Trio of seconds highlight Star Track

May 23, 2013 

TACOMA — Kamiakin’s Megan Beauchene was about as happy as someone can be after losing a race Thursday.

The junior took second in the Class 3A 1,600 meters at Star Track XXXI at Mount Tahoma High in Tacoma.

While she said winning the race would have been better, her time of 4 minutes, 45.34 seconds was a personal record by nearly 6 seconds.

“I’m really happy right now,” she said. “That is my best by a lot.”

Beauchene wasn’t the only Mid-Columbian to bring home a silver at the opening day of the three-day meet. Kamiakin’s Amanda Miller took second in the javelin and Walla Walla’s Katarina Tonhdavong was second in the Class 4A discus.

The race of the day, though, belonged to Beauchene and her distance rivals — Glacier Peak’s Amy-Eloise Neale and North Central’s Katie Knight.

Neale won in 4:44.88, setting a Class 3A record in the event, while Knight was third in 4:45.84.

Neale and Knight came into the event with the second and third best times in the country this season, while Beauchene had the 13th best.

It was apparent from the start, as the three broke away from the rest of the field quickly, running tightly bunched together for the first 1,450 meters.

“(Katie and I) talked before today that we both wanted to run a really good time,” said Neale, who had to pull out the 1,600 a year ago with injury. “There (would be no) sitting and kicking — we were not going to do that. We knew coming in it would be a pretty fast race.”

Neale hoped to run 69-second laps, though only one broke that mark and it was the final lap.

With 150 meters to go, Neale started to kick and Beauchene attempted to go with her. The Kamiakin star hung around for a bit, passing Knight, but couldn’t reel in Neale.

“Going into it, I told myself I want to give it all I got and not give up at all,” Beauchene said. “So I was just thinking about how when it ended I gave it my absolute all.

“I’m definitely happy with it. Amy is No. 1 in the country, so it is definitely a good way to start out.”

Neale and Knight are headed to the University of Washington this fall, while Beauchene has another year of school left. Though there was a hint Thursday that they might all run on the same track again in the coming years.

“I’m so proud of Megan,” Knight said. “We hope to get her over to UW next year.”

Like Beauchene, Miller and Tonhdavong have another year of high school left.

Miller was the No. 2 seed in the javelin but didn’t have her best day. She finished at 118 feet, 8 inches, two feet off her personal best. Miller also had high hopes with teammate Elisa Grandemange of possibly sweeping the top two spots. But Grandemange struggled and failed to make the finals, leaving Miller to fight for points by herself.

“It was really upsetting and hard, but it kind of drove me to try and throw farther,” Miller said. “I’m excited about (second). It is a huge accomplishment and I wasn’t expecting it. I’m flattered, but then again I wanted my teammate up on that stand with me. Me and her are going to get it next year.”

Tonhdavong, meanwhile, overcame a big case of nerves to win her first state medal. She entered the finals in fourth and then threw 129-8 on her second-to-last attempt to take second.

“I feel relieved that I actually got second,” she said. “I’m pretty excited to see what I can do next year.”

Moses Lake’s Sadie Nielsen won the event with a throw of 136-0.

NOTES: Camas sophomore Alexa Efraimson ran a meet record 4:39.25 in the Class 4A 1,600, which is the best time in the country this season according to Athletic.net. … Mead distance runner Andrew Gardner, who is going to UW in the fall, won his second consecutive Class 4A 1,600 in 4:14.93. … North Central’s Keith Williams won the Class 3A 1,600, a year after finishing second-to-last in the same event. … Wenatchee’s Cody O’Connell won the 4A shot put with a throw of 59-9.75. He is headed to WSU for football in the fall. … Kamiakin’s Andrea Stapleton took fourth in the 3A high jump, clearing 5-2. … Southridge’s Brenden Kelly failed to get out of the preliminaries in the 110 hurdles. He entered with the second fastest time.

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