TACOMA — On the brightest stage and the final event of the Class 4A/3A/2A state track and field championships Saturday, the Camas Papermakers’ girls 1,600 relay team was overcome with emotions.
“It was so many emotions all in one race,” said Amara Harris, the Papermakers’ third leg.
Post-race, too, as the Papermakers fell to the turf in celebration at Mount Tahoma High School, winning the Class 4A girls 1,600 in 3 minutes, 58.00 seconds. It’s the second girls 1,600 state title for Camas, joining the 2009 team that won Class 3A.
What made this victory special for Camas is more than the program’s second state title in a girls 1,600 relay and clocking their fourth sub-4-minute time of the spring for another personal best.
The win came on a come-from-behind effort all race. Anchor leg Eliisa Marshall passed two runners late, then chased down Eastlake’s Ava Hagwell in the race’s final meters to cap the comeback.
“I saw the finish line,” Marshall said, “and I knew how important this was. Our team had fought for this the whole track season. It’s the adrenaline that got me through the last 100 (meters).”
Said Rebecca Peddie: “Eliisa is always so competitive. She can track a person down and go after her. She’s a great anchor; we love each other so much.”
Earlier in the day, Kalei Moravitz, the second leg, and Marshall had their individual finals in the 400 and 800. Then, collectively, Peddie, Moravitz, Harris and Marshall came together for their final race in what’s been a dominant season.
Since their first race together April 22, Saturday marked the quartet’s fourth time to run under 4 minutes. They also ran together at more prestigious meets, such as Oregon Relays in Eugene and Nike Twilight in Portland.
Saturday, though, was their first come-from-behind victory. With each handoff of the baton, the Papermakers closed the gap and gained ground.
As Harris said, emotions were all over in the race. That’s only partly what makes this relay team special, the Papermakers said.
The feeling afterward makes it all worth it.
“We’ve really put our all into it,” Moravitz said, “and it’s been really rewarding. The feeling afterward makes it all worth it.”
Washougal’s Boothby gets her title
Washougal’s Sydnee Boothby had a similar down-to-the-wire finish winning the 2A girls 800 to start the day (2:16.59). Hours later, she finished runner-up in the 3,200 (11:05.16) behind Jessica Frydenlund’s state meet record time (10.40.15). For the weekend, Boothby accounted for 26 of Washougal’s 30 team points.
Usually not known for her finishing speed, Boothby found an extra kick in the final meters to edge North Kitsap’s Salix Wartes-Kahl (2.16:96) and Tumwater’s Annabelle Clapp (2:17.88).
“I’ve been looking for a PR all season, and the conditions were perfect today,” Boothby said during the morning’s overcast conditions.
Boothby runs the 800, 1,600, 3,200 and also anchors Washougal’s 1,600 relay. The senior uses the 800 for training in the 1,600 and longer distances, “and it almost turned out to be my better event.”
Kelso gets 2 more titles including 3A team crown
A perfect race may not exist, but Josie Settle ran her near-perfect race Saturday to capture the 3A girls 300 hurdles state title (43.59). The title came less than 24 hours after winning the 100 hurdles Friday.
“It’s crazy,” Settle said. “It’s a second faster than my PR. … I pushed so hard around the corner to get my steps right. The only thing that was a mishap was the last hurdle, but I was completely fine with that because I completely ran my butt off around the corner.”
Settle, the 2022 triple jump champion, placed third (36-10.50) in that event Saturday. For the weekend, she tallied 32 of Kelso’s 53 team points to help the Hilanders win their first 3A title in girls track and field. The Kelso boys won a state title in 1984.
After taking home third place in 2022, longtime coach Joe Krieder beamed about his girls team taking home “the grand prize.”
“I can’t say enough about all of them,” Krieder said. “They come to practice every day and work so hard and are dedicated to the sports. They do other sports, but when it’s track season, this is what they do and I’m so excited that they got to show everybody and bring home a state trophy. It’s special.”
Settle wasn’t the only Hilander to win an individual title Saturday. Teammate Ruby Sereday won the javelin (130-4) and Rielee Gourde placed fifth. Sereday (shot put) and Gourde (pole vault) also earned team points in other events.
Catching up with the runners-up
Redemption never felt so good for Ridgefield hurdler Isaiah Cowley. After what he called a slip-up the final meters that led to Friday’s sixth-place finish in the 100 hurdles, he came back Saturday to run a school-record 39.31 time to place second in the 300 hurdles.
“I was hungry after that one,” said Cowley, who plans to play football and do track at Iowa Western Community College. “I was working really hard all season and a slip-up like that in the last couple meters broke my heart. But I came out here (Saturday) and worked my hardest and got it done.
When it comes to a big event like this, there’s always fast guys around to push me and this is what happened.”
Fort Vancouver’s Leibreena Vaiotualemoso-Fesili called it a blessing to place second in the 2A girls shot put (38 feet). Although she’s also using it as fuel for 2024, too.
“I know I’ve got things to work on next year,” she said. “Although I wish I made first (place), it’s still a blessing because it’s my first year coming up to state.”
Vaiotualemoso-Fesili had the best mark this season, albeit a late start. The junior worked hard on her grades, then turned out for track in April. By late-April, she was the state leader at 39-4.50.
“I had to get that mindset in,” she said. “That’s a lesson for me. I’m glad I got to experience this.”
Camas pole vaulter Chase McGee vaulted a personal-best 14-9 to make it back-to-back days of runner-up finishes by the Papermakers in the field.
The Ridgefield girls 400 relay led a 2-7-8 2A GSHL finish Saturday. Anchored by fourth-place 100-meter placer McKenna Calkins, the Spudders ran 49.40. Fort Vancouver (51.15) and Columbia River (51.16) were seventh and eighth, respectively.