Track: Four from South Whidbey fly high at Westling Invite

Falcon Sam Lee is challenged for first place in the mile by Port Townsend’s Habtamu Rubio, during Saturday’s Westling Invite. Rubio won, besting Lee’s final of 4:33.20 in a photo finish. - Jeff VanDerford
Falcon Sam Lee is challenged for first place in the mile by Port Townsend’s Habtamu Rubio, during Saturday’s Westling Invite. Rubio won, besting Lee’s final of 4:33.20 in a photo finish.
— image credit: Jeff VanDerford

LANGLEY — Four South Whidbey track and field athletes pretty much cornered the market in jumping, shot put and the 200-meter dash on Saturday.

Competing against some of the best from 12 high schools at the 27th Westling Invite, two Falcons — Cayla Calderwood and Will Hallberg — were named girls and boys field “Athletes of the Meet.”

Calderwood placed first in the triple jump with 36 feet,

3.75 inches, and second in long jump with 16-6.75.

Hallberg placed first in the boys triple jump with 45-05, and another first in the long jump with 20-8.75.

“The hardest part for me now is controlling my arms and the landing,” Hallberg said after his triple effort. “The triple is a collaboration of little things that must all be done right.”

South Whidbey’s Jon Poolman was first in the 200-meter dash in a fast 22.81 seconds. He and Marysville’s Mark Pangilinan switched places in the 100-meter, which Poolman ran in 11 seconds flat for second.

“The 100-meter is a technically oriented run, and I had a bad start,” Poolman said after the race. “In the 200, the start isn’t as crucial and I was able to save a bit for the final meters, and that made the difference.”

In the girls shot put, Kelsey Engstrom threw her 8.82-pound hunk of metal 30-6¼ for a personal best and first place for the Falcons.

“I could tell I got the angle right and my speed and power were on the money,” she said.

“I was the last thrower in the final flight, and so I had a good idea what I needed to do.”

In team rankings, Marysville was first for the boys with 128 points, and Oak Harbor had 184 points for the girls and the top spot.

Overall, the South Whidbey girls placed third with 88 points, after Marysville in second place and ahead of Nathan Hale in fourth.

The Falcon boys placed fifth with 63 points, behind Oak Harbor and ahead of Meadowdale.

No question, Falcon Sam Lee’s mile race was the most exciting of the day.

Leading until the final three meters, Lee was passed by Port Townsend’s Habtamu Rubio at the finish. Lee ended his run in a time of 4:33.20, Rubio in 4:32.90 — a difference of one-half second.

“I wanted to control the race from the start, to go my own pace and not someone else’s,” Lee said. “Rubio was on my right shoulder the whole time, and had just enough to overcome me at the finish. But this was my personal best for the season, so I’m hoping I’ve got a shot at an open spot at state finals.”

South Whidbey’s Jackson Engstrom placed third in shot put with a throw of 44-1½ Teammate Zach Idso took third in discus with 128-9.

Other results for the Falcon girls include a second-place effort in the 300-meter hurdles for Laura Barrow in 48.55, behind Allison Duvez of Oak Harbor. It was Barrow’s PR for the year.

“I was hoping for a flat 48 seconds, but she was a tad better this day,” Barrow said.

“I told her good luck at the start, and she took it to heart.”

Barrow also placed fourth in the 100-meter hurdles in 17.17.

Taking third place in the 800-meter relay with a time of 11:26 were Falcons Lillianna Stelling, Nora Felt, Kelsey Hardaway and Emily Martin.

This was only the second try at the long jump for sophomore Holly Huey.

“I like sprinting best, the 100-meter dash, but coach [Chad] Felgar said I have ‘pop’ and that jumping might work for me,” she said.

“So here I am; clearly I have work to do.”

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