"Girls, boys win NCC track championships"

"In a race that came down to the lean, senior Falcon Dail Bates places second to Sultan's Kamiya by less than a nose at Friday's North Cascades Conference Championship.Matt Johnson / staff photosThough he would wind up taking the bar down on this jump, Falcon Stuart Bowers came back minutes later to clear this height in the high jump.Doug Fulton and the rest of the South Whidbey High School track and field coaching staff should be savoring every moment this spring. On Friday, both the schools boys and girls track teams defended their North Cascades Conference titles in a championship meet that forced the Falcons to throw everything they had at the competition.Most of the Falcon runners, jumpers, and throwers never stopped moving during the entire evening at the Lynden Christian High School track because they had to compete in as many as four events each. By the time darkness finally fell on the track and the last relay team had crossed the finish line, the Falcon athletes were exhausted. But they left with two NCC trophies after setting a meet record, a school record, and more than a dozen personal-best marks.It was an extremely high-quality meet, said Coach Fulton, who has watched both his teams shatter records all season long.The wins were not assured when the Falcons took the field. In the boys competition, the Falcons had to beat a Lakewood team that had the ability to sweep almost every throwing event and several of the sprints. To counter this, the South Whidbey boys loaded up the distance and middle distance events. In the 1,600, Braden Giswold, Bruce Hymas, and Brandon Bilyeu used Killer B power to sweep the top three places and to dump 24 points into the Falcons' winning total of 143. In the 800, Giswold, Brett Perkins, and Bilyeu continued buzzing along, locking up first, third, and fourth for another 21 points. The 3,200 was also a 20-point Falcon bonanza, with Giswold winning, Hymas taking third, and freshman James Sundquist stepping up to slash 10 seconds from his personal best time to place fifth.South Whidbey also scored success in the 400, where Joe Candelario beat out fellow Falcon Andy Wills for third. Wills had his own successes later, winning the 200 and placing second in the 100. To end the day, the Falcons saved the best for last and set a new school and new NCC meet record in the 4x400 relay, even though team members Giswold, Bilyeu, Perkins, and Candelario were worn down from their toughest running schedule of the year.Girls win with varietySouth Whidbey's girls took a different route to their championship. Talented in the sprints, distances, and in the field, they chalked up top-three finishes in 11 events. Senior Andrea McGillen was the team's workhorse for the day. For more than two hours, McGillen soared over the long and triple jump pits, pole vaulted, and ran the anchor leg for the 4x100 relay on her way to three individual NCC championships and the highest athlete point tally at the meet.Backing McGillen were sprinters Dail Bates, Lindsay Binford, and Melissa Poolman, who monopolized the runner-up spots, respectively, in the 100, 200, and 400, as well as McGillen's freshman sister, Katy, who placed second in the 100 hurdles and in the high jump.A surprise winner for the team was Kelli Berry, who won the javelin with the best throw by a Falcon since Keesha Kalahiki's record-setting tosses last year. Equally surprising was senior Sara DeGraaf, who lopped 20 seconds off her best time in the 3,200 as she raced to a crucial third-place finish. Her distance-running compatriot, Karen Schwager, was also spectacular in her race, the 1,600. Schwager set a career best of 5:27 on her way to fourth place.Big points also came from the relay teams. The Falcon 4x100 and 4x200 teams placed second to Sultan in both events, while the girls 4x400 team made its best run of the year to place third.The Falcons compete next at the district championship meet in Silverdale. "

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