Keller shatters 4A state meet javelin record

By Greg Jayne, Columbian opinion editor

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TACOMA — Who would have guessed that pink socks are the secret to a successful javelin throw?

Well, maybe not the secret. Maybe more like a superstition. But it has paid off for Heritage junior Sean Keller.

“I don’t know. At the beginning of the year I started wearing them,” Keller said. “And it’s been working for me.”

Has it ever.

Keller broke the meet record and won the javelin title Saturday at the Class 4A state track and field meet at Mount Tahoma High School with a mark of 220 feet, 6 inches.

He shattered the previous mark of 208-4 on his first attempt, and turned the rest of the meet into a coronation rather than a competition.

“There’s pressure, because everyone is expecting you to win, but it’s motivation, too,” Keller said.

After finishing third in state last year, Keller has evolved into the top thrower in the nation. He has consistently surpassed the 220-foot mark, and his season best of 232-1 is 20 feet better than anybody in the country.

That made the state meet a forgone conclusion.

“I came in trying to break the state record again,” Keller said. “But, yeah, I’m very happy.”

Sam Ferenchak, a senior from Union, was happy, as well.

Entering the competition as the No. 9 seed based on qualifying marks at regional meets, Ferenchak finished second with a toss of 195-6.

“My first two throws weren’t that great,” he said, “so my third throw I thought, ‘this might be my final throw in high school.’ ”

Instead, he delivered a throw that set a personal record, broke the school mark, got him into the finals, and held up for second place.

“I was hoping for maybe fourth or fifth,” Ferenchak said. “This feels great.”

In other highlights from the Class 4A meet:

photoSkyview's Rachel McQuivey runs her way to a state title in the 300 hurdles at the 4A State Track and Field Championships at Mount Tahoma High School in Tacoma on Saturday.

(/The Columbian)

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• Rachel McQuivey won the girls 300 hurdles.

“Once I finished, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I won state,’ ” the Skyview senior said.

McQuivey ran a personal-best of 43.34 seconds, landing on the top step of the podium after second-place finishes in Friday’s 100 hurdles and last year’s 300 hurdles.

The race set up as a battle between McQuivey and Erin Allen from Inglemoor of Kenmore, who finished second in 43.80.

“I think I caught her on the corner,” McQuivey said. “That’s when I powered through and thought, ‘I can do this.’

“It’s unbelievable. It’s amazing what the effort of three years can do.”

• They didn’t set a record, but the Skyview boys 1,600 relay team still turned in a dominating performance in winning their event.

“My whole life I’ve been running track,” said Oliver Tamis, who ran the leadoff leg. “To have a team that makes a name for Skyview, it’s incredible.”

Tamis and second-leg runner Ellis Henderson had Skyview close to the lead, and Kevin Boyd blew past the Richland runner coming out of the first turn on the third leg. Skyview never looked back as anchor-leg runner Brad Michael brought home the title.

The Storm finished in 3:19.79, a couple seconds off the school record they set in the preliminaries, and well off their stated goal of the state record set last year by Federal Way.

They didn’t mind.

“I think we wanted to break the state record,” Henderson said. “But we’re much happier that we could achieve our goal, and that’s win a state championship.”

Kent Meridian was second in 3:22.59.

• A glance at the 400-meter results would have pegged Skyview as the favorite in the relay. Michael finished second, and Boyd was third.

“I thought I had him a little bit,” said Michael, who finished in 48.46, behind the 48.30 by Byron Howell from Garfield of Seattle.

• The Skyview girls and boys teams both finished fourth in the team race.

The boys team had 34 points, while Kent Meridian won the title with 45.

The Skyview girls, buoyed by a second-place finish in the 1,600 relay, had 39 points, while Kentwood of Covington won the title with 66 points.