By Oliver Lazenby
Blaine athletes took top spots in 14 out of 35 events at their first home track meet against Squalicum and Mount Baker high schools on Wednesday, March 22.
Blaine’s individual top placers were: Dalton Mouw, 100- and 200-meters; Dylan Grimme, 1,600 meters; Matthew Simpson, 3,200 meters; Isaiah Russ, 300-meter hurdles; Jared Philips, discus; Tucker Jensen, javelin; Haden Anthony, pole vault; Taylee McCormick, 800 meters and 1,600 meters; and Mariah Minjarez in the 100- and 300-meter hurdles.
Blaine’s Muow, Isaiah Russ, Alfonso Dermendziev and Trevor Freeland took the top spot in the 4×400-meter relay, and the girls 4×400 team of Brynn Hallberg, Ayanna Holguin, Ashley Dickerson and Ariyana VanderVeen-Raum also took first place.
In all, 53 athletes turned out for Blaine’s track team this year. That’s slightly down from last year, but this year’s team is a little more experienced. Nearly half the kids on the team last year were competing for the first time.
A lot of standouts from last year are back this year.
Three of four runners from last year’s boys 4×400-meter relay team, which went to state, are back this year. Freeland filled the fourth spot at Blaine’s first home meet, but Grimme is also a contender for that relay team, said head coach Carey Bacon.
“It’s hard to say anything definitive, partly because the weather has been a factor in the early going,” Bacon said. “This group should have a good chance to make the post-season.”
Last year’s 4×400 team finished the state finals with a time of 3 minutes 36 seconds. At home on Wednesday, March 22, the team crossed the line in 3 minutes 42 seconds, a solid showing this early in the season.
Individually, Mouw and Dermendziev should have good seasons in the 100- and 200-meter events. Mouw snagged a season-best in both those races last week. Russ will also be a competitor in the 300-meter hurdles, Bacon said.
Though they won last week, the girls 4×400-meter relay team is also still a work in progress.
“We have some new kids turning out and we are feeling our way to see who might end up doing what,” Bacon said. “Our group overall has been positive and generally working hard.”
In field events, Bacon expects Haden Anthony will have a strong season in the pole vault, and a few throwers have a chance at the post-season as well.
“Tucker Jensen is a serious javelin thrower, and he and Porter Schmidt are improving in the shot put,” Bacon said. “Rani Prasad is a new girl thrower who has shown some early promise.”
Jared Philips tossed a personal best 113 feet, 4 inches to win the discus event on March 22.
The track team’s next meet is the Birger Solberg Invitational, at Sehome High School, on Saturday, April 8. The next competition at home is on Wednesday, May 3.