Seven Blaine athletes move on to state track meet

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By Ian Ferguson

Blaine seniors shined at the 2A Northwest District track meet last week, with seven athletes making the grade and moving on to the state meet.

Seniors Jon Fakkema, Hillary Kiele, Taylor V’Dovec, Elle Moore, Olivia Adams, Alex Gehringer and Gage Lott all finished in the top three at the two-day district meet at Civic Stadium in Bellingham May 20 and 22, punching their ticket to the state meet. The state meet will be held at Mt. Tahoma High School in Lakewood May 28–30.

“Our field events in particular did really well,” Blaine head coach Carey Bacon said. Six of the seven athletes moving on to state are in field events, with Kiele, the sole runner, moving on in the 800m run.

Fakkema set a personal record (PR) in the 12-pound shot put, throwing 50 feet and 1 inch for his first throw on day two. The throw earned him a fourth place finish.

“Coming into the meet, he was on the outside looking in and it wasn’t certain he would make it through to state,” Bacon said. “But he had a really great day, and it was a big PR for him at the right time.”

Elle Moore threw a PR distance of 120 feet, 2 inches in the discus to earn second place, and came up an inch shy of her personal record in the 4-kilogram shot put. She threw 33 feet, 7.75 inches in the shot put to take third place.

Three pole vaulters from Blaine qualified for state: Gehringer and Lott on the boys team and Adams on the girls team. Gehringer and Lott both cleared 13 feet, 6 inches, setting PRs in the process and placing first and third respectively after Gehringer cleared the height multiple times. Adams took second place in the girls pole vault with a height of 11 feet, 6 inches, six inches shy of the PR she set at the sub-district meet.

V’Dovec qualified for state in the high jump, clearing 5 feet, 2 inches to take third place. Kiele set a PR in the 800 with a time of 2:18.97, good enough for second place.

There were several close calls at the meet, the closest being Kieya Villars’ strong performance in the 300m hurdles. Villars was 0.2 seconds behind the third place finisher, running the event in a personal season-record time of 47.42 seconds.

“She just missed out on qualifying,” Bacon said. “She was a little disappointed, but also satisfied with her run because she set a personal record for the season.”

At the state meet, the top eight finishers in each event will earn a medal. Carey said Blaine has good prospects to bring home some hardware.

“All the pole vaulters have a good chance, as does V’Dovec,” he said. “Moore and Kiele have a chance, and you can’t count Fakkema out after what he did at the district meet. So really everyone has a chance – it’s just a matter of how they perform and who they come up against.”

With seven seniors headed to state, Bacon said the group is deserving of success.

“When you look at these seniors who have had long careers and put a lot of effort and good will towards getting here, it’s fitting that such a mature group made it through,” Bacon said.

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