Evan Thompson / The Record — Four South Whidbey track and field athletes placed in the top eight at the class 1A state championships on May 25 and 27 at Eastern Washington University in Cheney. From left to right: Bailey Forsyth, Emma Barker, Sophia Nielsen and Romey Rohde.

Four Falcons place at state track meet in Cheney

South Whidbey senior sprinter Bailey Forsyth’s final high school competition was like a roller coaster. It had ups and downs, twists and turns.

She felt shock and disappointment when a botched handoff caused her third-ranked 4×100-meter relay team to finish last in the finals of the class 1A state track and field championships. But, some of that pain subsided when she experienced the thrill of having broken the school record in the 200-meter dash.

Forsyth’s time of 25.76 seconds was the fastest official time in school history. Forsyth’s previous mark was a nearly a second slower, which made the result as surprising as it was exciting, Forsyth said. She also finished the 100-meter dash in seventh with a time of 12.91 seconds, adding another medal to her total collection of seven earned over the past four years.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better way to end,” said Forsyth, who will run track and field at Pacific Lutheran University this fall.

Forsyth was one of four Falcons who placed in the top eight at the state track meet on May 25 and 27 at Eastern Washington University in Cheney. She was also one of two South Whidbey athletes to earn multiple medals, the other being junior Sophia Nielsen. Nielsen placed third in the triple jump, seventh in the 300-meter hurdles and eighth in the long jump. She nearly reached the finals in her fourth event, the 100-meter hurdles, but tripped on the final hurdle.

Pole vaulters Romey Rohde and Emma Barker placed seventh and eighth, respectively. Rohde and Barker’s marks this season catapulted them to the top-three in school history.

Nielsen’s four events kept her busy over the course of the two-day event. Nielsen bounced from event to event, which sometimes acted to her detriment. She said she carried some of her frustration of having tripped in the 100-meter hurdles into the long jump. Though she still placed, she felt her mark of 16 feet, 2.5 inches could have been better. But, she found satisfaction in the triple jump with a personal best jump of 35 feet, 9.75 inches. Though she did feel exhausted at the end of the meet, Nielsen said she plans to compete in four events again next year.

“I loved always having something to do,” Nielsen said.

Rohde finished the season just an inch away from the school record of 13 feet, which was set by Chris Ford in 2000. Rohde said he was so distraught about not breaking the school record that it took him a minute to appreciate placing. But, his mind is set on breaking the record next season as a senior.

“I look at that record board every day,” Rohde said. “…Before it seemed like a distant goal. It’s really close to obtainable.”

Barker didn’t expect to place in the top eight because she was ranked 13th entering the meet. But, Barker separated herself from a majority of the field by clearing the bar on first attempts, while girls seeded ahead of her did not. Barker eventually set a personal record with a mark of 9 feet, 6 inches. While it was her first trip to state, Barker said she wasn’t flustered by the spectacle of the event.

“I thought I’d be way more nervous than I was,” Barker said. “My coach (Shauna Davies) is really good at helping us zone out.”

Other Falcons who competed at state but did not place were sophomore Kristopher Dixon (110-meter hurdles, 300-meter hurdles), sophomore Caden Spear (100), and the girls and boys 4×100-meter relay team. The girls team included Forsyth, junior Mikayla Hezel, sophomore Alexandra Kurtz and freshman Karyna Hezel. Senior Nash McCarroll, sophomore Issiah Gonzales, sophomore Matthew Simmons and Spear were on the boys relay team.

Evan Thompson / The Record — South Whidbey junior Sophia Nielsen earned state medals in three of her four events.

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