Lakewood’s Peterson brings home state title

Lakewood’s Justin Peterson competes in the state championship triple jump. Peterson finished first in the triple jump and second place in the high jump. - Courtesy of Randy Ordonez
Lakewood’s Justin Peterson competes in the state championship triple jump. Peterson finished first in the triple jump and second place in the high jump.
— image credit: Courtesy of Randy Ordonez

TACOMA — The WIAA State Track and Field meet resulted in a big win for Lakewood High School’s Justin Peterson, who took first place in the triple jump and second place in the high jump.

“He worked very hard and was very diligent about his training,” said LHS Head Coach Jeff Sowards.

The meet took place over May 24-26 at Mount Tahoma High School in Tacoma.

Peterson, a junior, was the one local athlete who took a first place championship at the meet.

“This is my third year working with Justin,” said Monica Rooney, also an LHS Head Coach, who is in charge of training jumps and sprints. “He is a really hard worker and a talented athlete. His skill has progressed since he was a freshman.”

Rooney said that this is the first year in which Peterson has trained for the triple jump. “He’s only really done triple jump this year,” said Rooney. “He knew he could do it. He knew he was in a position to take first place.”

“He was really happy and really excited that he was able to accomplish his goal,” said Rooney, who said she is looking forward to training with him next year.

“He’ll be working on improving his strength so he can hopefully be in the same position at state next year,” said Rooney.

Overall, Rooney was proud of how all the athletes competed during the meet.

“This was an absolutely amazing experience for everyone,” she said. “And it was amazing for Justin. Justin is a great person, so it’s really cool when good things happen to good people.”

Following his championship win, Lakewood took ninth place overall in the tournament.

“Anytime you’re in the top 10, it’s an accomplishment,” said Sowards. “We are really pleased with everyone’s performances.”

Peterson wasn’t the only Lakewood athlete to have a successful weekend.

Skylar Cannon, a sophomore, placed third in the girls javelin with a final distance of 118 feet, 10 inches.

“She competed at the state meet last year,” said Sowards. “She is a big meet performer. She did a really great job at the championship series. She can really bring it at the big meets.”

Rachel Cundy ran the 1,600 meter with a final time of 5:15.45 within a second of her personal record. She placed ninth in the 1,600 and 3,200 meters. Her 3,200 meter final time was 11:29.71.

Connor O’Kinsella placed 10th in the javelin with a final distance of 164 feet, three inches, during his first time at a state championship. Tristan Nelson, a sophomore, competed in the discus throw with a final distance of 108 feet, 11 inches.

“We had a great time traveling,” said Sowards. Rooney agreed that the championship was a success.

“We only had a couple of kids who had been to a state meet before,” said Rooney. “For three of them, it was their first time and they did really well. We have two sophomores and one junior who will work to get back to that meet. It’s a great place to end the year.”


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