Nkwonta runs, throws, wins 3
Angel Nkwonta acknowledges that it’s a bit bizarre to mix sprinting and the shot put.
But the strategy seems to work well for the Pullman sophomore, who won two events and ran a leg on the winning 4x200 relay team Friday as the District 7 2A track and field meet wrapped up its two-day run at West Valley.
“My strength helps,” Nkwonta said. “To be a sprinter you have to have a lot of leg muscle, and it’s the same for throwing.”
Nkwonta competed in the shot put while dashing between her 100 win (12.78 seconds) and two relays. She did all four events in 80 minutes, uncorking her victorious shot put (40 feet, 2 1/2 inches) on her last attempt.
“Coach said I’d have a lot of events together, but I didn’t think it’d be that close,” Nkwonta said.
Nkwonta took up the shot put in middle school because she needed a fourth event. She developed into the runner-up shot putter at last year’s state meet.
Last year’s shot put champion graduated, but Nkwonta is chasing senior Nike McClure of W.F. West, who has reached 44-2 this season. Oddly, McClure is also a sprinter, with the third-best 200 time (25.39) among 2A girls.
The one event in which Nkwonta settled for second, the 4x100 relay, went to Deer Park. Anna Cartee ran the anchor leg for the Stags, giving her four wins in four events. Cartee also won the 100 hurdles (15.57), 300 hurdles (47.60) and triple jump (36-6 1/4).
“I got a PR of half a foot in the triple jump,” said Cartee, who placed fifth at state in the event as a freshman. “I was very excited about that.”
The former long jumper was a late convert to the 300 hurdles.
“Finally my coach said, ‘We need you to do this,’ ” Cartee said. “So I ran it and it was another strength of mine that I didn’t know I had.”
East Valley’s girls (147.99 points) and West Valley’s boys (178.5) won the team titles.
Sophomore Brittany Aquino won the 1,600 (5:12.23) and 3,200 (11:21.67) for EV’s girls.
“I was practicing with the girls for a while, but I really wanted to get better because I wasn’t seeing improvement,” Aquino said. “I started practicing with the boys and I’m PR-ing every single meet this year.”
WV’s boys dominated the 100, finishing 1-2-3-5, and the hurdles, with senior Marcus Jackson (110) and junior Mac Baxter (300) trading off 1-2 spots. The Eagles won the 4x100 relay and passed EV on the last leg to win the 4x400 in 3:27.90 to the Knights’ 3:27.92.
EV juniors Scott Kopczynski and Chad Stevens went 1-2 in the 1,600 and 3,200.
“We’re both feeling pretty confident,” Kopczynski said. “It’s going to take a good effort (at state) and we’re going to get after it, that’s for sure.”
The top two in each event advance the state meet, which begins Thursday at Mt. Tahoma High in Tacoma.