KENNEWICK -- It has been more than a decade since the Kamiakin girls track and field team was this talented.
From sprints to distance to relays to field events, there isn't a weak link for the Braves.
And anchoring all that talent are the defending state champion 4x100- and 4x200-meter relay teams.
With all four runners back on both relays, Kamiakin has high hopes that this spring will end in not only more titles, but perhaps a team title as well.
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"Our goal is to PR (personal record), and if that gets us a state record, that's good," sophomore Ellie Heiden said, "but at least we ran faster than last year."
Heiden is the anchor on both relays, and she also competes in the 200, 400 and long jump. She placed second in the 400 at state last season when she took the Mid-Columbia and state by storm as a freshman.
"There's definitely pressure," Heiden said, "but I think last year we were able to handle it, and this year, the pressure pushes me more and the team, because we have an expectation to live up to."
Heiden is joined by senior Khadidja Toure and juniors Kyra Brannan and Rebecca Neal on both relays.
"All of us are training hard," Brannan said. "We know what we have to accomplish, what we have to do to live up to our name from last year."
While all four have visions of state titles dancing in their heads, they have other orders of business to get to first, starting with the Pasco Invite on April 14. The 4x100 relay was disqualified last year in Pasco because of a false start.
The Braves also are going to the west side to compete in the Lake Washington Invitational on April 28.
It is the first time coach Cheryl Schauble is taking a team to Kirkland since Kamiakin won back-to-back state team titles in 1998 and 1999.
Running against top west-side talent will give the Braves a challenge they likely will not receive in the CBBN, especially with West Valley losing Chantel Jaeger to graduation and sprinter Lindsay Burns to a knee injury.
The Braves also have a strong group of incoming freshmen that should help push the starters, and perhaps supplant them.
"We have kids coming out of the woodwork," Schauble said. "They are training with the best kids in the state. It is kind of fun how they are all stepping in. It is kind of a unique situation for us, but a good one. It puts a little pressure on some people."
Something that is not lost on Heiden or her teammates.
"No one's spot is assured, not even mine," Heiden said. "Anyone new coming in could beat me, so I know I need to work hard."
Heiden also anchored the 4x400 relay team at state last season, with the Braves taking sixth place after they ran out of gas in the finals.
The Braves return that entire team, including sophomores Megan Beauchene and Danielle Brandon and junior Michelle Fletcher. Brandon sprained her ankle last weekend at West Valley while pole vaulting and is expected to be about a couple of weeks.
"We are more motivated and trying to work harder at practice and using it to push us," Brandon said of coming up short of the state title last year. "We are definitely looking at state."
As many of the Braves are, including Toure, a state veteran in basketball and track and field.
While her senior basketball season didn't end like she wanted, she still has one more chance to reach the podium.
"It would be cool to get another state championship," she said. "Especially because we couldn't get it in basketball. I guess it is a chance at redemption."