A new 3A state champion will be crowned on the boys side this season as Gig Harbor's Bradley Peloquin (1,600 and 3,200) and Kennewick's Johan Correa (800) have graduated and moved on to the next level of running. Let's meet the runners for this season.
Samir Amin, North Thurston
Samir Amin has a lot to look forward to this spring with the success he continues to have in his young high school career. As a sophomore, Amin placed eighth in a highly competitive 800 meter 3A state final running a personal best time of 1:56.04, and also placed 11th in the 1,600 meter running 4:21.08, a second off his personal best mark. Placed 19th at the 3A state cross country championships this fall running 15:54.7, but ran a personal best earlier at the Bill Kehoe South Sound Invite running 15:34.8. Amin is among three 800 meter runners on this list in contention for the state individual title this spring.
Luke Biondolillo, Nathan Hale
For someone who is an 800 meter runner, it's amazing how consistent Luke Biondolillo was the entire year running two-minutes or faster in his races. Now I'm not surprised by this. Biondolillo also threw down a 51.1 second quarter mile in a relay. The Nathan Hale senior was sixth last spring at the 3A state meet in the 800 meter running a personal best time of 1:55.07. Took seventh overall in the 1,600 meter too at state running a personal best time of 4:20.02. In the fall, Biondolillo ran a personal best 16:16.2 at the 3A state meet to place 42nd, which is a minute and 13 seconds faster then where he was a sophomore. The potential 800 meter match-up Biondolillo and Bonney Lake's Cayan Dibble will be a highly discussed debate when May rolls around.
Nathan Carter, North Central
Nathan Carter made a big jump from his junior cross country season placing 53rd at the 3A state meet, to placing sixth overall in his senior season running a personal best time of 15:33.3. Much like the end of cross country, Carter ended his junior track season on a high note despite missing qualification for the state meet. Ran personal best times in the 1,600 and 3,200 meter races in 4:26.58 and 9:21.34 at the District 8 Championships. Carter ran a true mile after the conclusion of track down in Portland, Oregon in a personal best time of 4:23.96. Just based off past successful runners at North Central, Carter could join an elite group of individuals by potentially placing well at state in the 1,600 meter, assuming he qualifies.
Bryce Cerkowniak, Yelm
When you think of Yelm High School, you don't necessarily think of a great distance program. But with the success of Bryce Cerkowniak has had the last few years, the Tornadoes have drawn some attention. Cerkowniak placed fifth at the 3A state cross country meet running 15:30.9, seven seconds off his personal best which was ran at Fort Steilacoom. Qualified for the 3A state track meet last spring as a sophomore in the 1,600 and 3,200 meter races. Came away with a sixth place finish and a personal best time of 9:24.59 in the 3,200 meter, and placed 15th in the 1,600 meter running 4:25.78, 53 tenths of a second from his personal best. Cerkowniak is a contender for this years 3,200 meter state title between North Central's Carter and Kamiakin's Isaac Teeples.
Cayan Dibble, Bonney Lake
As the runner-up in the 3A state 800 meter final last season, Cayan Dibble is my early season pick to win the state championship in this event this year. Dibble's second place finish was a new personal best time of 1:53.53. For those that don't know, Dibble's best time in the 800 meter his sophomore season was 2:06. Now that's a significant improvement and tells me this kid is willing to the put the work in. His 1,600 meter personal best time is 4:20.97, but failed to qualify for state in it. In the fall, Dibble placed ninth at the 3A state cross country championships running a personal best mark of 15:42. And this was also another improvement from his junior to senior year for him as his best time before last fall was 16:33.5.
Nicky DiMartino, Bishop Blanchet
Nicky DiMartino was a main contributor to a very good Bishop Blanchet cross country team that placed second to nationally ranked Kamiakin this past fall at the 3A state meet. DiMartino was second on the team as he ran a personal best time of 15:41.9 to place eighth as an individual. In the spring, DiMartino ran personal best times at the 3A state track meet in the 3,200 meter running 9:25.13 to place seventh and in the 1,600 meter running 4:20.93 to place ninth. One of two Bishop Blanchet runners to make our list.
Kai Gundlach, Bishop Blanchet
It's been two years since Kai Gundlach has competed in competitive running after missing out his junior season in both track and cross country, but the Bishop Blanchet senior is ready to make his return this spring after an unbelievable senior cross country season this past fall. Gundlach placed second overall at the 3A state meet running a time of 15:25.5 and was the Braves top runner for their second place team. Back in his sophomore track season, Gundlach's personal best times in the 1,600 and 3,200 meter races are 4:26.53 and 9:31.61. Gundlach is my dark horse this season with the hope he can pull off a state championship win in either the 1,600 or 3,200 meter races. A rematch against Isaac Teeples at state makes for an intriguing race or two.
Fred Liu, Lakeside (Seattle)
Fred Liu can just do about everything on the track and have success from running the 100 meter to the 3,200 meter. Liu qualified for the 3A state track meet in the 3,200 meter and ran a time of 9:51.03 to place 15th. Ran personal best marks of 2:01.96 in the 800 meter, 4:24.52 in the 1,600 meter, and 9:40.13 in the 3,200 meter. In the fall, Liu missed out by one placing to reach podium at the 3A state cross country championships as he was 17th in a time of 15:51.2, two seconds from his personal best. I think Liu could run faster in the 800 meter and I think he should give it more of a shot because if he is successful, he can place at the state track meet.
Stanford Smith, Kamiakin
Although he didn't make it to the state meet last year in track, Stanford Smith returns as one of the top 1,600 and 3,200 meter runners in the 3A ranks. Ran personal best times of 4:21.5 in the 1,600 meter, but unfortunately couldn't get back down to that time at the end of the year, and 9:27.78 in the 3,200 meter. Smith has also great speed with his 400 meter relay split time was 51.25 seconds. In the fall, Smith placed third individually at the 3A state cross country championships running a time of 15:27.7 while being a top contributor to Kamiakin's third consecutive state team title. Smith will make his first appearance at state track this season and will place top three in the 1,600 or the 3,200 meter races. Perhaps both.
Isaac Teeples, Kamiakin
As an underclassman, Isaace Teeples was not only one of the fastest freshman in the entire state last spring, but one of the fastest in the state for all classes. Ran personal best times at the District 8 Championships of 4:21.24 in the 1,600 meter and 9:21.97 in the 3,200 meter. Led the Kamiakin Braves to their third consecutive 3A cross country state team title this last fall by winning the individual crown in a time of 15:18.1. Placed fifth as well at the Nike Cross Regional meet in Boise, Idaho, running a personal best time of 15:17.1. After having won the 3A state cross country title this fall as a sophomore, Teeples comes in as my early season favorite to win the 1,600 meter and 3,200 meter races at state.
Editor's note: The top 3A boys distance runners list was compiled by track and field and cross country analyst Keenan Gray.