As May brings warmer weather, ideal conditions and extra incentive, things are heating up on the track and field oval.
Such was the case at French Field at the Kent All-City meet Friday.
Speed was abundant as times fell and momentum was gained in anticipation of this week’s North Puget Sound League meet, the next step to the ultimate payday – the 4A state championships in Tacoma on May 23-25.
Sprinters and relay teams are setting a wicked pace.
Kentridge’s Bonet Henderson, one of the state’s best burners who has committed to the University of Mary in North Dakota, where she will run track and study nursing, knows it’s time to step on the accelerator. She’s in fast company.
“It’s like league is districts, and it’s harder to get to districts than it is to state, which is like weird,” Henderson said after edging teammate Lauryn “Lolo” Ford and Kentwood’s Makayla Williams for the 100-meter victory. “The 100 (12.22 seconds) was my best time so far this year … and I know I can run faster in the 200.”
Behind senior leaders Henderson and Ford – state-class performers who perform year-round with the Xtreme Speed Club – the Chargers repeated as All-City champions.
Kent-Meridian ran off with the boys title.
Henderson’s 100-meter time is fourth best in the 4A rankings, seventh best among all schools in the state this season. She later won the All-City 200, turning a personal-best 24.99, the third-best time in 4A and sixth quickest in the state.
The best has yet to come for Henderson despite putting up with nagging shin splints.
“Got ‘em preseason by training really hard,” she said. “Been icing and stretching them … bittersweet.”
Ford, scholarship bound to Brigham Young University, posted a season-best 12.31 in the 100. She has run 25.55 in the 200. Both sprint times have put her in the top 10 of the 4A rankings.
Henderson and Ford joined Sydnee Johnson and Jayma Erker to finish second behind Kentwood in the 400 relay (49.35). They have the fourth-best time in the state in the relay (48.86).
Kentwood’s Williams, Faith Marshall, Emma Pollak and Jessica Robinson raced to the sprint relay win in season-best 48.65, the second quickest time in the state. The same foursome captured the 800 relay 1:41.63, second fastest in 4A.
Williams, a junior, is right behind Henderson in the 4A 100 rankings, fifth with a personal-best 12.23 in the 100. She is ninth in the 4A 200 listings (25.88).
Pollak went on to win the 400 (57.04, personal record)
Faith and heart
Kentwood’s state-class Faith Marshall is ready to finish her career with a flurry.
She tripled on Friday, taking the All-City 100 hurdles in 14.98, the 300 hurdles in a season-best 47.87 and high jump with a personal-best 4 feet, 10 inches.
“It’s my senior year, and I’m realizing that it’s real,” said Marshall, who is poised to return to the state meet. “I need to step it up. I’ve been working extra hard to get tops in state.”
Other girls highlights
Kent-Meridian sophomore Arundeep Kaurran away with the 3,200 (12:37.01, PR).
Two other K-M sophomores – Evelyn Madrid-Fierro (34-6¾) and Ofa He Lotu Tuifua (33-5½) went 1-2 in the shot put.
Kentridge freshman Saydi Orange topped the discus (101-2) and javelin (106-0) fields with personal records. The Chargers’ Adama Bojang doubled, winning the long jump (16-7½) and triple jump (35-2).
Kentridge’s Alexis Mallory climbed 10-3 to take the pole vault. The 1,600 relay of Annabelle Ust, Diana Raykova, Jasmine Garana and Isabelle Jones won in 4:37.48.
Kent-Meridian dominated behind a well-rounded effort.
Ronald Wilson, a junior, tripled, capturing the 100 (11.16), 200 (22.83, PR) and long jump (22-0) and anchoring the 400 relay – with Jamar Craddieth, KD Dhillon and Ja’Vaughn Hylton – in 42.75, the swiftest time in 4A and the second-best clocking in the state this season.
Dhillon also snagged the 400 title (52.76).
The Royals’ other relay – the 1,600 group of Peter Lopez, Montrel Harris, Dre’Shawn Purdy and A’Shuanyeh Barclay – took the All-City win in 3:35.17. The Royals’ Samuel Ayele won the 1,600 (4:37.66).
K-M senior Jordan Wigall doubled in the high jump (6-2, PR) and triple jump (42-5, PR).
For Kentridge, Natano Woods, who is off to San Jose State on a football scholarship, doubled in the discus (151-9, PR) and shot put (49-1). Jace Gersten went 12-0 to claim the pole vault.
For Kentwood, Zakriye Mohamed doubled in the 110 hurdles (15.56, PR) and 300 hurdles (41.33).
The NPSL meet is Wednesday and Thursday at Auburn Memorial Stadium. Action begins each day at 3:30 p.m. The top 10 finishers from each event at the league meet qualify for the West Central District championships, May 16 and 18 at Sumner. The top seven from there move on to state, May 23-25 at Tacoma’s Mount Tahoma High School.