LYNDEN – Meridian boys track and field captured its first district championship in 33 years on Saturday at the 1A District 1 championships at Lynden Christian High School.
The Trojans collected five individual titles and 16 top-4 performances, led by senior Harlon Stuit’s three individual firsts, to grab their first district title since 1986.
Meridian’s 133 points was enough to counter South Whidbey at 126.5. Mount Baker was fifth at 61, Lynden Christian was seventh (44.5) and Nooksack Valley eighth (40).
Stuit won the 110-meter hurdles with a PR of 14.80 to improve on his state-best mark. He also won the triple jump (41-05.5) and the long jump (21-10), a season record that puts him second in state. He also came in fourth in the 200-meter dash (23.32).
Senior distance runner Jaskaran Dhatt ran his best two-mile of the season (10:00.69) for an upset, come-from-behind victory over Granite Falls’ Isaac Cortes.
“I knew Isaac was a pretty fast guy,” said Dhatt, a state participant last year. “Right at 250 [meters] I thought if I just pushed it now and try to stay head I can maybe stay ahead of him. I thought he was going to come around any second, but he didn’t.”
The Trojans also had the top showing for county girls teams with a second-place finish (128) behind district champion King’s (154.5). Lynden Christian was third (108), Nooksack Valley seventh (41) and Mount Baker 10th (10).
Senior Mali Mack led the way with three individual titles and a third. She blazed to the 100-meter dash crown with a PR of 12.39 that lifts her to No. 3 in the state. She also won the 200-meter dash (26.12) and ran the anchor in the winning 4x200 relay (1:47.32) that PR’d and moved to No. 4 in the state.
A disqualification at the start of the 4x200 eliminated King’s, the third-ranked relay team in the state and cleared path for the Trojans’ relay made up of Mack, Claire Skaggs, Katelyn Barnes and Rubijean Stuit.
“When that DQ went off I started freaking out because he started walking in my lane, and I’m like, ‘There’s no way. Please. No,’” Stuit said. “It makes you realize we can not screw this up.”
Meridian’s relay, which placed fourth at state last year with the same group of girls, and were state champions two years ago with Mack and Barnes on the team, didn’t have the victory handed to them. The Trojans were trailing Coupeville in the finals 200-meters when Barnes handed off the baton to Mack.
“If anything, Mali likes to chase," Stuit said. “She’s going to hunt that girl down.”
And she did. As Mack caught Coupeville’s anchor around the corner with 100 meters to go, she saw the Wolves’ runner glance over at her as the two hit the final backstretch. Their batons clinked together as Mack edged her at the tape for the win.
“Fifty meters in and I’m like, ‘OK, it feels good,’” Mack said. “She’s fast though. She gave me a run for my money.”
For Nooksack Valley, Maya Galley easily captured the girls javelin by 10 feet with a throw of 116-11. The sophomore placed seventh at state in the event as a freshman and hopes to be throwing close to 130 by state.
“I didn’t throw my best today, but I felt pretty confident coming in because I was first from the regular season,” Galley said. “I put in a lot of effort this past summer and school year, working out in the mornings and getting stronger. The hard work is starting to pay off. It felt really good.”
Lynden Christian sophomore Sydney Wiersma qualified for bi-districts in all the throws after taking second in the javelin (106-08), third in the shot put (33-04.5) and third in the discus (93-07). This is her first year turning out for track since 8th grade.
“It’s pretty good,” Wiersma said. “I didn’t do it last year so it’s a fun experience. I PR’d by a lot so it’s good.”
The top-4 in each event at districts automatically qualify for bi-districts in Coupeville on May 16 and 18. The top-9 in every event, split between District 1 and District 2, will also qualify for bi-districts.
These are the boys top-4 finishers with automatic bids from Saturday’s District 1 meet at Lynden Christian:
200-meter dash: Harlon Stuit, Meridian, fourth.
400-meter dash: Jackson Corkill, Lynden Christian, fourth; Jenson Ellars, Meridian, fourth.
800-meter run: Logan Clabaugh, Nooksack Valley, second; Jenson Ellars, Meridian, third. Peter Adams, Mount Baker, fourth.
1600-meter run: Abbas Theophilus, Meridian, fourth.
3200-meter run: Jaskaran Dhatt, Meridian, first; Abbas Theophilus, Meridian, fourth.
110-meter hurdles: Harlon Stuit, Meridian, first; Shane Hamstra, Lynden Christian, second.
300-meter hurdles: Shane Hamstra, Lynden Christian, third.
4x400-meter relay: Lynden Christian, second; Mount Baker, third; Nooksack Valley, fourth.
Shot put: Matias Velasquez, Mount Baker, second; Adam Kruzich, Meridian, third; Hesser Sotelo, Meridian, fourth.
Discus: Matias Velasquez, Mount Baker, second; Hesser Sotelo, Meridian, fourth.
Javelin: Hesser Sotelo, Meridian, first; Cameron Webster, Meridian, second; Dawson Logan, Meridian, third.
High jump: Chris VanLiew, Mount Baker, first.
Pole vault: Jay Allen, Mount Baker, first; Thane Boersma, Lynden Christian, fourth.
Long jump: Harlon Stuit, Meridian, first.
Triple jump: Harlon Stuit, Meridian, first; Dawson Logan, Meridian, second; Landon Bruland, Nooksack Valley, fourth.
Girls with automatic bids to bi-districts:
100-meter dash: Mali Mack, Meridian, first.
200-meter dash: Mali Mack, Meridian, first.
400-meter dash: Laine DeJong, Lynden Christian, first.
1600-meter run: Kayla Aalpoel, Meridian, fourth.
3200-meter run: Kayla Aalpoel, Meridian, third; Maya Ewing, Lynden Christian, fourth.
100-meter hurdles: Katelyn Barnes, Meridian, third.
300-meter hurdles: Katelyn Barnes, Meridian, first; Rubijean Stuit, Meridian, third.
4x100-meter relay: Meridian, fourth.
4x200-meter relay: Meridian, first; Lynden Christian, fourth.
4x400-meter relay: Lynden Christian, second; Meridian, third.
Shot put: Payton Elenbaas, Meridian, second; Sydney Wiersma, Lynden Christian, third.
Discus: Payton Elenbaas, Meridian, first; Sydney Wiersma, Lynden Christian, third; Alyssa Forbis, Meridian, fourth.
Javelin: Maya Galley, Nooksack Valley, first; Sydney Wiersma, Lynden Christian, second.
High jump: Rubijean Stuit, Meridian, first; Trinity Anderson, Mount Baker, third; Ava Decker, Lynden Christian, fourth.
Pole vault: Claire Skaggs, Meridian, second.
Long jump: Laine DeJong, Lynden Christian, second;
Triple jump: Paige Decker, Lynden Christian, first; Tehya Moore, Nooksack Valley, second.