LYNDEN — Each season, Lynden’s Bedlington Twilight Invitational offers the first opportunity for local track and field athletes to see how they stack up against some of the best competition in Whatcom County.
From the results of the 2017 version of the invite on a rainy Friday, it’s clear that a strong track program at Lynden High School is looking like a force yet again.
Among the many impressive performances on the day for the Lions, senior standout Brandon Swarthout — who earned a second-place medal at state in triple jump last season — was simply outstanding during the meet, winning the 100 meters (11.34), 200 (23.01) and triple jump (45-03.50).
“I am really excited about Brandon,” Lynden head coach Layne Hutchins said. “He’s worked really hard for this and is already competing at a high level. He has very high goals for the season and is well on his way (to achieving those goals).”
Following Swarthout in the 100 was sophomore Anthony Baird in second place (11.81).
The Lynden boys also had junior Nick Kildall in third in the 800 (2:05.40), junior Aaron Weidenaar in first in the high jump (6-00) and senior Josiah Lyons in first in the pole vault (13-00). Lynden’s 4x100 relay team took second (45.54) while the 4x400 team ended up in first (3:35.55).
As a team, the Lynden boys finished second to Sehome with 96 points. The Lions managed a second-place finish at the state meet last spring as well.
Senior Jasmyne Neria was the most notable Lynden girl performer of the meet. Neria — who anchored the Lions’ 4x400 state championship relay team last season and took second in the 400 at state — blazed past the competition in the 400-meter dash, winning the event with a time of 59.21 seconds.
“Jasmyne Neria recorded the state’s best 2A time in her first open 400 of the year,” Hutchins explained. “Running in the low 59s is well ahead of where she was last season. She is setting herself up for another record-breaking season.”
Neria also helped the Lions earn first in the 4x200 relay (1:50.49) and second in the 4x400 (4:17.34).
The Lynden girls also had junior Sierra Smith earn third in the 100 (13.69) and junior Kornelija Houston third in the 1600 (5:46.03). The Lions finished sixth in the girls team standings with 59 points.
Fourteen teams participated in the meet.
“I am very pleased with the progress of our team,” Hutchins said. “Track is a little unique in that the process is what is most important. Wins and losses do not really matter — it is whether or not we are ready at the end of the year that really counts. We have a lot of new track athletes who are learning and making great improvements. I have a lot of fun watching them compete and improve.”
The Lions host Anacortes and Ferndale today at 3:30 p.m.
LC’s Rusnak excels in return from injury
For the Lyncs, senior Hannah Rusnak won the 200 (26.38) and the 100 hurdles (14.85) to earn the only top-three finish of the day for the Lynden Christian girls, who took 11th with 34 points.
Rusnak suffered an ankle injury during the state volleyball tournament in November that forced her to miss the entire basketball season. She earned four medals at state track last season.
“Hannah’s ankle was a bit sore this week, so we held her to two events,” Lynden Christian head coach Kent De Hoog said. “She was terrific as usual.”
On the boys side for LC, senior David Martin took third in the 100 (11.85). Senior Stephen Cummins was second in the 200 (23.44); junior Brooks DeWaard took second in the 1600 (4:36.63); junior Eric Steiger found silver in the 3200 (9:49.62); senior Jack Vander Griend finished second in the 110 hurdles (16.06); junior Andrew Ward managed second in the 300m hurdles (43.59); and the Lyncs 4x400 relay team took the bronze (3:37.10).
“Given the weather conditions, plus the fact that recent weather has hampered our ability to train, I was very pleased with some of our performances,” said De Hoog, who was also impressed with the performance of the boys team, which finished third with 67 points despite being smaller than many of the teams at the meet.
LC will compete at Sedro-Woolley in a meet that also includes Blaine today at 3:30 p.m.
Meridian boys, girls both take fifth
The Trojans had several nice finishes at the meet as both the boys (48 points) and the girls (65.5) took fifth in the team standings.
Sophomore Harlon Stuit won the 110 hurdles (15.96) while senior Camden Burgess took second in the triple jump (41-07) for the Meridian boys. Burgess finished eighth in triple jump at last season’s state meet.
Junior Ashlee VanDenTop was victorious in the 800 (2:21.65) for the Meridian girls. The Trojans 4x200 relay team managed second while senior Sydney Gospodinovich was third in the discus (100-01). Freshman Katelyn Barnes found silver in the high jump (4-06) while senior Payton Lunde took the same place in the long jump (16-04.75).
Meridian hosts Bellingham and Mount Baker today at 3:30 p.m.
Nooksack girls do well in the field
Junior Grace Himango won the shot put (36-07.25) and junior Nicole Whittern took the top spot in the javelin (123.05) to lead the day for the lady Pioneers. Senior Michaela Yonkman managed third in the 300 hurdles (48.58) as the Nooksack girls finished eighth with 48.5 points.
On the boys side, junior Tre Silva took fourth in the long jump (19-05.50) and fifth in the triple jump (39-01) as the Pioneers came in 13th place with 12 points.
“I was pleased with how our kids competed,” Nooksack Valley head coach Tyler Perry said. “There were a number of season PRs. A few (athletes) put themselves in the top 10 in state, which was exciting to see. At such an early-season meet, to have the numbers we had, overall I was happy.”
The Pioneers head to Civic today to compete against Squalicum and Burlington-Edison at 3:30 p.m.
Baker earns a handful of top-three spots
The Mountaineers had senior Keenan Gray in third in the 1600 (4:45.30), senior TJ Bass in third in the shot put (47-02.50), sophomore Alex Velasquez in third in the high jump (5-10) and junior Thomas Barbo in third in the long jump (19-10.50) to lead the day for the boys team, which finished 11th with 29 points.
The Baker girls, who took 15th with three points, had sophomore Kylind Powell earn the high finish of the day, a fifth place in the high jump (4-04).