Grace Academy track team packs a punch at state

Fred Howard, coach of the Grace Academy track team, has always had one goal for his team, to get as many competitors to the state meet as possible. This season, out of 16 students on his roster, eight ended up competing at the state meet.

The Grace Academy boys track team fared well against the 1B competition and placed fourth with an overall score of 43 points. Senior Jay Lee placed eighth in the 200-meter sprint and was a medalist in the 110-meter hurdles and 300-meter hurdles at fourth and third place, respectively. Senior Brian Young captured the most medals, placing fourth in the 100-meter sprint, third in the long jump, and becoming the 2009 1B Washington state champion in the high jump for the second year in a row with the bar raised to 6-2.

Young later said he felt “felt honored, privileged, blessed and obviously extremely excited” on his first-place finish. Young also attributes his success to God. “My goal was to glorify God in my jumping and running.”

Along with Lee and Young, Andrew Mittelstaedt and Micah Giordano became the 2009 Washington state champions in the 4x100 relay with a combined time of 46.88.

“Standing on the podium with my relay team was one of my favorite moments in track,” Young said. “It feels good when you accomplish something by yourself, but it feels great when you accomplish something with a team.”

On the girls side, junior Katie Mittelstaedt finished seventh in the 200-meter sprint. With Katie, Sarah Monteith, Sydney Holt and Sarah Wennersten finished third in the 4x100-meter relay and second in the 4x200-meter relay. The girls also broke their school record in the 4x100 with a time of 55.02.

With such a small team, every event doesn’t have its own coach. That leaves Howard and coach Dawnell Holt busy attending different clinics on how to do the many events that comprise track and field. And if they need help? Send the athlete to a summer camp, as they did with Young, who attended a high jump camp in Oregon.

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