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Track teams hit stride in season closers

"Taking not a moment to rest before their conference championship meet this week, the South Whidbey High School boys and girls track teams ran a grueling three-meet schedule last week.As if to prove that it was no big deal, the Falcon runners, jumpers, and throwers posted over a dozen personal and season bests, and two new school records. The Falcon freshmen started the week at a frosh-only meet Monday and Wednesday in Everett. Andy Wills and Brandon Bilyeu were the headliners for the boys, with Wills winning the 200 and 400 dashes and Bilyeu taking blue in the 1600 and 800. Bilyeu's 4:33.3 mile was the best ever by a South Whidbey freshman, three seconds faster than the old record set by current varsity mile-record holder Braden Giswold.In the girls meet, Kelly Horn was a placer in the triple jump, discus, and high jump, while Julie Gabelein took fifth in the 3200. Horn made a personal best 32-0 triple jump to earn her placing, while Gabelein ran a career best 12:25.On Thursday, the Falcons took full teams to a North Cascades Conference quadrangular at Lynden Christian, where they -- for the most part -- ran down the Blaine, Meridian, and the home team. The lady Falcons won the meet to post a 12-0 NCC record for the season. The boys fell just short of the girls' achievement, placing second to the Lyncs for an NCC record of 11-1.Junior Andrea McGillen was the big point getter for the Falcons, setting an 8-foot, 6-inch school record on her way to the win in the pole vault. She also won the triple jump and long jump, and was one-fourth of the winning 4x100 and 4x200 relays. Freshman Caitlin Robinson ruled the hurdles, winning the 100 highs in a personal best 17.0 and the 300s in 51.3. Other winners were Dail Bates in the 200, and Jessie Enell in the 800.Short an injured Bruce Hymas and resting Brandon Bilyeu and Andy Wills, the boys nonetheless made a good run at the meet win. Jessie Ellison started things right, running a season-record 11.3 to win the 100 dash. The surprise winner of the meet was senior Chris Ford. Having failed to make a single height all season in the pole vault, Ford soared to victory in the event on a 13-foot effort. He even threatened the school record of 13-7 in a later jump, but just upset the bar on his fall into the jump pit. Also scoring first-place points for the boys were Matt Steiner in the Long jump and the discus, and Braden Giswold in the 800.Though he could hardly hope for more success in the 800 after Thursday's win, Giswold ran a career race in the event at Saturday's Stanwood Invitational. Breaking from the field early, he won the event in 1:56.4, taking down Dean Hatt's 31-year-old record in the process. Additional contributions to the team's fifth-place finish in the meet came from a winning 4x100 team, a runner-up 4x400 team, and Brett Perkins, Brandon Bilyeu, and Matt Steiner, each placing fifth in their respective 1,600-meter, 3,200-meter, and long jump events.Unable to muster as much firepower as the boys, the girls performers still squeezed out several fine finishes. Junior Dail Bates was sixth in the 100 with a 13.0 career best, and Caitlin Robinson was seventh in the 100 hurdles with a 16.9 personal record. Robinson later placed fifth in the 300 hurdles. In the high jump, Kelly Horn was a placer, clearing 4-10.With the regular season at a close, the Falcons start their postseason at this week's NCC championships. Both the boys and girls teams race for the championship in Friday's finals at Lakewood High School."

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