When asked early Friday to handicap the Class 4A state boys’ track and field team championship race at next weekend’s Star Track, one head coach succinctly replied, “It’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.”
Well suddenly after the first day of the West Central/Southwest District championships at French Field in Kent, the dwarfs look a bit taller.
Based on its long list of impressive invitational victories this season, the Federal Way High Schools boys came into the postseason as the school to beat across the state.
State championships are not won on paper, and in a matter of minutes, the Eagles’ on-track fortunes took a hit.
It started in the long jump when Mike Tate, ranked second in the state (23 feet, 31/2 inches), came up with a cramp in his right hamstring, cutting his event short. His 21-9 still qualified him for the state meet, but the injury was serious enough he had to pull out of the 4×100 relay.
Inserting an alternate into their state-leading relay, the Eagles were still barreling toward a heat victory – until a late exchange snafu reversed their fortunes. They were immediately disqualified, and now out for the remainder of the postseason.
That is not to say Federal Way’s state hopes are doomed. Ezekiel McNeal posted strong qualifying marks in the 100 (10.98), 200 (22.22) and 400 (48.66).
Also, Tyson Penn (6-4) and D’Londo Tucker (6-2) finished 1-2 in the boys’ high jump. And Mitch Stewart – the defending state tennis singles’ champion – posted a personal-best time of 4:18.51 in the 1,600 to finish third, and advance to Star Track for the first time.
But one thing is for certain after Friday – Federal Way might still be the team to beat, but Wenatchee, Ferris and even defending 4A champion Gig Harbor have closed the gap.
* Add another distinguished showing to the resume of Camas High distance runner Alexa Efraimson. Her 4:58.70 in the girls’ 1,600 was one of five WCD meet records set Friday.
* The Central Kitsap duo of Michael Thomas in the boys’ 400 (48.22) and Rose Christen in the girls’ 800 (2:14.61) set new meet marks Friday.
* Beamer’s Chante Spotser went 56.02 in the girls’ 400 for a meet record. It moved her up to No. 3 in the state this season. She should see a lot of Bellarmine Prep’s Hannah Derby (57.93) on Saturday.
* The Federal Way girls blazed past state-leading Kamiakin (1:42.21) in the 4×200 relay. The Eagles went 1:42.10, also a new WCD meet mark.
* Two-time defending state 4A champion Bellarmine Prep’s 4×400 relay team posted the best time Friday – a season-best 3:59.84.