TACOMA — Kamiakin’s Megan Beauchene and Andrea Stapleton had experienced the joy of winning a state team title in the past, but until Thursday they had never tasted the sweetness of an individual crown.
Beauchene got her first gold medal in the 1,600 meters, while Stapleton got her title in the high jump at the Class 3A state track and field championships at Mt. Tahoma High in Tacoma.
“I have been working for it for four years, for it to end like this ...” Beauchene said. “Before the race, I was looking at my jersey and thinking, ‘This is the last time I’ll race the mile in the Kamiakin jersey.’ I just wanted to represent it well.”
Beauchene did just that, running a smart race and then using her superior kick to blow past Holy Names freshman Erin Ripple in the final 300 meters to win in 4 minutes, 48.82 seconds. It was the first time she had gone sub-4:50 this season.
“It went exactly as planned,” Beauchene said. “We knew it would go out pretty fast so it would be best to follow. It was the right choice. I have wanted it for so long, and that was enough to motivate me to go.
“It hasn’t quite sunk in yet. I have thought of this moment for so long, probably since I was a middle schooler.”
Stapleton’s title came after a pair of disappointing state performances the past two seasons, when she took fourth but knew she had it in herself to grab gold.
“The last few seasons I’ve kind of choked at state,” she said. “You work your way up the whole season and then you do terrible. I didn’t care what I got height wise, I just wanted to do my best.”
Her best turned out to be a career best, as she cleared 5 feet, 8 inches and in the process may have earned herself some money in college as well.
“A lot of the excitement is because I want to go to BYU for college,” she said. “They said if I clear 5-8, I can get a scholarship. So it means a lot to me to clear 5-8, PR and basically get a scholarship.”
The two victories, combined with Elisa Grandemange’s second-place finish in the javelin, give the Braves 28 points in the team standings and a great shot at winning a third consecutive team title.
Grandemange threw a personal best 131-10 in the javelin, capping off a month where she couldn’t practice the event because of a back injury.
“Mentally it is hard because you have to go in with confidence and you haven’t been throwing,” she said. “I’m happy I threw a PR. I’m excited.”
SCHOOL RECORDS: Richland High’s Macey Weitz and Lauren Perry set school records while finishing third in their respective events.
Weitz threw 137-8 in the discus, while Perry ran a 4:53.81 in the 1,600.
“When I threw that one throw, it felt good,” Weitz said, “but I didn’t think it’d be 137. I was pretty excited.”
Perry, meanwhile, ran a strong race but had to go up against the nation’s best runner in Camas’ Alexa Efraimson, who ran a national record 4:33.29 to win the event.
At Mt. Tahoma Stadium, Tacoma
1,600—1, Drew Schreiber, Eisenhower, 4:07.32; 2, Jack Yearian, Bellarmine Prep, 4:08.50; 3, Cameron Stanish, Garfield, 4:09.36; 12, Michael Williams, Richland, 4:15.67. Shot—1, Jonah Jordan, Mead, 55-0.75; 2, Jared Pulu, Federal Way, 54-2.75; 3, Brock Eager, Tahoma, 52-7; 7, John Boynton, Richland, 50-9.5. TJ—1, Danielle Agoh, Tahoma, 37-10.25; 2, Brittni Williams, Auburn Riverside, 37-3.75; 3, Ta’Mara Richey, Federal Way, 37-2.5.
1,600—1, Alexa Efraimson, Camas, 4:33.29; 2, Rose Christen, Central Kitsap, 4:49.43; 3, Lauren Perry, Richland, 4:53.81; 10, Lindsey Bradley, Richland, 5:01.57. Discus—1, Lyndsay Leatherman, Arlington, 142-0; 2, Nicole Corbett, Camas, 137-11; 3, Macey Weitz, Richland, 137-8; 9, Katarina Tonhdavong, Walla Walla, 111-7.
1,600—1, Joe Hardy, Seattle Prep, 4:07.73; 2, Max Leach, Nathan Hale, 4:09.60; 3, John Dressel, Mt. Spokane, 4:10.95. PV—1, Luke Middelstadt, Prairie, 15-3; 2, Zach Shugart, Bishop Blanchet, 15-0; 3, Taylor Barnes, Bishop Blanchet, 14-9.
1,600—1, Megan Beauchene, Kamiakin, 4:48.42; 2, Erin Ripple, Holy Names, 4:50.90; 3, Andrea Masterson, Lakeside, 4:55.38. Jav—1, Mariah Horton, Kelso, 133-2; 2, Elisa Grandmage, Kamiakin, 131-10; 3, Katherine Taylor, Shorecrest, 127-6; 12, Paris Airoldi, Southridge, 112-5. HJ—1, Andrea Stapleton, Kamiakin, 5-8; 2, Olivia Vincent, Holy Names, 5-4; 2, Maddie Taylor, Auburn Mountainview, 5-4; 8, Paige Thompson, Southridge, 5-0; 9, Monica Rowley, Hanford, 5-0.
1,600—1, Scott Kopczynski, East Valley-Spokane, 4:15.96; 2, Logan Orndorf, Cedarcrest, 4:17.46; 3, Chad STevens, East Valley-Spokane, 4:17.52. LJ—1, Ryan Chase, Capital, 22-6; 2, Keshun McGee, Olympic, 22-5.25; 3, Rudy Mataya, Burlington-Edison, 22-3.25.
1,600—1, Katia Matora, Lake Washington, 5:00.18; 2, Emily Pittis, Sehome, 5:00.76; 3, Brittany Aquino, East Valley-Spo, 5:01.22.
w Craig Craker: 582-1509; email@example.com