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Lakewood boys win district title
DUVALL For the first time since 1999 and the fifth time in school history, the Lakewood boys track team was named district champion at the May 14 and 16 meet at Cedarcrest High School.
"A lot of those points came from places third through eighth. Every little point counted," said Lakewood coach Jeff Sowards. "When you win the championship by one point, you can't pin it on one individual. We were proud of the whole team effort the boys made, and to defeat the defending state champion, Sehome, was pretty impressive."
Fourteen Lakewood athletes emerged from the district meet to qualify for the state track and field meet in Tacoma. Senior Tawnya Hulslander and junior Devon Smith led Lakewood's state campaign by qualifying in three events each. Hulslander will compete in the shot put, discus and javelin when Mount Tahoma High School hosts the state meet May 23 and 24.
Smith qualified in the 200-meter dash, the 400 and the boys 4x400, improving to win the boys 400 final on the meet's second day to be called the event's district champion.
A teammate on Smith's 1,600 relay also qualified in an individual event. While districts usually sends only the top four finishers in an event to state, the 800 proved competitive enough to send a fifth. The competition included the state's top-ranked runner in the 800 and 1,600, but senior Terrence Ordonez ran fast enough to qualify for state in the 800 based on the merit of his time. His personal best time of 1:57.33 broke his week-old previous best by a full second and ensured a consecutive state appearance in the event.
Two other runners qualified for state, with the rest of the participants coming from the field. Senior Sarah Dunn knew she'd be packing her bags for Tacoma May 14 when she placed second in the 3,200. But the cross country vet made it two events on the meet's second day, when she took second in the 1,600. Sophomore Taylor Guske rebounded from a near-miss in the 1,600 on day one to qualify for state in the boys 3,200 on the second day, where he also took second place.
Sophomore Nathan Hesselman won the high jump outright, jumping a personal best 6-3 to separate himself from Sultan's John Grossi, who cleared 6-2 for second place. Payden Butler and Cameron Hess went 2-3 in the javelin to qualify for state and Spencer Hulslander cleared 13 feet in the pole vault to take second behind Cedarcrest standout Ned Flynn.
"I would characterize this win as much more difficult than the one in 1999," Sowards said of his team's district championship. "The strength of the district we're in now, is by far the strongest district in the state. The competition is at a really high level."
Cougar state track athletes:
Payden Butler javelin
Sarah Dunn 1,600, 3,200
Taylor Guske 3,200
Rachael Hartman shot put
Cameron Hess javelin
Nathan Hesselman high jump
Spencer Hulslander pole vault
Tawnya Hulslander javelin, shot put, discus
Cameron Jones 4x400 alternate
James Mattson 4x400
Terrence Ordonez 800, 4x400
Miles Rossow 4x400 alternate
Chad Skiles 4x400
Devon Smith 200, 400, 4x400