Though their home invitational was only two days away, the Falcon boys and girls track teams couldn’t get out of the habit of excelling Thursday and continued to compete as though they were already in the post season.
In a five-way North Cascades Conference meet at Nooksack Valley High School, both teams came back to full strength following last Saturday’s selective Pasco Invitational to compile the best team scores on both the boys and girls sides. Almost monopolizing the top finish spots, the teams won a combined 21 events out of 35 total to put their conference competition to shame.
In the girls events, South Whidbey led off with a promising 1-2-3 finish in the 100 hurdles by Katy McGillen, Becky Gabelein and Caitlin Robinson — who would later win the 300 hurdles. In the sprints, Claudia Gil-Osorio took the 100-meter dash in 13.1 seconds, and senior Lindsay Binford was second in the 200.
Senior Karen Schwager dominated the middle distances, winning the 400 in 63.5 seconds, then coming back to the track a couple events later to run the 800 even faster than she did in Pasco for her second personal record inside of a week. She finished first in the event in 2:26.4.
With Schwager busy in those events, junior Julie Gabelein was tops in the 1,600, while Emily Felt won the 3,200 in 12 minutes, 54 seconds.
In the field, McGillen won both the long jump and the high jump. Junior Kellie Horn hopped and leapt 30 feet in the triple jump to win that event and to be the first Falcon girl to crack that distance since graduate Andrea McGillen did it last year. Michelle Mast placed second in the triple jump.
The boys saved the drama of their meet until the end. Down by 40 meters after two laps in the 4×400 relay, an event in which they are undefeated in NCC competition this year, the boys needed senior Joe Candelario and junior Brandon Bilyeu to take the lead back after leadoff runners Zach Taylor and Travis Tornga fell behind. The two upperclassmen did that, keeping the win streak intact with a 3:37.8 first-place finish.
That those two had the legs to pull it off was no surprise. Swapping their usual specialty events, Bilyeu ran a 52.2 second open 400-meter race earlier in the day, and Candelario blasted out a 2:07 800 to win that event. In the sprints, Nick Plastino won the 100 with an 11.4 dash, while junior Andy Wills dominated the 200 with a 22.8-second finish time. Other winners in the running events were James Sundquist in the 3,200 and the 4×100 team of Plastino, Adam Tenuta, Candelario and Wills.
When it came to jumping, sophomore Kyle McGillen set the mark for the Falcons when he cleared 6 feet for the first time this season to win the event. Tim Gathings won the long jump and Brandon Hern took the discus with a 138-foot, 11-inch toss.