2022 State Track Preview: Floyd, Buck Highlight a Fast Field of Sprinters

The top sprinters to watch for this weekend include some of the nation's best

Seattle Prep's Will Floyd and Bellevue's Alex Buck are the highlights to watch in the sprints at the 2022 4A/3A/2A State Track and Championships at Mt. Tahoma High School in Tacoma. Meet action begins on Thursday, May 26, and goes through Saturday, May 28. (Keenan Gray/The Runner WA)

The time has finally arrived.


The 2022 State Track and Field Championships makes it long awaited return after a three-year COVID hiatus. It'll be one of the most highly anticipated meets in quite some time featuring some of the best athletes not only in Washington, but across the nation.


Teams and individuals from around the state will travel near and far as the 4A, 3A, and 2A schools will make their way over to Mt. Tahoma High School in Tacoma, while the 1A, 2B, and 1B schools head to Eastern Washington University in Cheney.


With the state meet getting underway on Thursday, May 26, and running through Saturday, May 28, The Runner WA has your first look at all that is going down this coming week as teams and individuals set to chase after greatness and glory.


The preview kicks off with the top sprinters to watch for at the 4A/3A/2A meet and favorite picks for the 1A/2B/1B meet.

 

Boys 100

4A

Who to watch: LeRoy Horton, Curtis, Cantrell Thomas Jr., Isaiah Davis, Federal Way


Dark Horses: Tobias Merriweather, Union; Lex Luthor, Richland


Outlook: Both Emerald Ridge's Cantrell Thomas Jr. (10.89) and Federal Way's Isaiah Davis (10.91) are coming to Tacoma with much to prove for themselves. Both have had solid senior seasons, but they are looking to end on a bang with a potential state championship on the line. On the other hand, you have a young star in Curtis' LeRoy Horton (10.78) who will have another chance to prove himself on the biggest of stages. Two district titles and two personal best efforts for the sophomore phenom should bring plenty of momentum into state week.


The Runner WA pick: LeRoy Horton


3A

Who to watch: Will Floyd, Seattle Prep; Miguel Rosario III, Hazen, Jaylen McCabe, Silas


Dark Horses: Charles McQueen, Spanaway Lake, Ben Stevens, Gig Harbor


Outlook: Another fast field full of veteran talent will get their first opportunity to show fans at Mt. Tahoma what they are made of. Seattle Prep's Will Floyd continues to light up the track this season, especially in this event coming in with an undefeated racing record and a time of 10.75. Then you have two electric sprinters in Hazen's Miguel Rosario III (10.75) and Silas' Jaylen McCabe (10.81) - both whom have been very consistent in the event all season long. Floyd beat Rosario III at last week's district meet, but will get his first opportunity to race McCabe this weekend.


The Runner WA pick: Will Floyd


2A

Who to watch: Jake Andrews, Sehome; Carter Birade, Sehome; Lyricc Lopez, Foster


Dark Horses: Anthony Dearfield, Rogers (Spokane); Zakai Abdullah, Clover Park


Outlook: You couldn't have asked for a better field then this 2A boys 100. Three of the top 100 marks this season belong to 2A athletes led by Sehome's Jake Andrews at 10.55. Should be a fun battle against his own teammate Carter Birade (10.60), who finished second to Andrews at last week's district meet, and then throw Foster's Lyricc Lopez (10.63) in the mix coming off a personal best run. Expect some very fast times in a deep 2A field.


The Runner WA pick: Jake Andrews


Small school meet picks

1A: Reggie Witherspoon III, Seattle Academy

2B: William Idso, Ocosta

1B: Zack Lamkin, Crosspoint


Girls 100

4A

Who to watch: Esther Akinlosotu, Federal Way; Madison Hubbard, Camas; Brooke Lyons, Tahoma

Dark Horses: Zoe Gonzales, Wenatchee; Marie Petrbokova, Redmond


Outlook: The 11.89 run Federal Way's Esther Akinlosotu threw down at districts was no joke when she beat Tahoma's Brooke Lyons (12.10) and Camas' Madison (12.09) Hubbard. While she's known for her abilities in the triple jump, her recent build up in the 100 over the last month has been impressive, especially since she ran 12.64 last season. Don't be surprised though if part two will be much closer in the 4A final between these three. Any one of them can pop off at any given time as they have proven to do so this season.


The Runner WA pick: Esther Akinlosotu


3A

Who to watch: Alex Buck, Bellevue; Gilana Wollman, Shorewood; Kymeal Gaulden, Central Kistap


Dark Horses: Hannah Kahn, Bishop Blanchet; Kora Landers, Capital


Outlook: Bellevue's Alex Buck has been nearly perfect in the 100 this season. Her only loss came against Bear Creek's Braelyn Baker at the Eason Invite where she ran a personal best 11.91. Since that run, Buck has been winning races non-stop and beating her opponents by the largest of margins. Shorewood's Gilana Wollman (12.06) and Central Kitsap's Kymeal Gaulden (12.11) are creeping up though after a big week at their district championships picking up a few PRs. Wollman raced Buck earlier this season at Shoreline and lost by .22 hundredths - the closest margin of victory by Buck this season.


The Runner WA pick: Alex Buck


2A

Who to watch: Ellabelle Taylor, Rogers (Spokane), Ava Jones, Tumwater; Chayse Flick-Williams, Bellingham


Dark Horses: Carsyn Arlt, Ellensburg; Rhonda Newton, Henry Foss


Outlook: You have an intriguing potential match-up with Rogers' (Spokane) Ellabelle Taylor and Tumwater freshman Ava Jones. On one hand you have an athlete who can just about do it all on the track, and the other is up and coming star that has dominated District 4 all season long. Jones hasn't PR'd in the 100 since late April (12.38) but came out of districts with good momentum. Taylor lit up the track in Ellensburg running 12.33 to win the regional title. Two talented ladies ready to make their mark. Can't forget Bellingham's Chayse Flick-Williams, another sprinter coming off a district meet win by over half a second running a personal best 12.42.


The Runner WA pick: Ava Jones


Small school meet picks

1A: Braelyn Baker, Bear Creek

2B: Makayla Thomason, Chewelah

1B: Teaguen Weise, Mossyrock


Boys 200

4A

Who to watch for: LeRoy Horton, Curtis; Isaiah Davis, Federal Way; Tobias Merriweather


Dark Horses: Cantrell Thomas Jr., Emerald Ridge; Aiden Montigny, Camas


Outlook: Very similar race like the boys 100 features familiar faces like Curtis' Horton and Federal Way Isaiah Davis. Now you throw in someone like Union's Tobias Merriweather, who is really good at the longer sprints just like his sisters were when they ran, and you have yourself a battle to the finish. All three boys have broken 22 seconds within the last few weeks with Horton's time being the fastest at 21.80, followed by Davis (21.98) and Merriweather (21.99). While I believe the youngster will win the 100, it'll be the one of veterans who come away with the win in this race when it's all sudden done.


The Runner WA Pick: Isaiah Davis


3A

Who to watch for: Will Floyd, Seattle Prep; Jaylen McCabe, Silas; Ben Stevens, Gig Harbor


Dark Horses: Braxton Hinton, Cheney; Jermain Broussard, Spanaway Lake


Outlook: There isn't one single "L" in the column this season for Seattle Prep's Floyd in the 200, which begs the question - can he be beaten? While both Silas' McCabe and Gig Harbor's Ben Stevens do pose as threats for Floyd, they haven't come close to running the 3A's top 200 time of 21.38. Floyd gets the job done in the 100 and then comes back to win the 200 in a blistering PR.


The Runner WA pick: Will Floyd


2A

Who to watch for: Jake Andrews, Sehome; Lyricc Lopez, Foster; Anthony Dearfield, Rogers (Spokane)


Dark Horses: Jaden Johnson, Bellingham; Talon Betts, Rochester


Outlook: If there's one person who has been tearing it up consistently in the 200 this season, it's Sehome's Andrews. For the last month, the top sprinter in 2A has run four consecutive sub-22 performances with his most recent personal best time of 21.24 coming from his district meet where he won by over a second. For Foster's Lopez, he hasn't ran his personal best since late April, but also hasn't had the competition to push him further ahead. Now put him against Andrews and we will see a PR. The 100 and 200 races between these two ought to be some good ones.


The Runner WA pick: Jake Andrews


Small school meet

1A pick: Allan McKerghan, Colville

2B pick: Lucas Dahl, Napavine

1B pick: Zach Lamkin, Crosspoint


Girls 200

4A

Who to watch for: Brooke Lyons, Tahoma; Liv Wreggelsworth, Redmond; Ava Simms, Curtis


Dark Horses: Alexa Callanan, Puyallup; Adelyn Mitchell, Kamiakin


Outlook: It took some time for Tahoma's Lyons to find her groove in the 200 this season, but the last month of racing has been nothing but fast for the junior standout. Her recent PR of 24.86 at her district meet ranks first in 4A going into state and is three-quarters of a second faster than the next best time of 25.59 set by Redmond's Liv Wreggelsworth back in late April. Curtis' Ava Simms is right there in third after a recent PR of 25.63 when she placed second behind Lyons at the same district meet.


The Runner WA pick: Brooke Lyons


3A

Who to watch for: Alex Buck, Bellevue; Kymeal Gaulden, Central Kitsap; Gilana Wollman, Shorewood


Dark Horses: Hannah Kahn, Bishop Blanchet; Maasai Thornton, Holy Names


Outlook: While she is the favorite to win in the 100, Bellevue's Buck is actually better in the 200 on paper. Her three sub-25 performances are the most by any female sprinters in Washington this season with her most recent run coming at her district meet where she ran 24.76 - just .03 hundredths off her personal best. Even as the favorite though, there are two others worth talking about in Central Kitsap's Kymeal Gaulden and Shorewood's Gilana Wollman. Both have run well at the end of May including Wollman coming off a PR of 25.28. Gaulden ran a season best 25.27 to win the South Sound Conference title.


The Runner WA pick: Alex Buck


2A

Who to watch for: Rhonda Newton, Henry Foss; Jayda Darroch, Sehome; Carsyn Arlt, Ellensburg


Dark Horses: Ellabelle Taylor, Rogers (Spokane); Ava Jones, Tumwater


Outlook: When all three of the top athletes in this race come into the 2A state meet off personal best runs, you know the energy is going to be there, especially from someone like Henry Foss's Rhonda Newton. The Falcons senior knocked half a second off her 200 time, running a PR of 25.54 to win a district title by over a second. Similar thing happened with Sehome's Jayda Darroch and Ellensburg Carsyn Arlt at their district meets. It's a tough call here between the three, which is great because that's what makes this sport awesome. Should be a fun one to watch.


The Runner WA pick: Rhonda Newton


Small school meet picks

1A: Braelyn Baker, Bear Creek

2B: Afton Wood, Okanogan

1B: Emmalyne Jimenez, DeSale


Boys 400

4A

Who to watch for: Trayce Hanks, Lake Stevens; Grant Buckmiller, Lake Stevens; Cantrell Thomas Jr., Emerald Ridge


Dark Horses: Connor Johnson, Olympia; Myles Newhouse, Sunnyside


Outlook: It's one thing to have multiple teammates in the field, but to have the best top two athletes vying for a state title creates a new buzz. Lake Stevens' Trayce Hanks and Grant Buckmiller come off a classic race at their district meet with Hanks inching past Buckmiller by .02 hundredths to clock a personal best time of 48.58, continuing his undefeated run in the 400 this season. Both should be fresh on the final day of competition to run fast times, but Emerald Ridge's Thomas Jr. has something to prove in his main event. The senior will already have gotten the legs going in other events, which could either play in his favor or not.


The Runner WA pick: Trayce Hanks, Lake Stevens


3A

Who to watch for: Will Floyd, Seattle Prep; Sean Jackson, Capital; Boden Gardner, Mt. Spokane


Dark Horses: Jonathan Frazier, Lincoln (Tacoma); Lake Mueller, Shorewood


Outlook: Completing the sprint triple crown is no easy task, but if there's someone out in the field that has what it takes to do so, it's Seattle Prep's Floyd. Floyd's best event is arguably the 400 with a personal best effort of 46.84, which is over two seconds faster than the next best time from Captial's Sean Jackson (49.01). Been a while since Jackson has run that fast, but it's always the state meet that bring the best out of us. Then there's Mt. Spokane's Boden Gardner, who's been tough in the 400 all year long but perhaps could be focusing more on helping his team win a 4x400 relay title.


The Runner WA pick: Will Floyd


2A

Who to watch for: Jake Andrews, Sehome; Shaun Salveson, Selah; Porter Wilhite, Lynden


Dark Horses: Chase Rhoads, Cedarcrest; Jonathan Olmsted, North Kitsap


Outlook: If for whatever reason Sehome's Andrews doesn't get the job done in the 100 or the 200, he'll definitely do it in the 400. Like Seattle Prep's Floyd in 3A, Andrews personal best time of 47.37 is over two seconds faster from the second-best time set by Selah's Shaun Salveson (49.73). It'll take a lot of effort from Salveson and then Lynden's Porter Wilhite if they want to contend with Andrews in one his best events.


The Runner WA pick: Jake Andrews


Small school meet picks

1A: Jack Gallanger, Colville

2B: Matthew Idso, Ocosta

1B: Pearce Hess, Grace Academy


Girls 400

4A

Who to watch for: Kara Mickelson, Eisenhower; Ava Simms, Curtis; Hailey Summers, Richland


Dark Horses: Elise Hopper, South Kitsap; Greta Henrie, Glacier Peak


Outlook: Two types of sprinters headline this event for a potential Saturday matchup. You have Eisenhower's Kara Mickelson, a mid-distance runner with incredible speed and endurance from the 800, and Curtis' Ava Simms, a long sprinter with the ability to change gears at any given moment to create separation from her competition. If Mickelson gets after it in the 800 earlier on in the day, there is time to recover before the 400 in the evening session. Simms, on the other hand, will be the freshest because of more time to recover after a 4x200 relay final. Richland's Hailey Summers could see her PR drop down into the 57s if she puts herself in the race from the start.


The Runner WA pick: Ava Simms


3A

Who to watch for: Tresley Love, Meadowdale; Takiyah Blue, Garfield; Lucille Richardson, Garfield


Dark Horses: Elaine Hudacsko, Interlake; Callie Wilson, Bonney Lake


Outlook: The top 400 sprinter in the state potentially faces against the best 400 duo in the state for what should be a fast final. Meadowdale's Tresley Love continued her upward trend with another sub 58 performance over the weekend at her district meet, running 57.46, but a potential sub 56 mark is in the making for this coming weekend. Garfield's Takiyah Blue and Lucille Richardson went first and second at their district meet with Blue posting a PR of 57.61 and Richardson was a few tenths off her personal best 57.96. All three girls will be and should be fresh for Saturday's final.


The Runner WA pick: Tresley Love


2A

Who to watch for: Jayda Darroch, Sehome; Riley Pyeatt, Sequim; Ella Frerichs, Lynden


Dark Horses: Annabelle Clapp, Tumwater; Jamie Maas, Washougal


Outlook: Same story as the 4A girls field, there's the potential matchup between a mid-distance runner in Sequim's Riley Pyeatt and a long distance sprinter in Sehome's Jayda Darroch. However, I do think there will be stronger effort from Pyeatt in the 800 and 1,600 field since those two finals will take place prior to the 400 final on Saturday evening. This now gives Darroch the advantage with the 400 being her first final on Saturday before she potentially competes in the 200 final later in the day.


The Runner WA pick: Jayda Darroch


Small school meet picks:

1A: Shaela Bradley, La Center

2B: Olivia Fauth, Stevenson

1B: Kennedy Cook, Garfield-Palouse

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