Lakewood shows great promise at state track

Senior Michelle Howe, center, was the Cougars highest finisher with a third-place medal in the 100-meter high hurdles. Howe finished with a time of 15.29. -
Senior Michelle Howe, center, was the Cougars highest finisher with a third-place medal in the 100-meter high hurdles. Howe finished with a time of 15.29.
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The Lakewood boys and girls track teams took a combined 17 competitors to the WIAA-Dairy Farmers of Washington State Track and Field meet May 25-26 in Tacoma.
The event, held at Mount Tahoma High School, played host to some of the most promising young athletes Washington has to offer. Lakewoods contingent found the competition stiff but should prosper greatly from the experience.
Coach Jeff Sowards spoke about the two-day event.
The meet didnt go as well as it could have results-wise. We had some sick kids. But we did produce three medalists.
Those medalists included Michelle Howe, who matched her fastest time of the year in the 100m high hurdles. Howe finished with a time of 15.29s, good enough for third place in the competition.
Sophomore Devon Smith raced exceptionally well in the boys 400m. His finals time of 50.41s put him in sixth place overall. Devon was one of only two sophomores to even make the finals of the 400m.
Terrence Ordonez turned in a stellar time in the boys 800m. He ran a 1:59.47 in the prelims and 2:01.39 in the final, good enough for an eighth-place finish. Ordonez displayed excellent sportsmanship after being cut-off by an opponent during the final, a clear foul that the state judges failed to punish harshly enough.
In addition to the medal winners, Lakewoods 14 other state competitors represented their school and community in a positive manner.
Taylor Guske came into the finals with high seeding times. His times of 9:50.07 in the 3,200m and 4:30.60 in the 1,600m should have set him up for medalist. But Guskes times slipped greatly at the meet and he was unable to repeat or better his initial performances. The good news is that Guske is only a freshman and already competing with the elite runners in the state. His future looks extremely bright and he should challenge for a state title each of the next three years.
Cameron Hess threw 12803 in the javelin, good enough for 17th place in the finals. Hess is just a sophomore while 12 of the competitors ahead of him were graduating seniors.
Senior Corrine Gogert set a personal season record for the 1,600m with a finals time of 5:15.98. She also ran a stellar 3,200m race in 11:38.64, good enough for 11th place.
Junior Tanya Hulsander slung the javelin a season best 11006, placing her 12th overall. Her teammate Emily Hayton, just a sophomore, finished sixteenth with a throw of 8302.
Another impressive performance from Lakewoods youth movement came from freshman Nathan Hesselman who high jumped 6 and placed ninth overall. His jump landed him only five inches away from top honors and Hesselman competed against a slew of upperclassmen.
Lakewoods girls team as a whole placed 28 out of 42 competing teams. The boys came in 37 out of 40. Many of the athletes will return to Lakewoods team next season. Coach Sowards sees big things on the horizon.
The returnees have already begun setting goals for next season. Theyre hungry to improve. Were very proud of all of our kids for their sportsmanship at State and the way they represented Lakewood.
As promising as the young talent looks at Lakewood, it wont be easy next year as two of the top four places in team score went to Sehome and Burlington-Edison from within Lakewoods district. Reaching the State meet no matter what the circumstances is a tremendous achievement. But considering the strength of the district in which Lakewoods track athletes must compete in order to reach the state finals, the achievement is all the more impressive.

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