Distance runners find rhythm

Emma Barker-Perez leaps into the sand during the long jump competition at Thursday
Emma Barker-Perez leaps into the sand during the long jump competition at Thursday's home track meet.
— image credit: Matt Johnson

Two unbelievable early-season runs by junior miler Brandon Bilyeu and a strange, extra-long 3,200-meter race were the attention getters Thursday at the second high school track meet at Waterman Field this season.

In a frigid but dry breeze, the Falcon boys placed eight points behind meet winner Mount Baker during the home quadrangular, while the South Whidbey girls kept their North Cascades winning streak alive with a 108-point champion performance against Nooksack Valley, Blaine and Mount Baker.

As if to show that he is out from under the shadow of distance running trio Bradon Giswold, Brett Perkins and Bruce Hymas, Bilyeu went his own way fast without competition from the three recent graduates. In the 1,600, Bilyeu shaved six seconds from his career best to win the event in 4:27.3. Adding an exclamation point to the run, Bilyeu came back to the track later in the afternoon to run the fastest 800-meter race of his life on legs that should have been tired out.

His time of 1:59.3 was several tenths of a second faster than his previous best, set in the state preliminary race two years ago.

In the 3,200, sophomore James Sundquist literally went the extra quarter mile. With both boys and girls running together, volunteer lap counters got a bit confused and sent Sundquist and a Mount Baker runner off to run an extra lap in the eight lap race. The snafu had no effect on the outcome.

"He won both races," said Falcon Coach Doug Fulton.

Other winners on the day for the boys included Nick Plastino, who did a perfect job filling in for sprinter Andy Wills by winning the 100-meter dash, and the 4x100 relay team, which is now ranked as the second-fastest in the state's 2A division.

In the girls meet, Katy McGillen was the top point getter with wins in the 100 hurdles and the long jump, and a second place finish on an 81-foot, 1-inch throw in the javelin.

Adding more speed to the Falcon lineup was sophomore Claudia Gil-Osorio, who cruised to a half-second margin of victory in her 13.37 100-meter dash. At 200 meters, Lindsay Binford and Nicole Mock went 1-2 with times of 27.6 and 28.6.

Two hurdlers other than McGillen also shined during the meet. After placing second behind McGillen in the 100 hurdles, Caitlin Robinson won at the 300 meter distance. Her time of 52.7 seconds was just a hair quicker than Emily Bartlett's second-place run. Bartlett ran to third place in the 100 hurdles.

The Falcons run today at the prestigious Yakima Invitational. They return home on April 20 for the South Whidbey Invitational.

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