Runners overcome winter blahs at Westling Invite

LANGLEY — McKenzie Walker and Cayla Calderwood led the charge Saturday as the South Whidbey track team fought cold weather and tough competition at the 25th annual Westling Invite.

Falcon Lauren Sandri grimaces as she crosses the line in the 100-meter relay in 51.88 seconds for first place.

LANGLEY — McKenzie Walker and Cayla Calderwood led the charge Saturday as the South Whidbey track team fought cold weather and tough competition at the 25th annual Westling Invite.

Walker placed first in the girl’s

100-meter dash in 13.19 seconds, then posted a personal best of 27.15 in the

200-meter run.

Calderwood high jumped five feet for first place and triple jumped 35-1.25, also for first.

They weren’t the only ones to take the top spot against 15 teams from around the state, including four powerful 4A schools — Ballard, Juanita, Mariner and

Oak Harbor.

The South Whidbey boys distance medley relay team — Kyle Asay, Jasper Tyler, Scott Stallman and Nick Rovang — took first at 11:49.0.

This race is unique — there are four legs, one each of 1,200, 400, 800 and 1,600-meters. Asay went first.

“It’s hard to tell how fast to run and how best to maintain the pace,” he said.

Tyler agreed. “I really try to speed up in the last 100 meters, but that’s just when my legs give out,” he said. “Nice to win, though; makes it worth the effort.”

In the girls 100-meter relay, Laurie Robinson, Gwen Bakke, Lauren Sandri and Walker were first in a blazing 51:88 and first in the 200-meter with 1:52.87.

The distance medley relay seems to be the sweet spot for Falcon runners this year. Cassie Bosman, Lucy Vollbrecht, Caroline Habel and Emily Martin posted first at 14:38.0.

Vollbrecht, who ran the 400-meter leg, said she likes the medley but finds it a demanding race.

“The last stretch coming in is pretty hard and all I can do is run fast and not drop the baton on the hand-off,” she said.

Overall, the day was an important test as state finals — May 23-24 in Tacoma — draw near. Each athlete tries to “peak” at this time each spring so their best efforts will qualify them to move forward.

For the South Whidbey boys team, Jon Poolman took second in the 100-meter dash in 11:58 and Chandler Thompson was fourth at 11.69.

Poolman took third in the 200-meter event with 23.39 and Tyler placed ninth at 55.46.

Scott Stallman was eighth in the

800-meter in 2:10.51.

In the 110-meter high hurdles, Andy Bennett placed third at 16.67.

With starter Eric Stallman gone on a college visit, the boys 100-meter relay team had to find a replacement and hope the rhythm and the speed of the fast event could be maintained.

It worked. Ramsay O’Brien joined Hisashi Sanda, Poolman and Thompson to place second in 44.75.

“Ramsay did a great job stepping up,” Thompson said. “My take-off was smooth and the hand-off went really well; I personally felt great after the long warm-up process we need for a day like this.”

Rovang, Stallman, Poolman and Tyler also took second in the 400-meter relay.

In throwing events, Jackson Engstrom was sixth in the shot put at 41 feet,

8.50 inches. Zach Idso threw the discus 105-10 for seventh and Chris Monell was just behind with 103-07.

Bennett triple jumped 36-07.25, a personal best and good for second place.

It was a dismal day for track and field. Just before the first race at 10 a.m., heavy snow flurries threatened but then changed to drizzle mixed with occasional sunshine — athletes remained bundled up in heavy sweats until just before their event.

“These are not ideal conditions, so I’ve been trying to stay warm,” Bennett explained. “The key in jumping is to be consistent every time and, theoretically, you go farther with each jump.”

In girls track-and-field action, Lauren Sandri was third in the 100-meter dash for the Falcons with 13.52 and Gwen Bakke right behind with 13.59. Sandri took third in the 200-meter with 27.41.

In the distance events, Martin placed fifth in the 800-meter run at 2:37.14 and Habel was seventh in the 1,600-meter with 5:43.50.

Laura Barrow was second in the

100-meter high hurdle in 17.31 and again in the 300-low hurdles at 50.56.

Habel, Barrow, Cassie Bosman and Martin placed third in the 400-meter relay with 4:33.26.

In throwing venues, Nikki Enters was fifth in both shot put with 28-11.75 and discus at 89-.09. Calderwood placed second in the javelin with 92-08.

Ann Hefflinger and Autumn Walker tied for fifth in the pole vault with

7-6.0 and Kylie DeMartini was fifth in the long jump with 14-4.25 and third in the triple with 29-3.50.

In the end, the girls placed first with 158 points, the boys fourth with 68 points out of 16 teams. The South Whidbey girls were followed by Port Angeles with 67, Mariner with 59, Oak Harbor with 58 and Anacortes with 53.

In boys events, Oak Harbor collected 103 points, followed by Mariner with 93, Sedro-Woolley with 68, South Whidbey with 68 and Anacortes, 62.

Falcon coach Doug Fulton said that, despite snow flurries and drizzle, the meet was a success. Conditions were more serious across the water.

“The big Eason Invite in Everett was cancelled after the coach went out at

4 a.m. to shovel snow off the track and it began to come down again,” he said.

One team was left out in the cold by the cancellation. Six runners from Okanagan had come a far distance and Fulton invited them to join the Westling so the team wouldn’t have to travel back to eastern Washington empty-handed.

Fulton was pleased with the Falcon’s performance.

“Both the boys and girls had some good finishes,” he said.

“Cayla was outstanding, two firsts and a second in javelin. And Ramsay’s ability to come in to the relay definitely helped the team; they were less than 3/10 of a second off their best time.”

At 4 p.m. on Thursday, May 1, the team has their final home stand against Coupeville before conference, districts and state.

“We could use some decent weather,” Fulton said.

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