Kamiakin girls sprint to another 3A track and field championship

Craig Craker, Herald staff writerMay 27, 2012 

TACOMA — Ellie Heiden rarely shows emotion before or after races.

The Kamiakin sophomore remains pretty even-keeled throughout track and field meets, but after crossing the finish line for the final time Saturday she cried.

Heiden had just won her the Class 3A girls 200-meter dash to give her four gold medals at Star Track XXX at Mt. Tahoma High.

“I’m just so overwhelmed,” she said. “This whole experience it’s so surreal. I don’t feel like it actually happened.” Heiden won the 200, 400 and ran the anchors on the 4x100 and 4x200 relays. Running with her smooth motion, the pint-sized blond wowed the big crowd in Tacoma.

“I crossed the finish line and was like, ‘Holy cow, this is crazy,’ ” Heiden said. “I can’t believe this actually happened to me.”

Heiden led the charge on a dominating meet for Kamiakin’s girls, which won the team title with 85 points, and defended their titles in the 4x100 and 4x200.

“It’s amazing,” Kamiakin freshman Lindsey Schauble said. “I’m still kind of in shock. I feel lucky that I get to be apart of a team that is so awesome.”

Heiden won the 200 in 25.03, beating out Eastmont’s Rebecca Tarbert who finished in 25.45. The 4x100 team won in 48.42, while the 4x200 team won in 1:41.22.

Schauble replaced Rebecca Neal, who ran on the short relays in 2011. The other three members of the relays were the same though, as Khadidja Toure and Kyra Brannan were the other two members.

“It’s a lot of pressure — a lot is expected of us,” Brannan said, “but glad we pulled through and got that title.”

Brannan took the baton and chewed up the stagger in the 4x200, handing Heiden the stick with the lead. It was a strong run when things looked a little on edge for the Braves early Saturday morning.

“I saw everyone in front of me and just thought I had to get to first for my team,” Brannan said. “I just told myself to push it and I came through.”

Toure, meanwhile, wraps up a brilliant sports career at Kamiakin. The two-sport star will continue athletics at the next level, playing basketball at Oregon State.

“We had a pretty incredible year,” Toure said. “It’s a good way to end high school sports altogether.”

Megan Beauchene also turned in a strong day for Kamiakin, taking second in the 1,600 in 4:55.36 and third in the 800 in 2:12.99. Despite the high medals, she was disappointed in her effort in the 1,600.

“I’m happy with my places, I guess,” she said. “I feel like mentally I knew (North Central’s Katie Knight) was fresh and I feel like I gave up a little at the end.”

Beauchene also helped the 4x400 relay take second place in a time of 3:58.44. Alyssa Powell, Michelle Fletcher and Danielle Brandon were also on the squad, which lost to Highline, which ran a record time of 3:51.17.

It all added up to a dream day for the Braves, capped by Heiden’s four victories.

The one race she was nervous about, went off with no problems. In the 400, West Seattle’s Kris Tollefson came in with a time just a bit slower than Heiden’s.

“I was so scared going into that one,” Heiden said. “I was like, ‘Look at her. Look at her arms, they are all strong. Look at mine, they are so not strong.’ ”

Heiden’s legs were strong enough, though.

She beat Tollefson by more than a second, finishing in 55.18 to Tollefson’s 56.57.

“After the 400, I knew I could get this,” she said of the four golds. “That gave me confidence.”

Now, Heiden is going to take some time off — and eat whatever she wants without having to worry about how it will affect her racing.

“I’m going to eat a huge, juicy hamburger,” she said. “And I’ll probably throw up afterward, but I’ll eat it anyway.”

About the only thing she could possibly have go wrong Saturday.

1A state: In the Class 1A girls track and field championships, Kiona-Benton’s Kendall Watts placed fourth in discus (112-05), Columbia-Burbank’s Harley McBride took fifth in the 100-meter hurdles (16.51) and Connell’s Kennidi Whitby finished sixth in javelin (119-07).

On the boys’ side Connell’s Tanner Casper placed seventh in the 300 hurdles (41.29) and the Eagles’ Tyson Brook placed second in the shot put (51-03).

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