TACOMA — The Kamiakin girls track and field team had a day for the ages Saturday at Star Track XXXI at Mt. Tahoma High in Tacoma.
Junior Ellie Heiden won four golds for a second consecutive season and broke the longest standing record in the meet, and the team scored the most points in state meet history.
“Magical — this day has just been, it doesn’t feel like it’s real life,” Heiden said. “It is like a dream.”
Heiden won the 100 meters, 200, 400 and anchored the 4x200 relay to a victory. She became the first Class 3A or 4A girls runner to win the 100, 200 and 400 since Kamiak’s Heather Hetzer did it in 2001.
And she won all three individual events in dominating fashion, including winning the 400 in 54.15, which broke a record that had been standing since 1980. She won the 100 in 12.17 and the 200 in 24.6.
“It makes the stakes a little bit higher when you are coming in as the winning state champ,” she said. “You have this huge target on your back, and so I think it made it more magical knowing that everyone is trying to get you.”
The rest of the field wasn’t just gunning for Heiden, either. The Braves finished with a team total of 118.5 points, defending their crown from a year ago. Holy Names Academy was second with 80 points.
“It is like a big, huge relief,” Kamiakin coach Cheryl Schauble said. “I’m so proud of these guys, these kids, they just love competing and they just keep coming at you.”
Kamiakin finished the weekend with five first place finishes, three seconds and two thirds. The Braves also set three school records, thanks to Heiden in the 200 and 400 and Michelle Fletcher in the 3,200 (11:07.01).
“It’s something I’ve been working toward for four years now, so to get it on my last day as a Brave is kind of surreal,” the senior said.
Fletcher also ran on the 4x400 relay, which took second place, knocking off Mt. Spokane, which beat Kamiakin at the regional meet a week ago. Fletcher ran the third leg, as Danielle Brandon, Megan Beauchene and Emily Moon ran the others.
“It’s incredible,” Fletcher said of Saturday. “I’m so incredibly blessed to be apart of the Kamiakin Braves. We’ve kind of had a target on our backs the whole year, coming back as defending state champs and I think we just wanted to prove that there is a reason we are the best.
“That we earned the title, it wasn’t just luck or something.”
The Braves could’ve had even more points, but they dropped the baton during the 4x100 relay sending them to eighth place. Kyra Brannan went back and picked it up and finished, though, giving the Braves one point for the event.
Brannan capped her career with a state title in the 4x200, which won in 1:40.96.
“When I started I saw Heather (Donais) on the second leg and she was catching up and doing really good,” Brannan said. “I just wanted to get that baton and do really good.”
She wasn’t the only one, as Beauchene took second in the 800 meters, running a personal best time of 2:10.64.
“I’m really happy about it,” she said. “I was definitely tired from the 1,600, but my goal was to give it my all.”
Glacier Peak’s Amy-Eloise Neale won the 800 in a time of 2:08.61.
The day, though, belonged to Kamiakin and even more so Heiden.
She now has 10 gold medals in her stellar career and with four more would have the most ever for a Class 3A or higher girls athlete. Cleveland’s Cheryl Taplin won 13 from 1987-90, while Rainier Beach’s Ginnie Powell won 11 from 1999-2002. Blaine’s Cherish Morrison won 14 from 2009-12.
“I’m pretty excited about (Saturday),” she said. “I’m just overwhelmed a bit.”
Which is probably how most of Kamiakin’s competition felt this weekend.