French finishes third at track and field meet in Yakima

Nick French, seen here in a track and field meet earlier this at Sultan High School, placed third in the javelin recently among 4A and 3A competitors at the Don Holder Relays in Yakima on March 31.  - Ben Watanabe / Record file
Nick French, seen here in a track and field meet earlier this at Sultan High School, placed third in the javelin recently among 4A and 3A competitors at the Don Holder Relays in Yakima on March 31.
— image credit: Ben Watanabe / Record file

Nick French had his worst javelin throw of the year, and he still took third place at the Don Holder Relays on March 31.

The South Whidbey track and field team traveled with a skeleton crew of its 40 athletes. About 25 Falcons competed at the track and field meet in Yakima, and seven finished in the top 10.

“A lot of kids were gone on spring break stuff,” said Falcon track and field head coach Doug Fulton.

“It was a fun trip. All of the kids performed real well.”

None placed higher than French, a sophomore javelin thrower. His mark of 165 feet put him at third place, only two days after he set his personal best (and the best mark among 2A javelin throwers by almost 10 feet) at a Cascade Conference meet at Sultan High School. French had been on a streak of improving his best throw by several feet with each meet before the Holder Relays, from 169 feet to 175 to 178.

“You’re not going to PR (hit a personal record) every week,” Fulton said. “Conditions weren’t ideal. It was cold and damp on and off.”

“He’s been real consistent. That’s a good, solid throw.”

Fellow javelin thrower Colton Justus, a senior, also had one of his season’s shortest throws at 110 feet, 3 inches, which was about 12 feet shy of his best throws. The javelin’s best mark came from Heritage senior Sean Keller at 222 feet, 8 inches.

South Whidbey’s next-best finish was in the girls 100-meter hurdles, which freshman Camlin Gero-Northup took seventh place in the underclassmen finals. Gero-Northup ran her best time in the hurdles in 20.48 seconds. Fellow freshman Samantha Baldwin claimed eighth place in the long jump at 10 feet, 9 inches.

In the mile, freshman Emma Lungren finished in 10th place with her best time of 6:21, a two-second improvement on her previous best mark. Her fellow distance runner Lillianna Stelling, a junior, finished in 10th place in the mile with her season’s best time of 5:38.26.

The distance runners did well for the boys team as well. Freshman Cole Zink ran the 800-meter race for the first time this year in 2:11.04. He finished about 10 seconds shy of the first-place winner for ninth place in the underclassmen race.

“It was a good run. He went out against some tall kids who went out fast, so he went out fast,” Fulton said.

His brother Will Zink, a senior, competed in the 2,000-meter steeplechase and finished in ninth place in 7:09.

The Falcons were without their best thrower on the girls team, Angelina Berger. The junior is among the top four in 2A in the shot put, discus and javelin.

The Don Holder Relays are formatted differently from a full track meet. The emphasis on relay points is based on a school’s top three placers’ times or distances being combined for its overall measure, then compared to other schools. In most events, South Whidbey did not have enough athletes to count as a relay. Also, freshmen and sophomores competed in a different division from juniors and seniors.

“It’s kind of a developmental meet to some degree,” Fulton said. “It gives the kids a chance to compete against kids in their own age groups.”

South Whidbey left the high school at 5 a.m. for the meet. The Falcons did not compete in any of the event’s namesake relay races.

“We were missing too many kids. We thought about running a distance medley, but we didn’t,” Fulton said.

Falcon athletes were given individualized workout suggestions and had spring break off from organized practices.

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