Embracing long after their race, the joy of a fourth-place finish in the girls 1,600-meter relay lingered for the Falcons at the state 1A track and field championship.
Madi Boyd, Jaime Rodden, Mackenzie Hezel and Maia Sparkman had just ended their careers as South Whidbey High School athletes by making a lasting mark in the record books by breaking the 18-year-old record — essentially when these four were born — by 0.04 seconds. Less than four seconds separated them from the first-place Meridian team. So they understandably savored the moment on the track at Eastern Washington University on May 31.
“I realized they were on pace to break the record on the first two legs,” said Falcon head coach Mark Eager in an email. “When Mackenzie, the third leg, came through with her time, I thought we’d get it. Then Maia ran a 58.9 [second] split and the rest is history.
“The funny thing is, they didn’t think they did it. They were exhausted and looked defeated. So I set them up by telling them they came so close, then yelled, ‘You got the school record!’ Their reaction was memorable.”
Rodden finished her season after a fourth-place finish in the 800-meter race, running her career-best time of 2:20.45 in the final heat. She was beaten out for third place by King’s senior Kacey Kemper by 0.45 seconds.
South Whidbey’s best finish at the track championship was senior Nick French. He placed third in the javelin with a heave of 175 feet, 2 inches and was the only Falcon boy to reach the state finals. Meridian senior Kaleb Heezen, who dueled with French in the District 1 championship and the tri-district championship, won the 1A title with a mark of 181 feet, 8 inches.
The Falcon girls were also represented in the final heat of the 400-meter relay. Freshman Anna Leski spearheaded the race in the first leg, followed by Sparkman, freshman Bailey Forsyth and Boyd. They improved on their preliminary time by almost 0.4 seconds for a 50.75-second, seventh-place finish. Hoquiam won the relay title in 49.72 seconds.
Sparkman placed seventh in the long jump with a distance of 16 feet, 8.5 inches - the second best jump of her career.
In the girls javelin, Hezel finished outside of the top eight places with a throw of 97 feet, 11 inches.