BHS represented well at Star Track

Emily Pierce warms up on Wednesday. The senior has consistently thrown the discus 110 feet or more this season. - DOUGLAS CRIST/Staff Photo
Emily Pierce warms up on Wednesday. The senior has consistently thrown the discus 110 feet or more this season.
— image credit: DOUGLAS CRIST/Staff Photo

It’s been a long, hard road for Emily Pierce to make a return to Star Track.

Hampered by a knee injury last year, the senior has worked many hours to return to top form as she competes for a state title in the discus at Edgar Brown Stadium in Pasco this weekend.

“It’s good,” she said. “I’m glad I could come back.”

Pierce is part of a small but talented team performing at the meet, and it extends the streak of at least one athlete making it to the state meet since head coach Andy Grimm took over the reins in 1994.

The girls 4x400 relay team of Alana MacWhorter, Lizzie Brackett, Zena Hemmen and Lindsey Mynatt have been one of the top teams in the state this season, recording the top time in not only 3A, but across all classifications in the first meet of the year.

Hemmen and Brackett were out last year with injuries.

They’ve won at the Westling Invite in April, finished second in the Lake Washington Invite a week later and last week at the district meet, they nearly broke the school record with a time of 4:00.93.

Only Issaquah has a better time, as they placed first at the district meet with a time of 3:59.56.

The foursome can expect competition from Mount Si and Liberty, who ran close to four minutes as well.

“What we really think is it’ll be Bainbridge, Mount Si, Liberty and Issaquah,” Grimm said. “And that’s four teams coming out of our district.

“We think they’ll be 1-2-3-4,” he continued. “Whether they go in the same order that we finished (at districts is up in the air),” he continued. “The girls are up for it, and we’ll see what we got.”

Grimm also said they may benefit from the other relay teams that are running multiple events, while MacWhorter, Brackett, Hemmen and Mynatt can rest and be fresh for the event itself.

Distance runner Bevan Taylor, a state qualifier in cross country, competes in the 1600 meter run.

The junior also turned in one of the top marks in the state early in the season, finished second in the 1600 at the Westling Invite in April and was third in the 1600 at the district meet last week.

He’ll face some tough competition in Seattle Prep’s Max O’Donohugh-MacDonald and Nathan Hale’s Abdi Hassan, who have sub-4:20 times in the event.

“If he runs a tactical race, he could be in the top five or six,” said Grimm.

Pierce, who went to State in 2003 and districts in 2004, was set up to make another appearance at the state meet, but injured her meniscus on a throw in practice.

The injury was bad enough for her to require surgery, but Pierce said the doctor couldn’t give her a concrete return date.

“They weren’t sure if I would be back in a week,” she said. “I was out for six months. I wasn’t really ready for it (the long layoff). I was kinda surprised by it.”

The injury kept her out of action for most of her junior year, save for one meet where she was able to make a throw of over 110 feet.

It qualified her for the Metro League championship meet, but she was unable to get medical clearance to continue throwing.

“Even before they cleared me, I was working to come back,” she said. “(After that) I took a month off to work at a camp, but as soon as I got back I was training to come back.”

The work before and after school – she takes a weightlifting class in the morning and throws for two hours in the afternoon – has paid off, as Pierce has consistently finished in the top two in the discus and the shotput at nearly every meet she’s participated in this year, including a gold in the discus and a silver in the shotput at the Westling Invite in April, a gold in the discus at the Metro championship meet and a silver at the district meet.

She’ll face a tougher climb at the state meet, as she’ll go toe to toe with several throwers who have marks of 115 feet or more, with Emily Jacobsen of Sammamish and Ashlee Michelson of North Central at the top with tosses of 130 feet or more.

Grimm feels she’ll be right at the top.

“If she throws well, I think she’ll make the finals,” he said. “She’s ranked tenth, so if she gets in the top eight or six, that’ll be awesome.”

The University of Washington-bound Pierce said she’ll do her best against a talented bunch.

“I haven’t really thrown there in a while, and I thought the season would be better, but coming back from knee surgery, it’s just not going to be (what I expected),” she said. “These people have an extra year on me, but I’m just happy I get to go.

“I hope I can move up a couple of spots, but if I don’t, it’s just cool that I can go.”

Pierce throws today at 9:30 a.m., while Taylor runs at 11:25 a.m.

The girls 4x400 relay prelims were ran yesterday. If Bainbridge makes it to the finals, they’ll run at 3:20 p.m. today.

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