Updated: May 24
A look at the top events to watch for at the 2023 State Track and Field Championships
The 2023 Washington State Track and Field State Championships kick off this Thursday, May 25, and run through Saturday, May 27, at Mt. Tahoma High School in Tacoma and Zaepfel Stadium in Yakima.
Here are the top five events to watch for at each respective meet:
Loaded 3A 1,600m Field
When you talk about a classification that's been as dominant in distance races this season, 3A comes to mind, especially on the boys side.
Thursday's 1,600-meter state final at 5:45 pm presents one of the most loaded lineups we've ever seen in recent years. With 23 athletes set to toe the line, no entry time is slower than 4:22. 22 of the entries come in with times faster than 4:20.
The field includes five returning podium finishers in the event: reigning champion Will Schneider of Bishop Blanchet, Bishop Blanchet's Vincent Recupero (3rd), Walla Walla's Brody Hartley (4th), Central Kitsap's Blake Reynolds (5th) and Lakes' Cruize Corvin (8th).
Others to watch for will be Mercer Island's Owen Powell, who's ran 4:07.87 for a true mile, Arlington's Kellen Langford, who boasts the top seed time of 4:12.30, Mt. Spokane's Kade Brownell and Gig Harbor's Micah Galeana.
Hartley has the top 1,600 time this season at 4:09.58, which he ran at the Oregon Relays a month ago.
Triple Crown Watch in 2A
After witnessing a sprint triple crown last season from Seattle Prep's Will Floyd, the same opportunity presents itself for Sehome's own Jake Andrews on the 2A side.
The USC bound sprinter ranks No. 1 at the 2A level in all three sprint events, with personal best times of 10.47, 21.05 and 46.30.
The challenge is there for Andrews in the 100 and 200 when he races Columbia River's Revac Banfield and Ephrata's Joshua Greene, but the 400 is his race to take with a three second advantage on West Valley-Spokane's Jayden Barta.
Jerod Gillette of Steilacoom was the last 2A sprinter to accomplish the sprint sweep back in 2001.
Federal Way Jumpers
Whether it's on the boys or girls side, Federal Way has proven to be a program full of incredible jumpers in long, triple and high.
The Eagles will send five jumpers to state this weekend, with an opportunity to claim all three state titles.
In long jump, we will see Roman Hutchinson, Jaylon Jenkins and Andrew Jordan, currently ranked second, third and fifth in the field with jumps farther than 22 feet, three inches.
In triple jump, Hutchinson, Jenkins and Julian Gene Fortin are the top three competitors in the field, with Gene Fortin being the top seed with a jump of 47-0.5.
In high jump, Jenkins holds the top spot after a setting a new lifetime best of 6-10 last weekend at his state-qualifying meet. Gene Fortin has a mark of 6-2 and sits as the seventh seed.
Future and Present in Hurdles
Last year's hurdle races were the prime events across the entire meet, especially on the 2A side with Squalicum's Andre Korbmacher and Foster's Lyricc Lopez in an all-time 300 hurdle battle.
This year's meet will feature Korbmacher, again, but only in the 110 hurdles, as he'll look to lower his own state meet record time of 13.83.
The state will also get to see veterans such as Lincoln-Tacoma's Jonathan Frazier and Kennewick's Jackson Burns go head-to-head in 3A races, but also a new face in rising star Kenyon Andrews of Hazen, the state's leader in the 300 hurdles with a time of 38.03.
Others to keep an eye out for are Walla Walla's Jake Hisaw, Seattle Prep's Drew Velling and North Central's Cameron Dewey in 3A and Lake Stevens' dynamic trio of Mason McMillin, David Brown and Steven Lee Jr. in 4A.
4x400 Relay Battle in 3A
It's a race that's been going on all season long. The only issue was it wasn't an actual head-to-head race due to being on different sides of the state.
Mt. Spokane and Arlington's 4x400 relay teams will finally have a chance to settle their back-and-forth battle over the season as to who is the true No. 1 when both toe the line for the state final on Saturday.
Both teams enter the meet off personal best performances, with Arlington, composed of Dallas Miller, James Scott, Ryan Rushton and Kellen Langford, running 3:19.99 at the district 1 championship, and Mt. Spokane, composed of Bradley Runge, Jackson Hale, Ben Sonneland and Bode Gardner, running 3:19.71 at the district 8 championship.
Both will race in the preliminary round on Thursday at 7:35 pm for a spot in Saturday's final at 4:55 pm.
1A Distance Stars Clash
It's an all-star lineup up of runners on deck for what should be some entertaining an 800, 1,600, 3,200 races on the 1A side.
Three seniors are the headline competitors with Bush's Amare Fields in the 800 and 1,600, Medical Lake's Reid Headrick in the 1,600 and 3,200 and Lynden Christian's Andrew Luce in all three.
Fields, a Yale University commit, and Luce, a Washington State University commit, have already raced each other at their respective district championships, with Luce winning the 1,600 and Fields winning the 800. They'll race each other again in those events.
Headrick, a University of San Francisco commit, will face Luce for the first time since the state cross country meet in the 1,600 and 3,200.
Bellevue Christian Shotputter Chasing 60
Brett Olson, one of the most improved throwers in the state, has an opportunity to join an elite club of throwers when he takes the shot put ring this weekend.
With a lifetime best throw of 57-10, Olson is just a few feet shy of surpassing the 60-foot mark, an incredible feat he could hit given where he was last year when he only threw 49-9 as a junior.
Olson was the state runner-up in the event last year, throwing a mark of 49-7.5.
1B State Jumping Records in Jeopardy
Mary Walker's Tomeko Cates will be on a mission this weekend. Not just to repeat his title in triple jump and high jump, but an opportunity to chase down some 1B state meet records.
The junior is first in the state in all three jumps, jumping 21-10.5 in long, 45-3.75 in triple and 6-8 in high. All three marks are greater than the current state meet record marks set by Macen McLean of Mansfield at the 2013 meet.
McLean jumped 21-9 in long, 44-10.5 in triple and 6-7 in high to come away with three state titles that spring.
Rare 400/800 Double
One of the hardest doubles in all of track and field is the 400/800. St. George's Shawn Jones presents an opportunity to accomplish such a rare feat at the 2B meet.
Jones enters the state meet as the top-ranked athlete in both events, producing personal best times of 50.33 in the 400 and 1:54.68 in the 800.
The 800 is Jones' prime event, especially since he's six seconds ahead to his competitor. The 400, however poses as a bigger challenge with Liberty-Spangle's Lucas Paul in the mix at 50.50.
Jack Ammon of Northwest Christian-Colbert was the recent athlete to accomplish this at the 2B level at the 2017 state meet, running 49.27 and 1:59.79.
Tony Peonio Chases Tucker Wetmore in Pole Vault
When Tony Peonio hits the runway this weekend, he has one goal and only one: take down his predecessor's state meet record.
The Kalama junior is a few good jumps away from taking down former Chinook great Tucker Whitmore's state meet record of 15-5 from the 2018 state meet.
Peonio holds a personal best mark of 14-6 and recently cleared the height at his district meet.