The 2021 track season was one of most the unique sports seasons we will ever witness in the history of Washington state high school athletics.
Like any of the sports seasons during the pandemic, it was a year with no state competition, leaving out an opportunity for the best of the best athletes to compete for glory and fulfill their legacies as Washington's best.
While those opportunities for some were put to a pause, the 2021 track season will forever be remembered as one of the most historical ones in state history, particularly on the distance side.
This young group of talented sprinters made their mark last season and are expected to bring more firepower this spring to continue to prove they are some of the best the state has to offer. Here is your first look at the top girls to watch for in the spring.
Brooke Lyons, Tahoma
Athletes like Brooke Lyons are the reason why Tahoma has continued to build a reputation of being a sprinting powerhouse in Washington. Running in her first high school season, Lyons recorded personal best marks of 12.26 in the 100 meters, 25.82 in the 200, and 60.75 in the 400. She also won a pair of North Puget Sound 4A League titles in the 400 and 4x100 relay and was runner-up in the 100 and 200 behind former Tahoma standout and current Harvard sprinter Adaji Osaro-Igwe. During the summertime with the Tahoma Track Club, Lyons clocked times of 11.97 in the 100 and 24.96 in the 200, both of which were ran at the USATF Pacific Northwest Youth Championships where she was first in the 100 and second in the 200. Lyons then competed in Florida at the USATF National Junior Olympic Championships and finished 22nd in the 100 finals and 30th in the 200 prelims. In 2022 so far, Lyons has race in one indoor meet in the Spokane High School Invite and placed sixth in the 60 running 7.96 and then fourth in the 200 running 26.03. Like so many of these athletes, Lyons hopes she gets her opportunity to shine at the state meet level for the first time this season.
Braelyn Baker, Bear Creek
It's rare to see a freshman dominate in so many different events their first high school season, but Braelyn Baker isn't your ordinary freshman. Completing an undefeated racing record last spring with Bear Creek, Baker won three Emerald Sound Conference titles and recorded the fastest freshman times in the state for the 100 and 200 running 12.35 and 25.22. Continuing into summer with Redmond Sprint Club, Baker lowered her PRs in the 100 and 200 to 12.02 and 24.68 and recorded a 58.01 in the 400. She also went on to win the 200 and place second behind Tahoma's Lyons in the 100 at the USATF Pacific Northwest Youth Championships. Baker would then travel to Florida to for the USATF National Junior Olympics as she placed 10th in the 100 finals and 15th in the 200 prelims. What lies ahead for Baker in year two ought to be a good one, especially competing at the 1A level with an opportunity to sweep the sprint triple crown.
Morgan Little, Mt. Tahoma
Another highly talented youngster you'll see shine in her second high school season will be Morgan Little. Mt. Tahoma's latest star put together a great sophomore year running personal best times of 12.18 in the 100 and 25.12 in the 200 and was the Pierce County League champion in both events. She was also a part of the T-birds second place PCL 4x100 relay team and she clocked in a hand time leg of 11.7. During the summer racing season with High Voltage Club, Little continued to race well lowering her personal best in the 100 to 12.12 and then consistently staying in the high 25s for the 200. She earned first place finishes in the 100 at the Xtreme Speed Last Chance Qualifier and Nike Christal Johnson Memorial Meets, and then competed at the USATF National Junior Olympic Championships placing 20th in the 100 finals and 17th in the 200 prelims. Little will be an early favorite to win the 100 and 200 individual titles at the 3A state meet.
Riley Pyeatt, Sequim
Of all the athletes I have covered over the last four years, none have impressed me more than Sequim's Riley Pyeatt. The reason: her ability to have success in just about any event she tries out. Last spring, the Abilene Christian commit was No. 1 in Washington in the 400 with a personal best time of 57.35 and was seventh in the 800 running 2:15.46. She also won Olympic League titles in the 400, 800, and 4x400 relay, and was second in the 100. Pyeatt also excelled with the Kitsap Fliers Club during the summer as she won three invitational titles in the 800, one of them which was won at Hayward Field in the Nike Outdoor Nationals. This last fall racing in her final cross-country season, Pyeatt finished fifth at the 2A state meet totaling her state cross-country medal count to three over her three-year state-run. Ran a 5k personal best time of 18:31.9. Pyeatt opened 2022 out with an appearance at the Spokane High School Invite as she placed 21st in the 200 and then was a member of the Kitsap Fliers 4x200 relay that took fifth. One of the best all-around athletes Washington has seen in a while will look to end her high school career a state champion in one or two events.
Liv Wreggelsworth, Redmond
Redmond arguably had the best trio of sprinters in the state last spring. One of them was a much-improved Liv Wreggelsworth. In her junior year, Wreggelworth posted personal best times of 12.46 in the 100, 25.70 in the 200, and 58.22 in the 400. She also earned three second place finishes in all three events and helped the Mustangs win the 4x400 relay title at the Lake Washington School District Championships. While running for Redmond Sprint Club in the summer, Wreggelsworth improved on her times in the 100 and 200 dropping them to 12.26 and 25.11. Her greatest achievement of the summer though came at the USATF National Junior Olympic Championships when her and her club's 4x400 relay placed fifth in the finals running 3:56.52, which also featured two of her Redmond teammates. Having already competed at the state meet her freshman year in a team event, Wreggelsworth has her sights set on qualifying in her first individual events.
Others to watch for:
Kara Mickelson, Eisenhower
- For athletes like Mickelson, the pandemic season was rewarding for her as she showed massive signs of improvement in the 400 and 800. With personal best times of 58.95 in the 400 and 2:15.76 in the 800, Mickelson ranks top five in Washington in those events for returning athletes.
Marie Petrbokova, Redmond
- The four-time Lake Washington School District champion last spring has much to look forward to this spring being the top overall sprinter at the 4A level. Like her teammate Wreggelsworth, Petrbokova looks to get back to the state meet in hopes of winning a state title or two for the first time in her career.
Ava Wolin, Olympia
- Throughout her career, Wolin has been a consistent 400 runner ranging from times of 57-59 seconds. Last spring, she ranked third in the state running a personal best 57.90, but also began running in the 100 and 200 and found success posting times of 12.47 and 25.55. Both those times are among top 10 for returning athletes.
Fair Niven, St. George's
- At this point, Niven is so far ahead of the competition at the 2B level for the 100 and 200 she's the easy favorite to win state titles in both events. With personal best times of 12.34 in the 100 and 25.54 in the 200, she's not only the best sprinter for all small schools, she's among the best sprinters for all classifications.
Zoe Gonzales, Wenatchee
- Every race seemed to be an improvement for Gonzales in her sophomore year. Carrying plenty of momentum into her junior season, the Wenatchee up-and-coming star went undefeated last spring in the 100 and 200, posted personal best times of 12.46 and 25.63, and won four NCW Region titles to conclude the year.
Note: The 2022 Track Preview was compiled by The Runner WA's cross country and track and field analyst Keenan Gray.