The 90 middle-school students who make up the McMurray Mustangs track and field team for 2022 excelled at the Nisqually League Championships, held on May 24 at Charles Wright Academy in Tacoma.
This group of athletes, in grades six to eight, teems with talent and record-holders in every event.
The team broke 28 school records, from throwing the 1 kilogram discus 87 feet, to racing 1600 meters (1 mile) around the track in four minutes and 33 seconds.
The Mustangs unofficially swept several events when extras were allowed to participate but not officially compete. In the men’s 1600 race, in which the Mustangs fielded two official and seven extras, the first eight boys to cross the finish line were wearing the McMurray uniform.
First across was Bodie Thomas, at 4:47, then Oscar Cobbmaigetter, at 4:58, Harrison Decker, at 5:25, Briar Guenther, at 5:41, Felix Cobbmaigetter, at 5:42, Avery Maclean at 5:43, Dominic Coppolillio, at 5:44, and Quill Tegenfeld-Pfohman, at 6:02. It was nearly 46 seconds later before any other team crossed the finish line.
Another notable example of athletic stamina was Emily Harrington who ran the 200, 400, and 800-meter races in succession, winning two first-place ribbons and one second. Then there was top medal winner, Lena Puz, who won first place in women’s shot put throw, discus throw, 75-meter hurdles, and second place in the 100-meter sprint.
The Mustangs’ outstanding performance in the league is attributable to several factors.
First are the athletes themselves. For example, our winners of the Strength and Leadership awards, Lena Puz and Bodie Thomas, both model excellence in their events and in an ability to help and inspire their teammates.
Another factor is the design of the track and field program. After warm-up and drills in the McMurray field, Mustangs go to practice at the high school facilities, with Pirate specialty coaches and the outstanding Pirate athletes.
And finally, the school campus itself is a treasure, replete with forests, fields and running trails that inspire athletic exertion.
Thank you to the Vashon community for making this all possible.
Looking ahead, about a third of the McMurray team will graduate to join the Vashon Pirates, including many of the team’s top athletes. But, there is lots of talent staying on to hone their skills, and I expect a winning team for 2023.
And when passing the elementary school’s recess on my way to practice each day, it is evident that there is more new talent to come.
Visit athletic.net to see the full list of McMurray Middle school track and field results at the Nisqually Middle School championships.
Joe Yarkin is the head coach of the McMurray Mustangs.