By Ian Ferguson
With several returning state-level athletes, a large turnout and a warm, sunny start to the season, things are lining up for the Blaine boys and girls track and field teams this year.
“We’ve certainly had a great start to the year,” said head coach Cary Bacon. “A lot of times in early March you’re waiting for things to warm up or dealing with heavy rains, but we haven’t had that problem yet.”
More than 60 athletes joined the team this year, which is “quite a bit more than we had last year,” Bacon said.
Seven athletes on this year’s team competed at the state tournament last year. Bacon will be looking to Olivia Adams, Hillary Kiele, Keiya Villars, Taylor V’Dovec and Elle Moore on the girls team and Steven Crafts and Jon Fakkema on the boys team to build on their state-level performances and lead the rest of the team.
Two of the returning state-level athletes are state champions: Adams in the pole vault and V’Dovec in the high jump.
“They’re providing the kind of leadership you want to see,” Bacon said.
With the district having moved to 2A, Blaine athletes will face bigger schools and tougher competition at the state level. Adams, for instance, will compete against Squalicum’s Kirsten Webber, whose personal record of 13 feet, 1 inch is the best in state history.
“We’ll be one of the smallest teams in our division, so it’s going to be a challenge,” Bacon said. “The road to state will be tough, but we have some returning athletes who look really promising.”
V’Dovec won a state championship in the high jump last year, and has good chance of making it to state again this year. Fakkema and Moore have hopes of returning to state for the discus. Crafts took second in 1A last year with a 22-foot long jump, and is looking to repeat his strong performance.
Villars took fifth last year in the 300m hurdles, and Bacon said she could compete in other sprint or hurdle events as well, including relay events. Kiele placed fourth in the 800m last year, and although 2A is much more competitive in the 800m, Bacon said Kiele still has a good chance of making it to the state tournament.
“This is one of the best senior classes we’ve had,” Bacon said.
Blaine’s first meet is Thursday, March 19 at Anacortes. The first home meet is Wednesday, March 25. Both meets start at 3:30 p.m.