By Oliver Lazenby
Blaine’s trio of juniors who went to the state track and field tournament last weekend placed third, fourth and fifth in their events, results that defied expectations thanks to some inordinate and well-timed personal bests.
Under the pressure of competing against the best athletes in the state at Mount Tahoma Stadium, Blaine throwers Rani Prasad and Josie Deming both hit incredible personal records. The throws put Prasad in fourth place in shot put and Deming fifth in javelin.
Prasad qualified for finals near the back of the pack, but her final throw reached 37 feet, 6.75 inches, about two feet longer than her previous best, said Blaine head coach Carey Bacon. That’s big in shot put; she was less than a foot from making the podium.
“To PR at state is ideal, but doesn’t happen that much,” Bacon said. “To do so by two feet is an amazing accomplishment.”
It’s an accomplishment that Deming also pulled off in the javelin. Before the meet, Deming was ranked 11th, Bacon said, and only the top eight advance to finals. In qualifying, she launched the javelin a personal best 128 feet, securing a spot in the finals.
Her finals throw of 128 feet, 4 inches not only broke her pre-meet personal record by 12 feet; it broke Blaine’s school record by 11 feet, Bacon said.
“Josie did what you hope will happen – pop a great throw to make the finals,” Bacon said. “Then she did it again.”
Blaine’s top athlete of the weekend, sprinter Dalton Mouw reached the podium with a third place finish in the 400 meters after barely qualifying for finals in the event.
Mouw’s qualifying time put him in lane eight for the final race, an undesirable lane to most sprinters. It’s on the outside of the track and the front position in the staggered start. Athletes must stay in their lane in the 400, and each lane runs the same distance, but Mouw had no one to chase down or compare himself to until after the fourth and final turn.
When he finally rounded that corner, he was in good position and only Davis Mihelich of Sedro-Woolley and Bryan Sidor from Aberdeen were ahead of him at the finish.
Mouw also medaled in the 200 meters with an eighth place finish – the top eight finishers at state earn a medal, so all three Blaine athletes came home with medals.
The meet was a comparatively good performance for Blaine High School; last year its only state competitors placed 8th in the 4×400 meters.
“I certainly hope that other kids in the school look at what happened at state and realize there are quite a few possibilities for athletes to make it to state and medal in track and field,” Bacon said. “Our league and district are incredibly talented and so competing against our own league and district teams prepares us well for post-season meets.”