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Berger sets record in shot put for South Whidbey
South Whidbey’s small team was made smaller by Thursday’s track-and- field meet at Woolsey Stadium.
Illness and injury kept five Falcons from competing in the meet against Cedarcrest, Granite Falls and King’s, the host school. South Whidbey’s track-and-field head coach Doug Fulton said some of his missing athletes could have competed, but he elected to reserve them for Saturday’s Tomahawk Invitational at Marysville-Pilchuck High School.
One Falcon who was ill -— but not out — was senior hurdler Sylvie Kaul-Anderson.
Kaul-Anderson was sick earlier in the week and she missed practices, which hindered her preparation for Thursday’s meet. Still, she finished third in the 100-meter hurdles in 18.52 seconds — her third fastest time of the season.
“I’m trying to get back up to where I was last year, but I still don’t have it,” Kaul-Anderson said. “But, I feel it was an OK race.”
Ideally, she hurdles with a three-step technique between each jump. On Thursday, the three-step was a bit off.
“I have a three-step, and I could do it last year,” she said. “But now, around the seventh hurdle I lose it and I have to stutter. This time, I only stuttered once.”
“I think it’s in my head,” Kaul-Anderson added. “I know I can do it from last year; I have to work it out somehow.”
Kaul-Anderson set her season-best time and finished fourth in the 300-meter hurdles in 54.43 seconds — one second off of her personal record. The 300 hurdles are a secondary event for her, though.
There were other impressive performances, as well.
Sophomore thrower Angelina Berger set South Whidbey’s shot put record with a throw of 38 feet, 5.25 inches.
“I was really excited just because I made the school record and I get a cheeseburger,” Berger said.
She beat her previous best throw by 3 feet, 3.25 inches and outthrew the competition by almost 9 feet. She couldn’t identify what changed in her throwing motion that led to the school-record throw.
“I guess I looked more powerful,” Berger said. “I was really relaxed. I got it in my head that I can do it.”
Berger again won the shot put and the discus events, and placed second in the javelin.
Her discus throw of 105 feet, 2 inches was her second-best of the season and beat King’s senior thrower Alex Ballenger’s best throw by 8 inches.
In the javelin, Berger threw under 100 feet for only the third time this season with a mark of 99 feet, 5 inches.
Fellow Falcon thrower senior Kelsey Engstrom returned after missing the Westling Invite and placed third in the shot put at 29 feet, 9.25 inches.
On the boys team, senior jumper Will Hallberg continued his state-qualifying quest. He set a personal record in the long jump at 22 feet, 5.25 inches — good for first place. After his first jump, he moved his mark forward to run full speed through the launch board.
“It felt great,” Hallberg said. “Always you want to PR, but my ultimate goal would be to get into the 23s because that would be a school record.”
The returning state champion triple jumper finally had competition. Hallberg’s triple jump at 46 feet, 6.50 inches was his season’s best and was one inch short of tying his personal record.
“It’s been kind of dull as far as competition goes,” Hallberg said, “and triple jump is one of those events where you kind of have to have an adrenaline rush going.”
The competition was better, but the triple jump was still Hallberg’s by leaps and bounds. King’s senior Curtis Clauson, the second-place finisher, set a mark of 43 feet, 0.50 inches.
Falcon freshman thrower Nick French set a personal record in the javelin at 152 feet, 9 inches and placed fourth. Senior distance runner Emily Martin also set a personal record, but in the 800-meter run at 2 minutes, 25.47 seconds, and took second place.
In previous meets, Martin also raced in the 400-meter race, which typically runs prior to the 800. Focusing only on the 800 boosted Martin’s time on Thursday.
“This time I was completely fresh,” Martin said. “I got up fast and was in front, which scared me a lot in the beginning, but then I kept trying to hold on.”
Martin also pole vaulted and was one of six vaulters who cleared 6 feet, 6 inches and scratched on three tries at 7 feet.
“I was kind of off today, I don’t know why,” Martin said. “Everyone seemed off today.”
Some noticeable absences were sophomore distance runner Lillianna Stelling, who was out sick, and Ben Saari, who had a calf injury. Despite the injury, Saari ran the 1600-meter relay but didn’t race in his usual distance runs.
The Falcon track-and-field team competes in the Tomahawk Invite at Marysville-Pilchuck High School today.