3 Spartans shatter track records

Bainbridge High School track has a strong history so breaking a Spartan record is quite a feat.

This spring, three records were broken, which coach Jena Winger calls “groundbreaking.”

Since the top seven at districts qualify for state, Ella McRitchie, Claire Hungerford and Mairin O’Brien will compete alongside each other at Mount Tahoma High School May 25-27.

McRitchie headlines the shattered records with a pole vault mark of 14 feet set at districts May 19. The previous record was her own at 13 feet. Before that, it was Emma Chee in 2018 with a 12-6. “I was excited to break it,” McRitchie said. I am “stoked on continuing to raise it.”

The junior has been pole vaulting for three years. She decided to participate in track when her dad pushed her to go to preseason practices during the COVID-modified season. “I remember seeing this massive pole vault pit with a really high bar and thinking how insanely awesome it was that someone could fly over it, and I was hooked,” McRitchie said.

McRitchie has been motivated by her coaches, parents and family to shatter the record. They motivated her since her first practice to continue to go higher. “I often look back on my first practices and remember how big my eyes were when looking at all the really good vaulters,” she said. “I wanted to be there with them doing the same.”

McRitchie already was one of the top high school pole vaulters in the country.

Hungerford is another junior who joined track as a freshman. She has always loved to flash her speed. “I used to play softball,” she said. “One of my favorite things was when we raced around the bases at the end of games.”

Hungerford competed in the hurdle events and broke the 300 record at the Shoreline Invitational April 29. The previous record was held by Katelyn Shepard in 2013, finishing in 46.8 seconds. Hungerford’s new record is 46.16. “It feels really good,” she said. “My coach and I put in a lot of work to break it. There were times I wasn’t sure but coach Drew kept telling me I could.”

O’Brien broke the 1600 record May 10 at the North Puget Sound League Championships with a time of 5 minutes, 2.95 seconds. The previous record was held by Erika Elfendahl in 1982 with a 5:03.60. She also broke the 3200 record on May 19 with 11:01.23, three seconds faster than the previous record.

The sophomore previously competed in the BYS Fun Run and Turkey Trots. In addition, she competed for the Woodward and Bainbridge cross-country teams.

“What I love about [track] is that there is no secret to being a good athlete,” O’Brien said. “You do the work in all the long runs, workouts, easy days, x-training and the results will come.”