TACOMA – Zechariah Herford ran an extra 50 meters, right arm extended in the air, as he celebrated his victory in the 100.
The West Valley senior had reason to celebrate in the final day of Star Track at Mount Tahoma High School. He had just won his first State 2A championship.
Herford won in 11.05 seconds into the stiffest wind of a windy state meet. It’s the first time he’s run in the 11-second range in more than a month.
“It felt amazing,” Herford said. “I’ve never won a state title. I’m still in shock. I don’t know what to say.”
Herford knew when he got in the blocks it wasn’t a day for a record.
“The wind was a little difficult,” said Herford, who ran 10.82 in his prelim. “Other than that it was fine. I knew it wasn’t going to be a great time but I was trying to get under 11.”
Herford also anchored the winning 400 relay a day after the Eagles broke the school record.
Herford, Tevin Duke, Caleb Simpson and Jake Jordan weren’t going to set a record Saturday in a brisk breeze. They won in 42.42.
Duke gave much credit to a sprinter who didn’t run in the final, Allen Edens.
Edens subbed for an injured Duke at district and regionals, allowing Duke to recover from a hamstring injury.
“He got us here. Without him we wouldn’t have been able to do anything at this meet,” Duke said.
Duke said his hamstring felt great Friday. Saturday was a different story.
“Today, I’m not going to lie to you. The pain was pretty high,” Duke said. “The pain went away when the gun went off. I wasn’t going to let my pain be the deciding factor in us not winning.”
The same foursome combined to take second in the 1,600 relay.
WV earned the third-place trophy. Black Hills won.
Other area boys placers were: Jacob Nicholson of WV, fourth in the 3,200 (9:28.59); Peyton Putney and Charles Johnson of Cheney, second (22.95) and third (23.02) respectively in the 200;
East Valley’s Brittany Aquino acquitted herself after a disappointing runner-up finish on Thursday in the 1,600. She came back with a vengeance, winning the 3,200.
The state champ last fall in cross country, Aquino wanted to go out with a Triple Crown.
“I wasn’t happy (after the 1,600),” Aquino said. “I went in expecting to (get a personal best) and race really hard. It didn’t go very good. Everyone has that off day, I wasn’t going to let it defeat me, let it overcome me. I was going to come back strong and just keep my mind on a high level.”
She did. As Aquino rounded the second to final turn, she stole a peak at the video board and allowed a smile.
The race started with a pace of a collective jog. The runners turned the first mile at just under six minutes.
“I was expecting a kicker’s race like the mile,” Aquino said. “It was way windy out there. I was making sure I wasn’t going to be the hunted this time and break myself from the wind.”
Aquino had no regrets.
“I wouldn’t change anything about it,” Aquino said. “What happened happened. Ending it on a good note, I’m relieved.”
Sophomore Madelin Liberg of WV captured a title in the 400 in a personal-best 57.66.
“I knew that I could win if I wanted to,” Liberg said. “I just had to try my best.”
Liberg felt the nerves before the race.
“I was really scared because it was really windy,” she said. “Every 50 meters I surged like Vic (Wallace, WV coach) told me to. At the end I just gave it all I had.”
Liberg didn’t know how to react after winning.
“It’s hard to understand,” she said. “It’s like another track meet that you won but it’s way bigger.”
Pullman senior Angel Nkwonta defended her state title in the shot put with a throw of 43-6¾. She also took second in the 100 (12.53).
Shorecrest won the girls team title.
Other area girls to place: Alsatta Bakana of Cheney, fifth in the 200 (26.60); the WV 1,600 relay, third (4:04.60); and Rachel McGlothlen of WV, fourth in the shot (37-5¼).
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