Spring sports preview: Hawk track teams looking for repeat of 2013 success

Head track coach Russ Vincent.
Head track coach Russ Vincent

The 2013 track season was a record-breaker for the teams at Mountlake Terrace High School as both the boys’ and the girls’ squads qualified for the state championship meet last May, the first time both teams went to state in the same year. The Hawks are hoping for more of the same success at the track oval this season.

Terrace track and field athletes get their first shot at competition this year on Thursday, Mar. 20, when they travel to Juanita High School in Kirkland for the Juanita Jamboree. Events at the meet begin at 3:45 p.m.

Defending 3A state champion triple jumper Chinne Okoronkwo
Defending 3A state champion triple jumper Chinne Okoronkwo

The MTHS girls’ team returns two podium finishers from the state meet last season; Chinne Okoronkwo, 3A state champion in the triple jump and runner-up in the pole vault, and McKenna Hunt, fourth place finisher in the 100 meter hurdles, will lead a team that has a shot of surpassing the performance of last year’s squad.

Other Lady Hawks expected to excel this season are Barbara Biney in sprints and Hailee Malins in shot put and discus, and a whole squadron of long distance runners, led by Katherine Gustafson and Sophia Nelson.

On the boys’ side, the long-distance runners will also be strong, led by Jack Pierce and Yonnas Tewolde, while senior Brett Potter is hoping for a good season in shot put and discus.

The MTHS boys’ team lost quite a few of last year’s top performers to graduation, including the 3A state champion in the triple jump Gifton Okoronkwo. “The boys probably won’t be able to match what they did last year, but we’re expecting good things from our girls again this year,” said track Head Coach Russ Vincent.

The 2013 Terrace girls team finished seventh in state, while the boys grabbed a 14th-place finish last year.

For Chinne Okoronkwo, 2014 has already been a standout year, as the sophomore just returned from the New Balance Nationals Indoor Meet, held March 14-16 at New York City. Competing against the best high school track and field athletes in the country, Okoronkwo finished fifth in the triple jump with an effort of 40 feet, 3.25 inches.

Okoronkwo has far and high hopes, literally, for the 2014 prep outdoor season. “My goals are 42 feet in the long jump and 13 feet in the pole vault,” she said; both would be 3A state championship meet records.

You can view the entire 2014 Mountlake Terrace Hawks boys track schedule here and the girls track schedule here.

— Story and photos by Doug Petrowski


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