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Kopcynski, Allred pick up state victories

TACOMA – Scott Kopcynski of East Valley learned a valuable lesson at the State 2A cross country meet last fall.

Don’t think about your time.

So when Kopcynski saw that the first lap of the 3,200-meter final was a turtle-slow 70 seconds, he ducked his head and started counting laps.

Nine laps later, Kopcynski and teammate Chad Stevens, both juniors, completed a 1-2 finish at Star Track XXXII Saturday at Mt. Tahoma High School.

Kopcynski chopped nearly 7 seconds off his personal best, finishing in 9 minutes, 14.67 seconds.

Stevens trimmed 14 seconds off his personal best (9:18.24).

Back to state cross country. Kopcynski approached the 2-mile mark and discovered the pace was too slow for his liking.

“I let it get to my head,” Kopcynski said, who ended up fourth. “I felt I could have won but when you worry about time you lose.”

So he didn’t look at the clock next to the track Saturday after the first lap.

“I knew it was a kicker’s race,” Kopczynski said. “I had plenty left at the end.”

Kopczynski was overjoyed to share the awards podium with his friend.

“I’m really glad we got the 1-2 finish this time,” said Kopczynski, who won the 1,600 on Thursday. Stevens finished third in that race.

“I wanted to win the title but since I didn’t it was the best thing that could have happened,” Stevens said.

The distance duo put EV in position to challenge for a team championship before Olympic (52) overtook the Knights (44), who finished second.

Casey Pedersen of EV took second in the 800 (1:54.94).

EV senior Elisa Allred, a surprise winner the day before in the javelin, added a state title in the discus.

Allred’s winning throw of 127 feet, 7 inches came on her first attempt – just like the javelin. It was about 8 feet shy of her season best.

“I had trouble getting the right side of my body through. I kept throwing out of bounds to the right,” Allred said. “But I did what it took to win.”

Allred said she had some longer throws but they were all out of bounds.

“I don’t know why my footwork fell apart at the front of the ring,” she said.

“I finally achieved my goals. You start your freshman year and you look at those older kids who achieved so much and that’s all you want for yourself.”

EV’s girls took fourth with 39 points. Sehome (70.5) defended its title.

Brittany Aquino of EV took second in the 3,200 with a big personal best (11:04.06).

“I felt really good,” Aquino said. “I wanted to win but I knew I’d be proud whether I won or took second.”

Other top performances Saturday: The West Valley boys 400 relay took third (42.77); Aaron Obert of Deer Park took third in the discus (167-1); Johanna Sherman of Cheney took fifth in the 300 hurdles (46.54); Mac Baxter of WV finished fifth in the 300 hurdles (39.93); and the West Valley boys 1,600 relay took fifth (3:28.67).