TACOMA — A year after capturing a state championship in the 4×100 relay, every 2A relay team in the state was looking to knock Bremerton from the top of the podium.
But when it came time to step on the track, Lauryn Chandler, Nyaijah Johnson, Te’Caela Wilcher and Tyishea McWhorter were unstoppable as they were all season long.
The Knights foursome successfully defender their 4×100 state crown on Saturday, running a 49.05 to win the event for a second straight year.
“We won it last year, we had to hold down the title,” Johnson said.
They turned in a dominant performance and the result was never in doubt, though with the rain and wind providing some slick conditions, passing the baton proved to be trickier than normal.
“We almost dropped it twice,” Chandler said.
But the transition from Wilcher to McWhorter was a smooth one, and Bremerton’s anchor broke down the back stretch with a comfortable lead. She rounded the final turn and cruised to victory.
They weren’t the only relay team to take the top spot on the last day of the high school sports season.
The North Kitsap foursome of Emerson Bollert, Raelee Moore, Madeline Pruden and Alyssa Cullen followed up their record-breaking 4×200 relay preliminary time with a victory in the finals, running a 1:44.35, beating a tough Renton team by just .37 seconds.
The Vikings, too, had a little trouble handing off the baton. Moore and Pruden had a rough exchange, and had to stick with it a moment longer.
“It was scary, I felt her let it go as I tapped it,” Pruden said.
But Pruden was quickly able to make up any lost ground and Cullen brought it home.
With two underclassmen in the relay and two more freshmen, Ayanna Selembo and Kamora McMillian ready to step in, the outgoing seniors expect North Kitsap to dominate this event for the next few years.
“We have six of the strongest ladies I’ve ever worked with,” Moore said.
The North Kitsap girls finished tied for second as a team with Port Angeles, three points behind Bellingham.
Central Kitsap’s Seth Tower surprises with a state championship in the 3A high jump
Seth Tower entered Saturday’s 3A high jump contest knowing it would be a tough task to beat top-ranked jumper Mykel Campbell of Lincoln.
Campbell was seeded first with a jump of six feet, six inches, but had cleared 6-08 earlier in the year at the Curtis Viking Relay Championship. Tower’s best jump of the season to that point was 6-04, which he had hit several times, including the previous week at the district championship.
But Tower cleared 6-06 on his first attempt while Campbell missed in all three tries and Tower ended up bringing home the state championship.
It was a big bounce back performance for the Central Kitsap junior as he had been the top seed going into the state finals last season, but ended up taking fifth.
“I was seeded first last year, actually,” Tower said with a chuckle. “Then I choked really bad.”
Deyondre Davis takes third in the 300-meter hurdles, anchors third place 4×400 relay
South Kitsap junior Deyondre Davis capped his season with strong performance, breaking 38 seconds in the 300-meter hurdles, which was good enough for a third place finish and then closing out
The South Kitsap boys went on to finish in fifth place as a team in the 4A competition with Davis scoring 16 of the 26 points.
Davis followed up his state championship performance in the 110-meter hurdles with a third place finish in the 300. His time of 37.95 was just .18 off his best time in the event.
“I wish that I could have won, but overall I was happy,” Davis said. “I was under 38.”
At the end of the meet, Davis joined up with teammates Ryan Thoma, Alex Lopez and Jacob Laws to put together a solid race and bring home third place with a time of 3:24.70.
It was a close finish as Davis was trying to both catch Enumclaw anchor Kale Engbretsen while holding off a charging runner from Bothell. The second, third and fourth place teams were separated by just .70 seconds.
Other results from Saturday
Olympic’s Hanna Troy brought home three medals from the 2A state meet, finishing sixth in the girls long jump with a leap of 16 feet, 11.5 inches. Troy also finished seventh in the 100-yard dash and the triple jump.
Adam Johnson ran an 11.42 in the boys 100-yard dash for the Trojans, taking fifth place.
For Bremerton, McWhorter finished third in the triple jump (35-07.25), and Wilcher placed eighth in the 100-yard dash (13.01).
Central Kitsap freshman Kymeal Gaulden made a strong debut at the 3A state meet by taking second place in both the 100 (12.48) and 200 meter (25.29) races, helping the Cougars finish third overall as a team. Gaulden, along with Ava Hays, A’Naiyah Davis and Christaysha McDowell finished second in the 4×100 relay.
Ezekiel Sousou picked up his second bronze medal of the weekend with a 154-02 throw in the discus competition, which was good enough for third place.
Pono Fuiava took third in the shot put, Grace Schenk finished sixth in the javelin throw and McDowell also nabbed a sixth place spot in the high jump.
Sydney Mahitka took third in the 2A discus throw for North Kitsap with a toss of 116-02. Cullen finished sixth in the 100-yard dash (12.77), fourth in the 200 (25.84), and fifth in the triple jump (35 feet). Pruden took fourth in the long jump (17-01.5) and eighth in the 400 (1:00.29).
On the boys side, Kaden Wilson took fifth in the pole vault.
Senior Paxton DePoe finished her high school career with another medal. She picked up a fourth place finish in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:15.27. Evelyn Collins-Winn also medaled in the 800, finishing eighth.
Emily Riehl and Audrey Green both placed in the high jump, finishing sixth and seventh respectively.
For the boys, Thoma finished fifth in the long jump.
At the 1A state meet at Eastern Washington University, Dylan Jackson finished sixth for Klahowya in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.48.
The Eagles 4×100 relay team of Jackson, Connor Swaney, Nikolai Jensen and Mason Haws took third with a time of 44.37. The 4×400 group of Haws, Wyatt Vertefeuille, Jackson and Alex Oathout took eight in 3:35.26.
— Mark Krulish is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @MKrulishKDN.