Sports

Throwers, distance runners lead Falcon medalists at Turk track meet

Anna Hood gains on the Granite Falls 800-meter relay team
Anna Hood gains on the Granite Falls 800-meter relay team's lead on Thursday at Sultan High School.
— image credit: Ben Watanabe / The Record

SULTAN — Despite withholding several athletes in preparation for the Holder Relays on Saturday, South Whidbey’s track and field squad mustered a handful of first-place finishers at the Cascade Conference track meet Thursday.

The Falcon boys squad finished last among four teams, and the girls team was a distant third. Cedarcrest won the boys’ team title, and Sultan claimed the girls’. Falcon head coach Doug Fulton said several athletes were sick, including 2A-leading thrower Angelina Berger, a sophomore who leads in the javelin, is second in the shot put and fourth in the discus.

South Whidbey’s healthy athletes, however, set personal records. Falcon distance runner Cole Zink beat his previous best time in the 1,600 meter by two seconds (his new time is 4:57). Zink, a freshman, edged ahead of Sultan senior James Nelson at the finish line to win by less than one second.

“Fulton told me I kind of died at the end. I need to pick it up at the last end of it,” Zink said. “I had (Nelson) by a little bit, but then I know I heard him coming up behind me and I was like, ‘Oh no, no, no.’”

“I did pretty good at pacing the splits. I need to work on my endurance and speed.”

On the girls team, junior Lillianna Stelling won the 800-meter race in her first attempt at the event. Her time of 2:39 is one of her slowest, though her main event is the mile, which she did not run. Her teammate Nora Felt was close behind with a time of 2:42, her best 800-finish this season. Felt, also a junior, was on the 1,600-meter relay team with Stelling that won first place, along with Terra Wildon and Sylvie Kaul-Anderson, in 4:43.

A pair of Falcon throwers claimed titles in the shot put and javelin. Falcon senior Colton Justus won the shot put with his shortest throw of the season at 36 feet, 8.5 inches.

“I didn’t feel very good, actually,” Justus said. “I got a couple cramped muscles right now. It just wasn’t a good day.”

Maybe the pouring rain and hard wind had something to do with it?

“I guess I can make that my excuse,” he said.

In the javelin, Falcon sophomore Nick French continued his upward arc toward the top of the 2A competition. French vaulted to the top of the state’s 2A standings with a toss of 178 feet, 3 inches, beating his previous best throw by more than three feet. Despite setting a new career mark for himself, French said he was, “a little disappointed” with the toss, which was his first one of the day.

“I thought I could get it to midfield at least. It was a PR so I guess I’m happy,” French said.

French’s approach, grunt and throw caught the attention of several bystanders who had been watching tosses land at 98, 95 and 77 feet by other competitors. His next marks were scratched because he crossed the throwing line. French was OK with the other throws not being counted.

“They were all in the 150s, so they weren’t worth measuring,” he said.

He credited his javelinic rise to conditioning during school for his physical education credit. French, who was the starting quarterback in the fall, is in a weight lifting class with his teacher and football coach Mark Hodson.

“I’m getting stronger every week. Obviously my form’s getting better,” French said.

The Falcons had three javelin throwers finish in the top 10. Falcon sophomore Andy Madsen took fifth place with a toss of 128 feet, and Justus finished in seventh at 106 feet, 8 inches.

“My head’s just not in it today,” Justus said.

French had to hurry from the javelin throws, done one after another, after another, to the 400-meter relay. The event was waiting for him, so he didn’t have time to change into sprinting spikes from his casual running shoes. The Falcon relay squad finished in fourth place.

“I have javelin boots but you can’t run in those,” French said.

“It’s freezing out here, so I can’t get completely warm.”

South Whidbey traveled to Yakima today to compete in the Don Holder Relays. The all-division meet was the focus for Fulton, who wanted to keep his athletes’ legs and arms fresh for Saturday. French had a simple goal for the event, “Throw farther than anyone else.”

“I just go into the meet thinking PR and throwing farther than anyone else can,” French said. “That’s all I’ve got to do — beat myself every week and eventually I’ll be the best.”

The South Whidbey track and field team will return to competition after spring break on Thursday, April 12 at Cedarcrest High School.

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