By Ian Ferguson
As the track and field season nears the finish line, it’s getting more competitive, and several Blaine athletes are preparing to make a run at the state meet.
The girls team in particular is stacked with a group of seniors who have seen success in recent meets. Head coach Carey Bacon said the seniors are leading by example with a strong work ethic and a positive attitude.
“The group is really competitive and is performing well. There are about six seniors who are really getting it done,” Bacon said.
The girls team won a meet against Lynden and Nooksack Valley April 16. Senior Elle Moore was a standout, winning the shot put and discus and taking second in the javelin. Moore threw 102 feet, 11 inches in the discus, 32 feet in the shot put and 93 feet, 8 inches in the javelin.
Senior Olivia Adams easily won the pole vault, clearing 11 feet to finish 3 feet higher than the second place finisher, and senior Alejandra Campos won the high jump, clearing 4 feet, 10 inches. Senior Kieya Villars won the 300m hurdles with a time of 51.82 seconds. Blaine relay teams won the 4 x 100m and 4 x 400m events.
Along with a powerhouse senior class, some incoming athletes are stepping up as well: freshmen Ayanna Holguin, Ariyana Vander Veen and Sophia Dwyer have earned recent wins in the 100m, 400m and 800m respectively.
After winning the April 16 meet against local rivals, Blaine competed in the Eason Invitational, a much larger meet in Snohomish April 18. There the team faced a level of competition similar to the state meet. The girls team finished 20th out of 37 teams.
Adams took first place in the pole vault, clearing 11 feet, 6 inches to tie with Stanwood’s Madison Yerigan. Adams is a two-time state champion in the pole vault, winning the 1A title in 2013 and 2014 as a sophomore and junior. Her personal record is 11 feet, 9 inches.
“Olivia certainly has a chance to do well at state,” Bacon said. “It’s going to be a lot harder this year, not just for pole vault but for every event.”
Now in 2A, Blaine will face tougher competition on the road to the state meet. In the pole vault, for example, Adams will be up against Squalicum’s Kirsten Webber, who holds the state record in pole vault with a height of 13 feet, 1 inch.
Hillary Kiele, a standout senior in the 800m, will also face a highly competitive field.
“She’s right in there with some of the top runners, but it’s going to be a tough road to state because there are so many talented runners in that event,” Bacon said.
Senior Taylor V’Dovec won the 1A state championship in the high jump last year. She injured her toe playing basketball last season and missed the last two meets to visit Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she will study next year. Bacon said the break from competition could be a positive, giving her injury more time to heal.
With her steady improvement throughout the season, Moore could also make a state run in at least one of the throwing events, Bacon said.
“It’s too early to know, but I think she has a good chance in the discus,” Bacon said.
Overall, Bacon said, the team is looking strong and showing constant improvement. Relay performance is a good indicator of team performance, because it’s an event that requires multiple athletes to perform well. The 4×400 relay team of Adams, Villars, Campos and Ashley Delligatti ran a time of 1:51.76 at the Eason Invitational, a time that Bacon said is a major improvement over the beginning of the season.
Blaine’s next meet is the NWC Championship meet at Squalicum Friday, April 24 at 3:30 p.m.