Post season, three middle-school runners continue to excel

McMurray Middle School’s track season ended May 24, but three island runners continued racing into the start of summer.

McMurray Middle School’s track season ended May 24, but three island runners used their fitness gained to continue racing into the start of summer.

Eighth-graders Bodie Thomas and Oskar CobbMaigetter, along with sixth-grader Harrison Decker, finished 1-2-3 at the season’s final League Championship in the 1600-meter.

They all continued to race into the spring, setting personal bests at meets in Portland, Eugene, Bellingham, Seattle and Kirkland.

“The most exciting part of my post-season was running at Hayward Field during the Prefontaine Youth meet,” said Decker. “That weekend, I also went to the Prefontaine Classic, where I met Olympian Karissa Schweizer and watched her win the 10,000-meter national championship race.”

On May 28, Decker raced to a tie for second in the 800-meter race at the Prefontaine Youth meet at Hayward Field, in Eugene, in 2:28 minutes. He went on to set personal records in the 200- and 400-meter races at the Rainier Beach Invitational on April 23, and then finished up his season by taking first in the 3000-meter race on May 14, in Kirkland at the Cascade Striders Relay Carnival, coming in at 10:45 minutes.

All of his times were personal bests and set records for his team, the West Seattle Road Runners, where he is coached by James Powell and Carson Caprara.

Decker is taking a few weeks of recovery before getting ready for Vashon’s cross country season, where he is the top returning runner for the Mustangs.

Thomas finished first in the 1600-meter race at the league meet at the end of the track season for the Mustangs, in 4:33 minutes, before heading off to set personal records in multiple distances and a first place, nationally.

First up was his personal record in the 3200-meter on May 4, in 9:47 minutes, in Olympia. Then, on June 5, he ran bests of 4:21 and 9:07 minutes in the 1500-meter and 3000-meter in Portland.

Thomas followed up his streak with a tactically perfect two-mile race, on June 19, in Eugene’s Nike Outdoor National meet, winning in 9:45 minutes.

Thomas said that going into nationals, he knew he could win, and as the race started, he stuck near the front and the rail. Things started to heat up, with 600 meters to go, when he took the lead and started pushing the pace. When his competition got close behind, and then right beside him with half a lap to go, Thomas accelerated and won the race in a meet record of 9:45.46.

“I closed the final lap in 63 seconds,” he said. “I couldn’t believe how fast the final lap was. A few days after that, I ran my final race of the season with a [personal record] in Bellingham in the 1500 [meter race]in 4:14.”

While racing unattached, Thomas is coached by his uncle Jose Garcia, of Davis High School in Yakima, and supported by his parents for which he also said he is grateful. Thomas is also grateful to have a hometown track to train on.

“Having a track facility is extremely nice, a lot of this wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for that,” he said. “I am looking forward to starting cross-country my freshman year at Vashon High.”

Thomas was joined at nationals by fellow Mustang, Oskar CobbMaigetter, and the two trained together in preparation, with Thomas and his uncle helping CobbMaigetter with race strategy.

CobbMaigetter set a personal best in the mile in Eugene in 4:54, after he ran 4:58 in the 1600-meter race in the league for the Mustangs, where he finished second to Thomas.