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Tracksters shine at state meet
"As if to put a bookend on her high school track career, Andrea McGillen soars to the state championship in the triple jump in Cheney Saturday. She last won this state event as a freshman in 1998.Rik Forschmiedt/Sound PublishingBetween them, Braden Giswold and Andrea McGillen made more trips to the top of the podium at the state track and field championships last weekend than all the South Whidbey champions during the past five years.The two seniors were both durable and speedy during the three-day meet, winning a total of four individual championships as they led the Falcon boys to second place in the team competition and the girls to third place. Running under the heat of the Eastern Washington sun in Cheney, Giswold took wins in the 1,600 and 800 meter runs, and made up one-fourth of a 4x400 relay team that not only won the state 2A championship, but that shaved nearly 1.5 seconds off the state record.McGillen reprised her 1998 win in the triple jump by taking the event for the first time since she was a freshman, then soared high to win the pole vault by a 3-inch margin. Overall, the meet was the best the two teams have had in more than a decade. Last year, the boys finished seventh as a team, while the girls were 12th. This time around, both teams traveled to the state meet with a long list of top contenders in both track and field events.In terms of generating drama, the Falcon boys had an edge over the girls team. Giswold was the center of much of that drama. After losing a sprint finish to Vashon's Owen Farcy in the 1,600 in last week's district meet, winning Friday's state mile was never a sure thing for the fastest of the team's trio of distance-running Killer Bs. But, baked by 90-degree heat, Giswold broke from the field early with Owen, countered every move his competitor made, then put him away in the final 100 meters on his way to setting a new school record of 4:18.I just wanted to win really badly, Giswold said. My plan worked.The following day in the 800, Giswold and fellow B Brett Perkins frustrated Farcy again. Giswold won the race and lowered his own school record by more than a second, while Perkins ran the best half-mile of his life to place third. Later, Killer B number three Bruce Hymas was the center of attention in the 3,200. Paced by Giswold, who was the team's distance-running ironman, Hymas caught the lead pack early in the race. When his exhausted teammate faded back to third place, Hymas stayed out front to run down a 9:51 third place.To cap the day, Andy Wills, a seventh-place finisher in the 200, and Joe Candelario - who took a surprising fourth-place finish in the 400 earlier in the day - joined Giswold and Perkins in the 4x400 final. With a wary eye on Pullman's second-seeded team, the Falcon quartet shaved 4 seconds off their preliminary heat time to win the event and set a new state record. Giswold said the relay win was the most important of the day for him.We got a state record and it was all four of us, he said.Sister act piles up pointsWhile distance running did the job for the boys team, the Falcon girls relied heavily on sister power. Senior Andrea McGillen and her freshman sister, Katy, ran and jumped their way into scoring 40 of the team's 44 points. Andrea's wins in the triple jump and pole vault, plus a third-place leap in the long jump and her role in anchoring the 4x100 relay, made her one of the winningest athletes in South Whidbey track and field history alongside distance runners Sandy Gabelein, Megan Maynard, and Leann Hymas.Her 10-9 effort in the pole vault bested her own school record, as did her 17-4 flight in the long jump. She also owns the school's triple-jump record and one-fourth of the 4x100 relay record.Katy McGillen, who has three years of high school competition left, was literally close behind her sister, at least in the long jump. Her 15-10, seventh-place jump was just 18 inches shy of Andrea's mark. She also stood out in the 100 hurdles, placing eighth. But it was in the high jump where Katy shined brightest. Her 5-2 leap was good enough to tie for second place. In the distance races, Karen Schwager and Sarah DeGraaf were South Whidbey's best. Schwager placed 10th in the 1,600, while DeGraaf was 10th in the 3,200.The remainder of the team's points came in the relay events. Lindsay Binford, Dail Bates, and Melissa Poolman joined the elder McGillen to take fifth in the 4x100. Then, Bates, Binford and Poolman got together with freshman Nicole Mock to run to fifth in the 4x200.Also competing at the meet was senior Kelli Berry, who was 16th in the javelin. "