Whidbey track stars shine at state meet


Special to the News-Times

One Whidbey, blazing a trail of success.

Coupeville, Oak Harbor, and South Whidbey combined to put an exclamation point on the high school track season this past weekend, with 22 local athletes earning medals and two winning individual state titles.

Whether competing in Yakima or Tacoma, the best The Rock had to offer was better than their rivals.

Coupeville senior Alex Murdy and South Whidbey junior Naomi Atwood led the way, standing atop the podium in the long jump and 800, respectively.

Murdy, who played baseball for the Wolves last spring, capped a breakout season in the pit, smashing his PR by a stunning eight inches.

Splashing back to Earth with a jump of 20 feet, 11 inches, he became the 10th state champion in CHS track history, and the first ever to win in a field event.

Atwood, who was 2nd at state in the 800 as a sophomore, also hit a PR on the big stage, thundering across the line in two minutes, 15.23 seconds.

After winning her prelim by just .05 of a second, the fleet-footed Falcon came out on top in the finals by almost a second-and-a-half.

In other words, nearly an eternity.

Coupeville, a 2B school, and South Whidbey, a 1A institution, were both in Yakima, though not directly competing against each other, while 3A Oak Harbor vied at Mount Tahoma High School.

The Wolves and Falcons had to dodge unpredictable Eastern Washington weather, with Saturday’s finale delayed two hours by thunderstorms.

It was Coupeville which delivered the lightning blasts, however, with its girls’ team finishing 3rd in the 2B team standings, while the CHS boys claimed 5th.

Sparked by a school record-tying performance in the high jump from senior Ryanne Knoblich, the Wolf girls produced the best team result in program history.

The 2006 and 2008 Coupeville boys’ teams each placed 4th at state.

Knoblich, who soared five feet, two inches to match a mark set by Yashmeen Knox back in 1999, finished 2nd, as did the team’s 4 x 400 relay unit.

That group, featuring Claire Mayne, Carly Burt, Monroe Myles, and Lyla Stuurmans, closed the three-day state championship meet with a bang, clinching Coupeville’s 3rd place finish in the team standings.

Young guns Myles (5th in both the 100 and 200) and Stuurmans (7th in the 800 and 8th in the 400) each brought home three medals, while seniors Mayne (3rd in the 100 hurdles) and Carolyn Lhamon (4th in the shot put) exited with big-time performances.

On the boy’s side, Murdy’s state title led the way, with Aidan Wilson (2nd in the 800 and 5th in the triple jump), Zac Tackett (7th in the discus), and Cael Wilson (8th in the pole vault) also medaling.

With the weather delay, the pole vault was the final boys event being contested, setting the stage for a dramatic finish.

Cue Cael Wilson, who proved to be a sensation.

Competing in the event for only the fourth time in his short career, the Wolf sophomore busted his PR by a full two feet, earning Coupeville the point it needed to move from 6th to 5th in the final team standings.

Last, but not least, the Wolf boys 4 x 100 team of Dominic Coffman, Tim Ursu, Aidan Wilson, and Tate Wyman came dangerously close to their own state title, finishing 2nd, nipped 44.18-44.36 by Kittitas.

While Whidbey’s smallest school produced the biggest medal haul, Coupeville’s next-door neighbors didn’t come home empty-handed.

Atwood added a 3rd place finish in the 1600 to her state title, while Cody Redford claimed 3rd in the high jump and 6th in the long jump.

Falcons Sierra Muller (pole vault) and Cole Tschetter (300 hurdles) both finished 3rd in their events, as well.

Oak Harbor, which avoided the Eastern Washington weather while likely marinating in the Tacoma funk, snagged three medals.

Noah Turner finished 2nd in the discus, Karen Salinger claimed 7th in the long jump, and the Wildcat 4 x 200 relay team zipped to a 5th place finish.

Salinger anchored that unit, with Tessa Hughes, Addisen Boyer, and Audrey Hart also running legs.

Photo by Matt Simms 
South Whidbey junior Naomi Atwood runs in a cross country race in 2021.

Photo by Matt Simms South Whidbey junior Naomi Atwood runs in a cross country race in 2021.