How does Shaela Bradley, this spring’s Class 1A state champion in the 400 meters, mentally get through a pain-filled, one-lap, all-out-sprint of a race?
She thinks about chocolate ice cream. And it works every time, including her state championship-winning race last month in Cheney.
“Chocolate brownie, chocolate fudge, chocolate chips — it’s got to be something with chocolate,” the La Center High sophomore said. “That’s my go-to thing. I really feel like it helps the whole race.”
Thinking about anything but the grueling 400 meters is what helps Bradley most. What’s also impressive about Bradley, The Columbian’s All-Region girls track and field athlete of the year, is her success on the track AND in the field. She scored 24 points in three events at the 1A state meet, going 1-2-3 in the 400 meters (first, 57.57 seconds), the long jump (second, 17 feet, 11.5 inches) and the 100 (third, 12.70).
And, in spite of winning a state title in the 400, Bradley isn’t a fan of the race.
“It just sucks,” she said of the one-lap race. “There’s no other way to put it.”
Yet Bradley gets set in the blocks for the 400 at every meet. Why? She loves to compete. She won every 400-meter race she ran this spring, and winning has her coming back for more.
So does improvement.
“I hope I can do more next year,” she said. “I think I definitely can. I want to get below 56 (seconds). That would be really cool.”
Soccer is Bradley’s first love, but track and field is close behind. As last fall’s 1A Trico League MVP in soccer, Bradley now is in elite company after two seasons of high school track. She was one of 10 athletes statewide this spring, regardless of classification, who ran under 58 seconds in the 400. Her 57.57 time at state ranked eighth-best in Washington in 2022. Bradley already owns La Center school records in the 400 and 100, and she’s inches from breaking the long jump school record.
And it’s no surprise she craves more. Just like the chocolate ice cream she craves that gets her through the 400. For the record, the final 50 meters is “the absolute worst,” she said, and yet, she sees it as a plus, too.
“That’s because I feel like I have to push myself more,” Bradley said. “And I have to get to that spot where I need to go farther. I need to keep going.
“(Winning the state title) felt great. It felt really good until the pain.”
REST OF ALL-REGION TEAM
Ariel Ammentorp, Union
Nebraska-bound thrower had two personal-best marks for top-3 finishes at state in the shot put (41-3) and discus (127-4).
Dorothy Franklin, Camas
Discus specialist placed fourth at 4A state meet with a personal-best throw of 124-8.
Madison Hubbard, Camas
Held 4A’s top time in the 100 for most of the spring. Posted two top-4 finishes at 4A state meet in the 100 (12.16) and 200 (25.82).
Alexis Leone, Seton Catholic
Followed up her cross country state title in the fall with two titles on the track — 1,600 (5:06) and 3,200 (10:45.57).
Jamie Maas, Washougal
Breakout spring in the 800 led to a 2A state runner-up finish (2:15.01). Also placed fifth in the 400 (1:00.12).
Savea Mansfield, Washougal
First-year shot-putter placed second at 2A state meet (37-3.75) with a nearly 2-foot personal-best throw.
Kara Mattson, Prairie
Montana signee placed third at 3A state meet in the 100 hurdles (15.53). Also won district (long jump, 100 hurdles) and regional (long jump) titles.
Emem Ntekpere, Skyview
4A GSHL co-track athlete of the year placed fourth in the high jump (5-2) at 4A state meet, and ninth in the 300 hurdles (16.12).
Josie Settle, Kelso
3A GSHL’s track athlete of the year won the triple jump (36-10) at 3A state meet — one of four podium finishes (long jump, high jump, 300 hurdles).
Erin Tack, Kelso
Arizona signee was one of state’s top javelin throwers this spring. Placed second in javelin (146-1) and shot put (40-1) at 3A state meet.
Grace Twiss, Evergreen
District, regional champ at 300 hurdles placed third at 3A state meet (44.62). Also placed sixth at 100 hurdles (15.70).