2023 Track and Field Preview: Girls Sprinters
First look at the top girls sprinters to watch in the 2023 track and field season.
Similar to the boys, the depth of talent from the state's top girls sprinters were at an all-time high in the 2022 season.
From the 100 all the way up to the 400, these sprinters showed what true speed was at all levels, regardless of classification.
This year's returners will look to build upon their successes from last season that help put Washington on notice.
Here's a look at the top girls sprinters to watch for this season.
Braelyn Baker, Bear Creek
Bear Creek's Braelyn Baker proved what she could do in all sprint events by dominating the 1A competition as well as some of the state too, making her the top all-around returning sprinter this spring. Last spring, the sophomore-then ran personal best efforts of 11.87 in the 100, 24.71 in the 200 and 58.43 in the 400, placing her at No. 1 in all three races in 1A. Baker went on to win two of those events at 1A state, 100 and 200, along with the 300 hurdles and long jump to score 40 points for the Grizzlies, who finished second in the team standings with 43 points. Recently during indoor this year, Baker has just set new lifetime efforts in both the 200 and 400 races as she ran 24.06 to win the 200 at the Simplot Games in Pocatello, Idaho and ran 56.33 to win the 400 at the Washington High School Invitational.
Alex Buck, Bellevue
Given where she was at as freshman, it's pretty clear Alex Buck made vast improvements when you look at her sophomore year. Buck, who recently committed to play soccer for the University of Washington, became one of the fastest short-sprint athletes in the state last spring, putting up times of 11.97 in the 100 and 24.48 in the 200. As the top short sprinter in 3A, Buck won both the 100 and 200 state titles while running those some personal best times on the final day of school season competition. Buck finished her sophomore season at Nike Outdoor Nationals where she placed 14th in both of the 100 and 200 preliminary rounds in the championship field.
Takiyah Blue, Garfield
One of the many talented sprinters Garfield had on its team last year, Takiyah Blue provided great depth for the Bulldogs when it came to racing in the 100, 200 and 400 races. The junior-then ran personal best times of 12.34, 24.74 and 56.78 last spring and earned three state medals at the 3A meet, which included a state title in the girls 4x400 relay, a runner-up finish in the 400 and fourth-place finish in the 200. Blue also advanced to the state meet in the 100 but missed out on finals by one spot, finishing ninth in the preliminary round. Blue ran through the summer and earned a fifth-place finish at the USATF National Junior Olympics in the 17-18 age group to cap off a great junior year. This winter in indoor, Blue has already run 25.50 in the 200 and 59.38 in the 400.
Brooke Lyons, Tahoma
It's been an amazing four years for Brooke Lyons during her time at Tahoma. As one of the highly regarded sprinters in the state, Lyons continues to show year-in and year-out why she remains at the top of her game. Last spring, Lyons ran personal best times of 11.84 in the 100, 24.55 in the 200 and 56.80 in the 400 to put her No. 1 in all three events at the 4A level. Lyons qualified for four events at state, highlighted by her winning her first-ever state championship in the 200. She then finished second in the 100 and helped the Bears to a fourth place run in the 4x400 relay final. Lyons capped off her junior season with a sweep of the sprint titles at the USATF Pacific Northwest Junior Olympics, winning the 100, 200 and 400 in all personal best times. Now in her senior year, Lyons has opened her track seasons with a pair of personal best runs in the 60 and 200, running 7.77 and 25.16.
Ava Simms, Curtis
Given where she was at as a sophomore compared to this last year as a junior, Ava Simms was one of the most improved sprinters in the state, especially in the 400. While she did improve her times in the 100 and 200, running 12.84 and 25.63, Simms' big jump came in the 400, going from 61.34 in 2021 to 56.81 by the end of the 2022 season. The Curtis standout played a key role in the Vikings' state team title, having won the 400 individual crown and finishing third in the 200. She also was a member of the team's 4x200 relay that finished third and 4x400 relay team that finished sixths. On the national stage, Simms also helped the Vikings place fifth at Nike Outdoor Nationals in the 4x200 championship field, followed by a sixth-place finish at the USATF National Junior Olympics in the 400 for the 17-18 age group. In this indoor season, Simms has run 7.90 in the 60, 25.57 in the 200 and 57.44 in the 400.
Others to watch: Jayda Darroch, Sehome
- Ran personal best times of 12.64, 25.63 and 57.33. Placed second in the 200 and first in the 400 at 2A state.
Zoe Gonzales, Wenatchee
- Ran a personal best time of 12.24 and a season best time of 26.32. Placed fourth in the 200 and 11th in the 400 prelims at 4A state.
Madison Hubbard, Camas
- Ran personal best times of 12.09 and 25.73. Placed third in the 100 and fourth in the 200 at 4A state.
Ava Jones, Tumwater
- Ran personal best times of 12.38 and 25.90. Placed fourth in the 100 and third in the 200 at 2A state.
Tresley Love, Meadowdale
- Ran personal best times of 12.53, 25.80 and 56.56. Placed eighth in the 100, seventh in the 200 and first in the 400 at 4A state.