By Kim Cunningham
For The Beachcomber
Despite having their season moved up by a month and shortened by several weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, both the McMurray boys’ and girls’ Track and Field teams emerged as the Middle Nisqually/Chinook League 2021 Champions.
The Mustang girls, led by 8th-grade veteran sprinter Laurel Calhoun and hurdler Neve DeVoght and rising 7th-grade stars, Lena Puz, Emily Harrington, and Cecilia Guenther, racked up the points to win all four of the season’s scheduled meets.
Meanwhile, the Mustang boys’ team, led by returning 2019 Team Champions Xan London-Chambers, Finnian Lawler, and Simon Zapf, were joined by 8th-grade newcomers Rowan Marceau-Roache and Avery Davis as well as standout 7th-graders Bodie Thomas and Finn Kennan to bring home the team’s second championship after the 2020 season was canceled. The boys won three of their four meets this season.
Sixth-graders Oliver Bresnik, Evanan Shrestha, Brent Calhoun, Cash Nowicki, and Weston Dorr teamed up in the 4×100-meter and 4×200-meter relays to add valuable points to the team and give the 7th and 8th graders a run for their money, while sixth-grader Marianna Daly hurdled her way to “Rookie of the Year.”
The Mustang Girls’ 4x100m and 4×200-meter 7th to 8th-grade relay team of Lena Puz, Neve DeVoght, Elouise Lawrence, and anchored by Laurel Calhoun were the team to beat all season but ended up coming up short in the final meet, losing to Seattle Christian in the 4×200-meter by only two-hundredths of a second. The 7th to 8th Mustang Boys’ relay teams, anchored by Xan London-Chambers, fought through injuries and quarantine-induced lineup changes this year to deliver two heart-pounding, come-from-behind victories over Cascade Christian, only to have their hopes dashed at the Championship meet to place second in the 4×200-meter by a margin of two-thousandths of a second.
While the Mustang sprinters, led by Rowan Marceau-Roache and Laurel Calhoun, delivered huge wins this season in both the 100 and 200-meter dashes, the Mustang distance runners were not to be outdone. Bodie Thomas ran a blistering 4:59 second 1600-meter dash and a 2:29 second 800-meter dash, ranking him among the top 100 athletes in the country for his age group in the mile.
Strong showings from Cecilia Guenther in both the mile and the high jump, from Perrin Davies in the 800-meter dash and Finn Kennan in the 400-meter dash, alongside Emily Harrington’s record-setting crossover performances in both the 800-meter dash and the 200-meter dash came in clutch for the Mustangs, while all-around athletes Lena Puz’ and Rowan Marceau-Roache’s efforts in the shot put and high jump, respectively, pushed McMurray’s point total over the top on multiple occasions.
Finnian Lawler, Simon Zapf, Neve DeVoght, and Lena Puz led the Mustang hurdlers to dominate the league in both the 75-meters hurdles and 200 meters hurdles events, with Lawler peaking at the right time to take first place in the 75-meters hurdles while setting a personal record during the final championship meet.
Finn Kennan and Lena Puz won the boys’ and girls’ shot put championships, throwing 29’04” and 23’02.” Avery Davis came in second in the discus competition, throwing 78’01” while Lena Puz also won the girls’ discus, with a 60’01” throw that beat the nearest competitor by nearly 15 feet. In the high jump, Cecilia Guenther matched her PR of 4’06” during the championship meet to take first place, with Marceau-Roache also matching his PR of 5’0” to win the event, and Simon Zapf beating his PR to take second place with a jump of 4’10.”
Coaches Kim and Kalen Cunningham offered their sincerest thanks to volunteer coaches Kevin Ross, Erin Schultz, Todd Pearson, and Foss Miller for their help in making this season a huge success, as well as Ron and Nick Keenan for their mastery of the electronic timing system for McMurray and VHS home meets, and Cross-Country Head Coach Bruce Cyra.
High school Girls Track and Field Team are Nisqually champions
For the first time since 1996, the Vashon Island High School Girls Track and Field team won the 2021 Nisqually League Championship and were able to lift the trophy.
The team scored 146 team points. Bellevue Christian came in second with 141 points, followed by Charles Wright Academy with 137 and Cascade Christian close behind with 114. Seattle Christian scored 19, Annie Wright scored eight, and Life Christian scored three points.
The championship meet took place and was hosted at Vashon Island High School on the new track surface. Highlights included the 4×100-meter relay team taking first place with a time of 51.62. The team members included Phoebe Wilke, Payton Venturi, Isabella Sanson-Frey, and Alana Bass. Madeline Yarkin took first in the the1600-meter dash with a time of 5:44.
The Pirates swept the top three places in the high jump. Caitlin Jeffcoat took first with a leap of 4’8” and Indigo Assink took second as she cleared 4’6”. Both Isabella Sanson-Frey and Nicki Becker cleared 4’4”.
Another mini-sweep took place in the long jump with Bass taking first place with a jump of 14’5” and Becker right behind in second with a jump of 14’3”. Venturi took first in the triple jump with a mark of 34’1. Wilke took second in the 200-meter dash in a time of 28.24. Yarkin finished second in the 3200-meter dash, stopping the clock at 13:39. Isabella Mediavilla took second place in both the shot put 27’2” and the Javelin with a throw of 85’6”.
The Pirate boys took third place overall as a team by scoring 92 points in the championship meet. George Murphy took first place in both the Pole Vault, as he cleared a height of 11’0”, and the High Jump, clearing 5’4”. Alec Pottinger placed second in the shot put with a mark of 36’3”. Ursa Medeiros and Mead Gill both ran a sub-five-minute mile, finishing in 4:54 and 4:57. Medeiros also finished third in the discus with a throw with a mark of 86’9. Blake Gibbons took third place in the 110-meter high hurdles with a time of 20.07. Eli Buffington took third in the javelin with a throw of 105’7” and Lucas Schoenberg took third in the high jump with a leap of 5’2”.
— Kevin Ross, VHS assistant track and field coach