 1,600 meters was 4 minutes, 16.97 seconds.

Despite Inglemoor’s Nick Laccinole’s efforts to keep up late, Yearian made it look easy cruising into the finish in a personal-best time of 4:07.68 to win his second consecutive 4A 1,600 title.

It was about two seconds off the 4A meet record time of Auburn Riverside’s Carl Moe — 4:05.09. Yearian now owns the 23rd fastest 1,600 time in state history.

“That went pretty much exactly like we hoped for,” Bellarmine coach Matt Ellis said. “We were really happy with today.”

But he’s going for more history Saturday.

Yearian can cement his triple crown of distance running — becoming the 14th athlete to win a 4A cross country title, 1,600 and 3,200 in the same year.

“We’re preparing for a big day,” Ellis said. “Laccinole told him he wants to go under 9 minutes (Saturday) so they’ll hopefully help each other out.”

Humphries edged Gig Harbor’s Connor Jost and South Kitsap’s Nolan Van Amen, the defending 4A state champion, in the shot put with a personal-best throw of 59-9 on his third attempt.

Not only did he win the state title with that throw, which nearly knocked him off balance (but recovered thanks to his gymnastics background, he said), but he surpassed Tahoma’s school record of 58 feet, set by his throws coach, Derek Eager. Eager threw at UCLA and holds the second-best javelin mark (230-6) in state history.

“I wanted 60 (feet). I really wanted it,” said Humphries, who will throw at the University of Montana next year. “But that was good.

“I worked really hard the past three years.”

Not just in the throw pit. He said he was working 60 hours a week between an office supplies store, landscaping and as a teacher with KinderCare before the season started to help support his family. Then he cut it back to 40 hours.

“I didn’t even know about it at first,” said Tahoma boys coach Kevin Eager, Derek’s father. “I was trying to get him to cut back his workload before state.

“It’s so special when a kid like that wins. It’s special every time.”

Jost took second with a throw of 59 feet and Van Amen was third at 58-8 1/2.

“This was a good day for me, but I guess it was a better day for everyone else,” said Van Amen, a junior who won the state discus title last year. “It’s their senior year, so it’s their time to shine. I still got next year and I got a chip on my shoulder now.”

Tahoma’s Olivia Ribera and sisters Aliya “Nami” Wilson, Alisha “Miya” Wilson and Tierra Wilson edged Curtis for the top preliminary time in the 4A 4x200 relay at 1:40.72 to Curtis’ 1:41.10.

A pair of Enumclaw relay teams took the top preliminary times. Enumclaw’s Taylor Tandecki, Juliana Brown, Aleea Gwerder and Josie Neu ran the top preliminary time in the 3A 4x200 at 1:43.69 before Gwerder and Neu combined with Sarah Meeker and Taliah Olson for the top time in the 4x400 at 3:57.31.

Bonney Lake’s 4x400 relay team of Mykel Fisher, William Glick, Eric Voellger and Bennett Hillier edged Lincoln for the top preliminary time at 3:21.86.

TJ Cotterill: 253-597-8677, @tjcotterill