TACOMA — There was a time not long ago when Jamie Maas considered herself a distance runner.
That’s because her track and field specialty used to be the 1,600 meters. But that was before coaches at Washougal put her in the 400 meters out of necessity. And that was before new-found success followed in the 800, too.
“After some training over the summer,” Maas said, “I found that I was more successful in the 400 and the 800 than the 1,600.”
Flash forward to Friday, the second day of the 4A/3A/2A state track and field championships at Mount Tahoma Stadium, where Maas qualified for the Class 2A finals in both her races after strong preliminaries. That included a personal-best time of 2 minutes, 17.39 in the 800 — the second-best seed time — and the fourth-best seed time from the 400 meters (1:00.07). She’s one of six 2A runners to run a sub-1-minute 400 this spring — a year after primarily running in 1,600 meters as a freshman during last spring’s condensed COVID-19 track and field season.
As grueling of races the 400 and 800 can be, she finds they can go hand in hand. And that’s helped set her up for long-term success as an event newbie. Teammate Sydney Boothby also qualified for Saturday’s 800 final.
“I need a little bit of that endurance and a little bit of that sprint,” she said. “Having both the foot speed and the endurance, they both work well together.
“(Saturday) is going to be hard without a rest day, but I’m excited for it.”
FRIENDS FIRST, COMPETITORS SECOND
Prairie’s Kara Mattson and Evergreen’s Grace Twiss first began competing against each other as sixth graders.
Their final race as competitors — and friends — came in Friday’s 3A girls 100-meter hurdle final where Mattson placed third (15.53) and Twiss in sixth (15.70).
Postrace, the seniors were all smiles with congratulatory hugs. A race like that was a long time coming, too.
“I’ve been waiting to race her for four years,” Mattson said.
Said Twiss: “We push each other and make each other better.”
Neither are done competing at Star Track, either. Both have their signature events Saturday — Mattson in the long jump and Twiss in the 300 hurdles, where Twiss won her preliminary heat Friday in 45.79.
Having a successful final race feet away from each other sets them up for an even bigger finish Saturday.
“We’re going to do great,” Twiss said.
Said Mattson: ““She’ll be there for me and I’ll be there for her.”
R.A. Long’s Hewson Nguyen has been a busy athlete this week. In addition to competing at Capitol City Golf Club in Olympia at the 2A golf state championships earlier this week, Nguyen is competing in three track and field events — one each day of Star Track — at Mount Tahoma Stadium. The senior placed third in the 2A long jump Thursday and took 10th in the 2A triple jump. He’ll compete in his final event Saturday (2A javelin). Nguyen will play golf at Saint Martin’s University next year.
AROUND THE TRACK (AND FIELD): Kelso’s Josie Settle became the Greater St. Helens League’s first champion of the weekend Friday. The junior won the 3A girls triple jump (36-10). … Woodland’s 4×100 boys relay and Columbia River’s girls 4×100 relay teams are the only teams from Southwest Washington to reach Saturday’s final. The Beavers last made a state final in the 4×100 relay in 2014. The last time for the Rapids was 2015 in Class 3A. … Union’s Tobias Merriweather has the top time entering Saturday’s final in the 4A boys 200 meters. The senior ran 22.52. … Hunter Greene became the third Camas thrower at Star Track to reach the podium when he finished eighth in the 4A boys shot put (49-5). … District 4 schools (Evergreen Conference and GSHL) dominated half of the award stand in the 2A boys pole vault. Washougal’s Tanner Hardley was eighth (12-0). The 4A boys pole vault competition was suspended because of poor weather and will resume at 8 a.m. Saturday with the bar at 13-6. Skyview’s Isaiah Lewis is one of nine competitors remaining. … On a national scale, Amanda Moll of Olympia’s Capital High School, the national leader in the girls pole vault this spring, set a 3A meet record winning the 3A event (14-6). She missed all three attempts going for 15 feet.