Updated: May 19, 2019
Coupeville, WA - Olivia Markezich has dealt with the injury plague all season long in her final year running for The Bear Creek School.
If yesterday, May 16, at the 1A Bi-District meet was any indicator of how she has progressed over the last couple of weeks, there are signs the senior is getting back to full strength.
In a stunning upset in the girl's 1,600 meter final, Markezich defeated King's Naomi Smith, the No. 1 runner in the 1,600 at the 1A level, running a new personal best time of 4:54.4 at Coupeville High School.
It's been over a year since Markezich has won a 1,600 as she won the 1A state title her junior season and second time she has broken the 5-minute barrier as a Grizzly.
On lap one, Smith took it out very strong creating a big separation between her and Markezich for the first lap.
"I just tried to go out with Naomi because I knew she would have a good start," said Markezich. "The plan was to stick with her and try to hold on. If I had a chance, I was hoping to outkick her in the end."
Markezich trailed by no more than 50 meters for the first two laps and managed to close in on Smith with 600 meters to go.
Coming onto the final lap, Smith could hear Markezich closing in and took one look over her shoulder to see where she was.
Just one little second that Smith moved her head over to the left changed the race drastically and Markezich knew it was time to race.
"When I saw her look over her shoulder, I knew it was go time." said Markezich.
"Having a strong finish was big today. I know I have a strong kick and I just wanted to kick as hard as I could."
This is only the second time Smith, who ran 4:55.26, has lost in the 1,600 this season and first time losing to a 1A opponent.
Along with Smith and Markezich, three other runners managed to qualify for the state meet in the 1,600 as they all ran under 5:16.00 for four laps.
Bear Creek's Andrea Markezich (5:07.64) was third; The Bush School's Ela Nickels (5:10.02) was fourth; Northwest's Macenna Hansen (5:14.19) was fifth.
On the boy's side, South Whidbey's Callahan Yale ran a personal best time of 4:26.03 in a come-from-behind win in the 1,600 beating King's' Nick LeBar at the line.
This is the fourth time in a row Yale has ran a personal best time in the 1,600 this season. Last week, he won the District 1 race in a time of 4:27.6.
Yale took the lead for lap one coming through in 65 seconds, hoping it would create fatigue from the other competitors since he felt they had great 400 speed for their last lap.
"My main goal was to not let the race go out too slow," said Yale. "I didn't want to leave them the energy to take me on the last 200 meters. I figured going out would set the tone for the race."
After coming through two laps, Meridian's Abbas Theophilus and Granite Falls' Isaac Cortes began to surge into first and second as Yale would fall back into third.
"Those two challenge me a lot and were trying to speed up the race with the idea of taking it home," said Yale.
"I knew I just had to sit on both their shoulders and stick with them till the last 200 meters and take them on from there."
As Theophilus and Cortes began to slow down on the final 300 meters, Yale made his move around and never saw another opponent again till he had crossed the finish line.
Just like in the girl's race, Callahan and six other runners met the qualifying standard of 4:32.24 for the 1A level and will head to Cheney as well for the state meet.
King's Nick LeBar (4:26.98) and Anthony Hart (4:29.7) were second and sixth; Meridian's Theophilus (4:29.64) and Jaskaran Dhatt (4:31.5), University Prep's Arie Smidt (4:27.27) was third; Granite Falls' Cortes (4:27.32) was fourth.
A few 2B schools were in attendance as well competing for spots to go to their state meet.
La Conner's Andre Knudson won the boy's 1,600 in 4:46.66 and Friday Harbor's Emily Vogel won the girl's 1,600 in a personal best time of 5:35.26.
Both runner were the only state qualifiers from these races.
On Saturday, the 1A/2B Bi-District meet continues at Coupeville High School with the finals of 800 and 3,200 meter races. The first race kicks off at 12:45 p.m. with the 2B boy's 800 final.
For more results from this meet, visit: https://www.athletic.net/TrackAndField/meet/354503/results