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Nordic News

The student news site of Inglemoor High School

Nordic News

Exceptional track talent triumphs at KingCo

The KingCo track meet brings together the top 16 competitors in each event, from 2A-4A schools, based on personal records from regional matches from all 25 high schools in the King County area. The athletes qualify throughout the season, up until the last chance meet, which is the end of the track season for those who don’t make it to KingCo.

On May 3, at the last chance meet, freshman Grace Ding (she/her), senior Caden Whitmere (he/him) and freshman Sammy Connel (he/him) secured their spots in the countywide meet. Whitmere has competed in track for 8 years and so far has qualified for KingCo every year in high school. 

Whitmere hadn’t qualified yet, but high hopes and expectations, Whitmere came in fourth place despite being sick, landing him in the running at 12th in the county, and solidifying a spot at KingCo. 

In the 1600 meter race at the last chance meet, Ding surpassed her opponents from Lake Washington High School. Despite not achieving a personal record, she placed 11th in county. She also qualified for the 800 meter dash in this final meet, and she had already qualified in her third event, the girls 4×400 meter relay at a regional meet in April.

Connel qualified for his main event, the 3200 meter race with his impressive endurance, achieving 9:52. The KingCo meet took place on May 9 and 11 at the Renton Memorial Stadium, totaling 12 hours of events and awards. 

”It’s just a really competitive atmosphere. You can almost feel the tension in the air before you race,” Connel said. “Having that many people to push me and having the stakes of ‘You have to place this high to make it into the bi-district race,’ that really helped me to have a goal in mind and not just be running for nothing. It gives me motivation.” 

Connel wasn’t the only one motivated by the pressure. 

“It’s really a lot of adrenaline, and that can make me run faster,” Ding said.

Whitmere said that the pressure was a double edged sword.

“Under pressure, sometimes you make mistakes or you’re nervous. So you hesitate or you go too early, but I think it can bring out the best in you because you know you’re trying as hard as you can,” Whitmere said. 

Whitmere had an excellent performance at KingCo, despite a foot injury from wrestling in January that took him out of the early season meets.

 “I’m proud of myself. Because, like two months ago, I wasn’t even close to winning, and now I’m pretty much 100% [healed],” Whitmere said. 

Even though Whitmere was a substitute runner, his team took 3rd place out of nine competitors in the 4×400 meter relay, and he placed seventh in his main event, the 300 meter hurdles.

 “I’ve made KingCo every year in track, so for me personally, it’s not satisfactory [to stop here],” Whitmere said, “I want to shoot higher.”

Connel was held back by competitors in the 3200 meter race, as he couldn’t pass the runners in front of him in order to get a better time without exhausting himself. Even before KingCo, Connel was hoping to qualify for bi-districts, which is the next level of competition on the way to state, and despite other runners slowing him down, he just barely made it in with a 9th place finish.

Ding beat her personal record by an astounding eight seconds in the 1600 meter run at KingCo. She placed 8th, qualifying her to go to bi-districts. Ding also ran the 4×400 relay, finishing her stretch in just over a minute, helping her team place second out of nine teams. Despite having less experience in the 800 meter dash, Ding secured sixth place, rounding off her first KingCo meet with three outstanding finishes. Ding said that her supporters help her do her best.

“Whenever I’m running, I can always hear someone cheering for me and I feel like that really helps [me] not get stuck in my own head.” 

Similarly, Whitmere credits his successes to the support he finds around him.

“My family, friends are always there for me,” Whitmere said. “They are some of my biggest driving forces, especially my parents, they come to all my meets, they always debrief with me, they’re trying to help me eat right, they make sure I’m on top of my schoolwork.” 

Connel said he’s happy to race against people who push him to be better.

“A lot of [my competitors] are older than me, so I think I can beat them when I get older, but there’s some freshmen that are right around my skill level, so it’s nice to be able to race with people like that, who will push me throughout all my high school years.”

All three of them made it to bi-distrcits in their events, but not all went on to the state-wide meet. Connel got a 10:00 time, 39 seconds off from the qualifying time. Whitmere didn’t get to state in his 300 meter hurdles, but he and his team got a personal record and qualified for the 4×400 meter relays at state. Grace amazingly got personal records in all of her events at bi-districts, but in the case of the 1600 meter race, her new best time was not enough to get in, however she did get in for the 800 meter run and the 4×400 meter relay. These three athletes had an incredible track season, pushing from regionals all the way to county and even state level.

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About the Contributor
Crayson Mavrinac (he/him)
Junior Crayson Mavrinac is starting his first year on the Nordic News staff as a reporter. Outside of school he is a part of the National Honor Society and is interested in computer science. He strives to provide excellent quality articles that keep students updated on school and world news. He loves playing video games, listening to music and hanging out with his friends and his cat. He hopes to write articles that make people laugh, or at least make their day better.

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