SHELTON – Two of the state’s elite 400-meter runners – Foss’ Marcus Chambers and Tumwater’s Andrew Brown – squared off for the final time on a high school track Saturday.
Because both compete for different classifications, Chambers in Class 3A and Brown in Class 2A, large invitationals like Saturday’s 53rd edition of the Shelton Invitational are when the two friends get to race off against each other.
Chambers easily won the 400 in 48.31 seconds, running the one-lap race for the first time since achieving a personal-best time of 46.62 at the Arcadia Invitational in California April 6.
Brown, who said afterward he went out with one of the fastest starts he’s ever had, ran out of steam in the final 50 meters after Chambers caught him with 150 meters to go and finished third (48.91).
This won’t be the last time they race, though. Starting next spring as collegiate runners, they’ll race as Pacific-12 Conference sprinters for Oregon (Foss) and Washington (Brown).
“We’re friends, but when we’re on the track, we’re competitors,” Chambers said. “We want to beat each other. I knew I had to give it all I could to make sure I won.”
Brown was looking for a personal-best time running against Chambers, who has beaten Brown now four out of five 400 races in their careers. Chambers swept the sprints, also taking the 100 (11.06) and 200 (22.32).
“I didn’t run a good race,” Brown said. “It was an off day.”
Gig Harbor, led by a sweep in the jumps by Utah-bound senior Courtney Jost, won the combined team title with 120 points. Central Kitsap was second with 85, followed by Bellarmine (72.50), Hoquiam (59) and Tumwater (57) to round out the top five scores in the 44-team event.
Three meet records were set Saturday: Tumwater’s Brooke Feldmeier broke the 10-year-old girls 400-meter time, finishing in 56.66 seconds, topping Bellarmine Prep’s Hannah Derby (58.44), the defending Class 4A state champion in the event; Northwest Christian’s Karen Bulger smashed the previous girls javelin meet record by 18 feet on her way to a first-place mark of 152 feet, 5 inches; and Central Kitsap’s Rose Christen won the girls mile in a meet-record time of 5:01.97.