Community notebook: Vancouver woman second in Seattle Marathon

Columbia River grad Lukens does first marathon in 3:07

By Paul Danzer, Columbian community sports reporter

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The pain was a there, but Zara Lukens found her first marathon to be a mostly pleasant experience.

And not only because the Vancouver resident was the second fastest woman in Sunday’s Seattle Marathon.

“It was a lot less painful than I thought it was going to be,” Lukens said.

It was also more successful than the 22-year-old anticipated. Lukens covered the 26.2-mile course in 3 hours, 7 minutes and 3 seconds. She was 3:22 behind winner Trisha Steidl, the Seattle University men’s and women’s track and cross country coach.

Lukens was in third place two-thirds of the way through the marathon, but was aware that she was closing in on the second-place woman thanks to encouraging spectators.

“The spectators were really friendly and really involved,” Lukens said. “At points when I’d start feeling bad they’d really lift my spirits.”

Lukens graduated this spring from the University of Southern California. She is a counselor at Hudson’s Bay High School, where she works with students who are behind schedule for graduation.

At USC, Lukens competed in cross country and track and field, running the 5,000 and the 10,000. A Columbia River High School graduate, Lukens said Chieftains cross country coach Jaysun Pyatt planned her training for this marathon.

As a college senior, Lukens was team captain for the USC women’s cross country team after starting her career as a walk-on athlete. Lukens said she has long wanted to run a marathon, but was unable to do so while competing for the Trojans.

Physically, Lukens said the most noticeable difference between the marathon and the 5-kilometer races she ran in college was the type of pain. In the shorter races, the pain was sharp, but short-lived.

“This was more just a grinding, slowly progressing pain,” she said of the marathon.

Lukens said the marathon was less intense than competing for a college team.

“I like the fact that the only person who really cares how fast I run now is me,” she said.

And she wants to run faster. Her goal, she said, is to finish a marathon in under three hours.

A second-place finish, though, was a nice first marathon.

“I was happy with the way it went,” she said.

Local swimmer honored

Peggy Liang of Vancouver was honored as the Female Swimmer of the Year by Oregon Swimming.

Liang swims for the Columbia River Swim Team. In 2011 she competed at a junior national championship meet in Florida, and at a Grand Prix meet in Santa Clara, Calif.

Liang also represented the United States at the World Deaf Games in Portugal where she won three gold medals, one silver medal and a bronze medal. She was part of the women’s 800-meter freestyle relay team that set a World Deaf Games record.

Liang was also honored by Oregon Swimming with the Jon Arlin Award for Adaptive Swimmer of the Year.

Oregon Swimming is the organization in charge of competitive age-group swimming in this region.

A 2011 Mountain View High School graduate, Liang is a freshman at the University of Hawai’i.

Youth soccer teams in NWCL semifinals

Three youth soccer teams from Vancouver will play on Saturday in the semifinals of the Northwest Champions League.

The Vancouver United Soccer Alliance will be represented by a boys under-11 team and a girls under-14 team. FC Salmon Creek has a team in the girls under-12 semifinals. Saturday’s semifinal games are at Grasslawn Park in Redmond. Winners advance to championship matches on Sunday at Marymoor Park, also in Redmond.

In its second year, the Northwest Champions League is an additional league for top youth soccer clubs in Washington and Oregon.

In 2011, Northwest Champions League play consisted of three-game weekends for each team in August and in October. Top teams after those two round-robin weekends qualified for these semifinals.

Girls heading to XC junior nationals

Nine girls plan to represent the Evergreen Storm Track Team at the USA Track and Field Junior Olympics Cross Country National Championships on Dec. 10 at Myrtle Beach, S.C.

The runners qualified for the nationals during recent regional competition.

Seven of the runners are on the Storm’s youth division team for girls born in 1997-1998. They are Alexis Fuller, Cassie McKinney, Alissa Pudlizke, Maddie Woodson, Alexa Jones, Meghan Finley and Odaisa Gann.

This will be a return trip to nationals for Fuller, McKinney and Pudlizke.

COMMUNITY SPORTS NEWS is published each Tuesday. A calendar listing local events and organization is posted at Columbian.com. To submit items for publication or to be listed in the online calendar, call 360-735-4521 or send email to paul.danzer@columbian.com.