Several tracksters earn medals at state meet

The Bainbridge boys and girls 4x400 relay team pose with their medals at Star Track in Pasco. (L-R) Stephen Vassiliadis, Ian Shiach, Anthony Carter, Austin Hallet, assistant coach Pat Logan, Lizzy Brackett, Sylvia Stellmacher, Courtney Odell, Maddy Sheldon. - Courtesy of Terry Samilson
The Bainbridge boys and girls 4x400 relay team pose with their medals at Star Track in Pasco. (L-R) Stephen Vassiliadis, Ian Shiach, Anthony Carter, Austin Hallet, assistant coach Pat Logan, Lizzy Brackett, Sylvia Stellmacher, Courtney Odell, Maddy Sheldon.
— image credit: Courtesy of Terry Samilson

Girls’ 4x400 relay comes the closest to a state title in Pasco.

Several Bainbridge track and field athletes did their best to ensure they wouldn’t come home empty-handed at Star Track XXVI at Edgar Brown Stadium in Pasco this weekend.

With the last time the event would be held in Pasco – it moves to Mount Tahoma High School in Tacoma next season – the Spartan girls’ 4x400 relay team of Maddy Sheldon, Lizzy Brackett, Sylvia Stellmacher and Courtney Odell came within seconds of a state title, settling instead for the school record in the event.

But they almost didn’t make it to the second day with their performance in the preliminary events, taking seventh in their heat with a time of 4:07.66.

“We ran a relatively slow time in the prelims,” head coach Andy Grimm said. “They didn’t run very well.”

But the foursome rebounded in the finals as Sheldon put Bainbridge in first, with Brackett and Stellmacher keeping ahead of the rest of the field.

Odell did her best to ensure they would finish first, but just like at districts, Issaquah’s Kaley Allison caught her with 50 meters left.

Both runners went back and forth before Allison pushed ahead at the last moment for the win and a time of 4:00.02.

Bainbridge took second with a time of 4:00.81 – four hundredths of a second better than the school record.

Grimm said he and the rest of the girls were still happy with what they accomplished at state.

“They were really up and down the past two weeks (in times),” he said. “So for them to run almost a four flat, it was fun to see.

“Everybody ran their best time of the year,” Grimm continued. “Issaquah’s been the top team all year, but they (the kids) did what they had to do.”

There’s also some optimism for the team to return to state next season as only Brackett is a senior.

“Lizzy did a great job this season,” Grimm said. “We have a lot to look forward to.”

The boys’ 4x400 relay team of Ian Shiach, Austin Hallett, Anthony Carter and Stephen Vassialidis placed fourth overall.

After posting a time of 3:26.92 to just eke into the finals over Kelso, the foursome improved to post a time of 3:25.97 in the race, just one hundredth of a second faster than the team from Lakes.

The team from Franklin Pierce barely beat out the squad from Bonney Lake for the title.

Grimm said as sure as they were that the girls’ relay team would make it to the finals, they were also sure the boys’ relay team would be in a “dogfight” to earn a medal.

They also switched around the order for the prelims, but they went back to their usual order for the finals and got the job done.

“They ran their best time of the year (Saturday) he said. “They ran a p.r. (personal record) across the board.

“Stephen ran a great leg,” Grimm continued. “He did a great job of holding off the fifth place guy. That was great to see.”

Grimm felt their performance was especially impressive since Hallett was the only one returning from last year’s squad that placed third at state.

“Steven didn’t do track last year and Anthony was injured,” he said. “Ian ran, but he was more of a distance runner. But he put in a lot of work during the offseason.”

Three Spartans took part in individual events with mixed results.

Emily Farrar took home two medals with her sixth place finish in the 1600 with a time of 5:13.35 and her seventh place finish in the 3200 with a time of 11:24.21.

“Emily will be the first to tell you she wasn’t happy with her results,” Grimm said. “She probably got a little too separated from the first place group.

“But two state medals is a great accomplishment,” he continued. “I think it’ll be fun to see where her college career ends up. She’s very competitive and very driven.”

Cheyne Clark took fourth in the pole vault with a mark of 14 feet, six inches.

Mercer Island’s Bryce Borer won with a mark of 15 feet, three inches.

“He just missed making 14-9,” Grimm said. “But everybody vaulted well. Usually by 14 feet eight or nine people are weeded out. It was really competitive.

“He might not be happy with it but I think it’s great to finish with a medal at state,” he continued.

Though Clark is moving on to dive at the Air Force Academy, Grimm said he wouldn’t be surprised if he got back into vaulting at some point.

“If he could get some full-time coaching and go year round, he could be a fun one to watch in college.”

Theresa Johansen was the only one to miss out on a medal, as she tied for 13th with Kathy Tate of East Valley (Spokane).

Both threw 101 feet, one inch.

Grimm said though she missed out on placing, she’ll keep on tossing at the Citadel.

“It’ll be fun to watch (what she does),” he said.

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