TRACK | ‘Relaxed’ Maynard claims Bellevue Invitational’s 110 hurdles title

South Kitsap senior said he feels calmer than last year

BELLEVUE — There was no rematch.

But South Kitsap senior Brayden Maynard credited his first-place finish in the 110-meter hurdles during the April 25 Bellevue Invitational to Meadowdale’s Christapherson Grant.

Maynard finished third in the April 18 Eason Invitational at Snohomish High School in 14.71 behind Grant (14.17) and Shorewood’s Chris Diaz (14.27).

“Having that competition really helped me get my time down,” said Maynard, who ran that event in 14.97 at Bellevue. “Right now, I just feel like I’m starting to get consistent in my times.”

Maynard advanced to state in the 110 hurdles last year, but said he feels more relaxed now. Unlike some of his teammates, Maynard has no aspirations to run track in college. Instead, he plans to enlist in the Air Force with an eye toward pararescue, where operatives are tasked with recovery and medical treatment of personnel in humanitarian and combat environments.

“This year I just feel like I’m more in it,” Maynard said. “It’s my last year and I’m putting everything out there. Knowing that I feel so much more comfortable. I’m just enjoying myself and the atmosphere of South Kitsap track.”

South co-coach Paul Zimmer shared similar sentiments.

“He ran really well and looked good and relaxed,” he said. “There’s still more in the tank.”

Maynard was one of two Wolves to place first in an individual event. Sophomore Nolan Van Amen won the shot put in 54-11 1/2. He also took first in the discus in 156-0. It marked the second consecutive week Van Amen placed first in both events.

The Bellevue Invitational also featured an extra relay — the 800 — for boys, which enabled Zimmer to shuffle lineups for the 400 and 1,600 teams. The latter two both placed third, while the 800 team of Chandler Van Amen, Troy Delgado, Albert MacArthur and Izaijha Byrd finished first in 1 minute, 34.6 seconds.

Zimmer said the meet, which ran about two hours behind schedule, had a much different feel than any his team has participated in.

“It’s just crazy that there’s eight heats in the boys mile,” he said. “We were able to get 70 kids in. There were a lot of new kids who have never been at this level. It’s been really interesting to see how kids react to it.”

Zimmer said he had some athletes who took advantage of that with personal-best times, while others struggled. Senior Mason Villarma fell into the latter group as he finished third in the 1,600 in 4:18.78.

“He didn’t quite follow the race plan that we probably wanted to attain,” Zimmer said. “He went out pretty fast.”

Senior Cole Sunkel finished second for a second consecutive week in the javelin at 166 feet, 1 inch. Everett’s Griffey Lytle won that event in 166-06. Despite his placement, Sunkel was not satisfied. He said his performance was much better during warmups and he needs to translate that into the finals.

Senior Shannon Laupola, who placed third in the javelin at 119-02 behind Bellevue’s Giovanna Park (122-04) and Julia Sliwoski (122-03), was the school’s top female placer. South’s girls team also had several top-10 placers.

“We’re getting stronger and stronger each week,” Zimmer said.

The Wolves conclude their three-week stretch of invitationals May 1 at Shelton, where the Narrows League meet also will be run May 14-16.

“I’m glad we’re having three invites in a row,” Maynard said. “It’s great competition for going into state.”

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