Kent-Meridian High’s Alex McGeachy didn’t have to look far for motivation.
District competition in the hurdles is as good as it gets for the Royals’ senior.
Pushed and pulled by Todd Beamer’s blazing Kobe Okezie, McGeachy qualified for state in the 300-meter intermediate and 110 hurdles at the 4A West Central District track and field championships at French Field last week.
In Saturday’s 300 finals, Okezie edged McGeachy at the wire – 38.30 to 38.32 seconds, both personal bests – in one of the more dramatic finishes of the afternoon.
In the 110 finals on May 17, Okezie beat Rogers of Puyallup’s Taylor Murchison, the 4A leader in the event, for the district crown. Okezie stopped the clock in 14.65. McGeachy followed in fourth with a personal-best 15.06.
The top seven finishers in each event moved on to this week’s state meet at Mount Tahoma High School in Tacoma. The state championships began Thursday afternoon and conclude Saturday.
Okezie’s 110 time of 14.47 set in the league finals is the state’s third fastest this season, his 300 time is ranked No. 2 in the 4A ranks, which makes him a contender for podium finishes at Tacoma.
“Felt pretty good,” Okezie said of his finish in the 300. “I expected a good race from (McGeachy). … I think we’re both good and ready for state.”
Added McGeachy, who has the 4A’s third-best time in the distance hurdles: “I expect pretty much about the same (at state) that happened in this race. Should be close.”
For McGeachy, the heart was willing but the legs grew heavier as he tried to close in on Okezie down the stretch.
“Terrible,” McGeachy said of feeling the full effects of the finish. “I was trying my hardest to catch up to him.”
“I was trying my hardest to stay ahead of you,” Okezie replied.
All charged up
Kentridge’s Solomon Hines took the 200 title with a personal-best 21.75 seconds, the top time in the 4A ranks this season. He added a second in the 100 (10.82) and anchored the state-bound 400 relay with Nathan Peak, Deontae Roberts and Caleb Barrera (42.45, 4A’s No. 3 best time).
“It raises the tempo, to go fast,” Hines said of the fast company. “It’s basically like a college type of a race.”
At state, Hines will be chasing, among others, D’Angelo Biggs, of Graham-Kapowsin, who won the 100-meter district title in a personal-best 10.79, and finished just behind the Kentridge senior in the 200.
“I’m ready for it,” Hines said.
Kentridge’s Tyler Cronk, the national high jump co-leader at 7 feet, 3 inches, cleared 7-0 to secure the district title. He also stretched 22-0½ to finish sixth in the long jump. … Kent-Meridian junior Aaron Tulloch captured the shot put title with a personal-best throw of 49 feet, 2 inches.
Kentwood sophomore Daniel Gaik won the 400 (49.66, PR).
The Chargers’ Lauryn “Lolo” Ford is peaking at the right hour. The junior is off to state after winning the long jump with a personal-record 18-7¾. She also set a personal-best 25.33 in the 200 (sixth) and qualified in the 100 (12.31, seventh).
“My goal honestly is just to PR, do the best that I can,” Ford said of her plans for state. “I’ve had a lot of injuries this season … but I’ve come back strong. It’s been good.”
Ford’s teammate, junior Bonet Henderson, qualified for state with a fifth in the 400 (58.80, PR).
Kentwood’s Hailey Suit advanced to state in the 100 (12.23, fourth) and 200 (25.45, PR, seventh) and anchored the 400 relay of Alyssa Gonzalez, Jessica Robinson and Faith Marshall (48.50, third). Kentwood’s Destiny Capers was third in the discus (123-2) and fifth in the javelin (112-2).
K-M’s 800 relay of Makayla McIntosh, Brittany Tellis, Qwaniah Levy and Olivia Carter qualified for state (1:44.63, fourth). The Royals’ Sophia Leer was fourth in the pole vault (9-6).