After finishing second in the 110- and 300-meter hurdles at the Class 4A state track and field championship last year, Kentridge High School senior Tanner Conner is determined to win at least one state title this year.
“It really motivated me to work hard to get the two first places at state,” Conner said. “That’s what I’ve been striving for.”
Conner has four chances to win at the state meet Thursday through Saturday at Mount Tahoma High School in Tacoma. He is the top seed in the 300 hurdles, second seed in the 110 hurdles and also will compete in the 200 and long jump.
While a first place at state is the ultimate goal, Conner said he is pleased with his success so far this year.
“I have (set personal records) in all my events, so I couldn’t be more happy with that,” he said.
In this postseason, Conner has dominated the hurdles, doubling in the 110 and 300 in the South Puget Sound League 4A championships earlier this month and the West Central District 4A championship last weekend.
“I am running pretty consistent, so I am pretty happy with it,” he said.
Conner’s time of 14.22 seconds in the 110 hurdles at districts bested his personal record by a one-hundredth of a second. Saturday’s weather made the 300 hurdles more difficult than usual, Conner said.
“It is a little cold and a little wet, so I am a little tight,” he said after the race. “I was just mashing hurdles. I just powered through at the end.”
Despite the challenge, Conner’s time was 38.34, a tenth-of-a-second off his personal best set at the league championship the week before.
Conner took third in the long jump (21-6) and fifth in the 200, setting a personal record of 38.34. It was only Conner’s fourth time running the 200. He first ran it in a dual meet April 28. He dropped the triple jump to make the 200 his fourth event.
“It challenges me,” Conner said of the 200. “It makes me a better athlete.”
A three-sport athlete, Conner said he plans to visit a few colleges after the state meet to decide where he will continue his track career next year. He also played football and basketball at Kentridge.
Conner credits God for his talent and points to the sky after each race in thanks.
“I always give all the glory to God because he gave me my ability to run, and I thank him every day for it,” he said. “I feel like since he died for me I should go and run for him give everything I’ve got.”
K-M’s Taylor wins girls 100 hurdles at district
Kent-Meridian sophomore Jaleesa Taylor took first place in the girls hurdles at the district championships with a personal best time of 14.79. Taylor said it felt great to win and she hopes to have a repeat performance at the state meet.
“I am trying to do that again and keep PRing (setting personal records) and everything,” she said.
Taylor’s teammate, junior Caila Tongco, finished second in the 110 hurdles (14.95) and the 300 hurdles (45.30).
Tahoma won the girls district title and Federal Way was the top boys team…. Kentlake senior Avalyne Peters took second in the girls high jump (5-2)… Kentridge senior Emily Tea finished second in the pole vault (10-6)… Brittany Woke, a Kentwood senior, placed second in the long jump (17-8 1/2) and triple jump (37-5)… Senior Sarbjot Nahal finished third in the 300 hurdles (39.54) for the Kentwood boys…Kentridge freshman sprinter Lauryn Ford will not compete at state. Ford set school records for the Chargers in the 100 and 200 this year, but did not compete in the district meet to qualify for state because of a hamstring pull she suffered on April 23 at the Bellevue Track and Field Invitational, coach Jami Weinbrecht said.
PHOTO BELOW: Kentwood senior Brittany Woke flies in the long jump at the 4A West Central District meet last Saturday at French Field. Woke placed second and will compete at state this weekend in Tacoma. Heidi Sanders, Kent Reporter