Devin St. Clair jumped ship from the long jump because of a strained hip flexor almost two months ago. Now, his times are jumping off the page in his new events.
The move is paying off for the Kentwood High junior as he’s focusing on the sprints – the 100 and 200 meters – this spring.
St. Clair took the first step toward advancing to Class 4A state in those events by winning his heats in both, capping the double last Friday in the 200 finals of the South Puget Sound League 4A sub-district track meet at Sunset Chev Stadium in Sumner.
The Conquerors’ school-record holder in the long jump covered the 200 in 22.15 seconds for a triumph in his heat. Last Wednesday, he posted a time of 10.87 in the 100, giving him the league’s top seed in that event to the West Central District meet, set for Friday and Saturday at Mount Tahoma High School in Tacoma.
“He missed a lot of conditioning with the injury,” Kentwood coach Steve Roche said. “It was on the recommendation of his doctor that he be done for the season (in the long jump). He probably missed four weeks.
“But he’s got a great chance to place high at state in two events. It wasn’t worth risking everything for one event.”
St. Clair’s previous time of 10.74 ranks him second in the state so far in the 100. Previously, he has made state as part of a relay, but never as an individual.
“He’s probably capable of doing all three events, but the long jump is a tremendous amount of stress on his injury,” Roche said. “Really, we’re thrilled where he’s at now. He’s almost further along than I thought he would be at this point.
“He’s just getting back into shape. Still, it would be a disappointment if he didn’t make state.”
St. Clair, who set a school record in the long jump (21-7 ½) last spring, benefited from the absence of Decatur’s Ezra John Griffey in both the 100 and 200. Griffey was second at state in 2007 in the 200 and third in the 100.
Griffey was passed through to district, however, based on his top times.
St. Clair also was part of the Conquerors’ winning 400 and 1,600 relays with two of the state’s top times. Kentwood posted a 43.14 in the 400 and 3:24.16 in the 1,600.
Senior KW teammate Chris Selvar looks to be rounding into form for a shot at repeat at the Class 4A state meet in the 800 meters. Selvar put up a season-best time of 1 minute, 57.75 seconds in winning Wednesday’s final heat of the 800.
“We feel like his speed is coming back,” Roche said of Selvar, who won last year’s state title in the 800 in 1:54.36. “He got sick between cross country and track. He came into the season with a mark against him. He only started running about a week before the (track) season.
“A lot of people have counted Chris out, because his time are not as good of times as he did last year. If it’s possible for state champion to surprise, then he might surprise with a state title.”
The Conquerors made serious run at the sub-district team title, falling short to Beamer of Federal Way 76-70.
On the strength of six sub-district champions, Kentwood advances to district with a strong chance of winning that event.
NOTES: On the girls side at sub-district, Tahoma’s Lauren Clawson won the 800 in 2:21.19 and finished second in the 1,600 in 5:18.91. The Bears also had two victorious relays in the 800 relay (1:44.48) and 400 relay (50.72). … Tahoma’s Rachel Meis moved into the No. 10 spot on the list of 4A’s top times in the 200 with a winning time of 25.60 on Friday. Savannah Johnson of Tahoma qualified for district with No. 2 finish in the triple jump (38-7). … Kentwood earned a pair of individual girls titles when Lindsey Moore captured the javelin (113-5) and Dana Wareham took the 400 (1:00.31). Wareham not only won her heat, but she posted the fastest qualifying time. … The Conquerors hit the wire first in the 1,600 relay I a time of 4:07.52. … Kent-Meridian’s Kelsey Bueno won the pole vault (10-6) over teammate Ferin Barry (10-6) on tiebreaker criteria. Another Royal, Melanie Vertrees, placed second in the high jump (5-3). … The area’s only other double winner in addition to St. Clair was Tahoma senior Jonathan Lafler, who secured victories in the 1,600 (4:18.68) and 3,200 (9:37.33). Lafler’s winning time in the 1,600 ranks third-best among 4A runners. … Other local boys sub-district champions were Tahoma’s Derek Eager (javelin, 176-5), Kentwood’s Cody Fishel (high jump, 6-4), Kentridge’s Luke Carpenter (pole vault, 13-0), Kentlake’s Zach Smith (long jump, 22-8¼) and Kent-Meridian’s Sean Harris (100 hurdles, 14.59).