The Southridge girls sprint relay is on a mission.
After being disqualified for a dropped baton during the final race of the 2012 season at Star Track XXX, the Suns went to work immediately with hopes of getting onto the podium this spring.
So far, they are right in line with those goals.
Southridge has the second fastest 4x100 relay time in Class 3A, with a best time of 49.17 seconds.
“Last year we would’ve gotten second or third — that has kind of been the fire behind us this year,” senior Michelle Snider said. “We have really, really worked hard, we have grown really close as a team. It is something we talk about all the time, being up on the podium, standing there with our medals. Gold is our goal.”
To get a gold medal, though, means chasing down a familiar foe.
Cross-town rival Kamiakin has the best 4x100 relay time in the state at 48.3 and is the defending champions in the event.
To beat the Braves will not only take a flawless race, it also means they have to make it Ellie-proof.
“It’s definitely a matter of our first three legs getting to our anchor where Ellie (Heiden) can’t catch up,” Snider said of Kamiakin’s star anchor, who won four golds at state last year. “It’s definitely something I work on, because I run the third leg. No matter how fast I’ve gotten it to (her anchor), it has always been Ellie as the deciding factor.
“Ellie just has a gear that no one else has, so it is hard to compete with that.”The Suns are in the neighborhood, though, and as their state race last year shows, anything can happen.
Joining Snider on the team is Mertece Hatchet, Nicole Edwards and Kylie Fraga. Fraga missed the state meet last year with a leg injury.
“They give us somebody to work to try and stay up with,” Southridge girls track and field coach Sheila Smith said of Kamiakin. “It is not such a bad thing. If we are contending with one of the fastest teams in the state, when we get to state we are kind of used to competing with that caliber of team and I think our girls will be mentally ready to go.”
While Snider is mentally ready, she has struggled physically at times this season. The senior, who signed to run track for Northwest University in Kirkland this fall, has been bothered by a hip flexor and an ankle injury throughout the season.
She has pushed through it so far, and is hoping to rest it as much as time allows, though with the District 5 meet looming next weekend, and the regional and state meets the following weekends, there is little time to spare.
“This is the point when you really have to push on through,” she said. “People are PRing and peaking, and you have to be able to compete with that. That is what I’m trying to fight through with all these injuries.”
She qualified to state last season in the 100-meter hurdles, and has the fourth fastest time in the event in Class 3A this year. She is hoping for a top two finish in Tacoma.
Hanford: Sprinter Ben Kelly is adding a new event.
Kelly is dropping the 4x400 to add the open 400, in hopes he can get to state in the 100, 200 and 400.
He leads the area with an 11.1 in the 100, and has the fourth-best time in Class 3A in the 200, but has only run the 400 twice in competition.
“His 11.1 is fast, but he realizes that if he really wants to place he probably will do so in the 200 and 400,” Hanford boys coach Darren Crow said. “He has been working with the 400 runners all this year.”
Kelly ran the 400 at the Shoreline Invitational last weekend, and plans to run it today in a dual meet at Richland High.
“My legs have been kind of tired lately, and I haven’t been able to run as fast as I’d like to,” he said. “Hopefully can get back into it now that districts, regionals and state are coming up.”