By Oliver Lazenby
After an eventful competition, the boys’ 4×400-meter relay team took home a medal in the Class 2A State Track and Field Championship finals last weekend at Mount Tahoma High School in Tacoma.
The team of Alfonso Dermendziev, Anthony Frey, Isaiah Russ and Dalton Mouw barely made it to the finals as the last team to qualify with a time of 3:29.11. It wasn’t their fastest time of the season, but it was close.
They got a tough lane assignment for the finals.
“We ran from lane eight, which is challenging in that the first leg runs completely unaware of what is going on behind and the second leg has to cut in from lane eight to lane one,” head coach Carey Bacon said.
The team was in good position in the third leg as Isaiah Russ entered the second turn, but in the corner his baton hand collided with another runner’s foot, causing him to drop the baton, Bacon said.
“So we finished eighth,” Bacon said. “It was disappointing for a few minutes, but in the end it was a major accomplishment and they all recognized it.”
All the teams that qualify for finals get a medal.
Bacon attributed the 4×400 team’s strong showing to its dedication throughout the season.
At the start of the season he told the entire track team that they would have a successful season if they showed up to practice every day, worked hard and
“Without question, this 4×4 team honored that charge,” Bacon said. “I’m pleased with the effort and overall achievements of the team.”
The 4×400 team also excelled in the 4×100 meters in the final month of the season, coming in fourth place in the 2A Northwest Conference sub-district meet. They made a tough call not to run the 4×100 at the district meet so they would be fresh for the 4×400 – their better event.
“It really was a tough call, but we don’t regret it because we did well in the 4×4 at districts,” Dermendziev said in a phone interview before the state meet. “I’m really proud of the team.”
Dermendziev also ran in the individual 400-meter at state, where he came in 12th with a time of 52.02.
This season was a rebuilding year for the track team. Last year six seniors who medaled in state graduated from the program. Seven seniors are graduating this year, but a good core of athletes, including Dermendziev, will return in 2017, Bacon said.
“Next year has the makings of an improved year,” he said.