Kicking the sand from his shoes, Kincaid Nichols knew he had made a stellar long jump. When he got the word how far – 21 feet, 10- and a-quarter inches, nearly a foot farther than he’d ever gone before – he couldn’t help but pump his fists and get a bounce in his step.
"It’s going to be a good day," he said.
Try a good weekend.
Nichols took home three medals, including state champion in 100-meter sprint, while teammates Anna LaBeaume and Allison Cutting each earned two as the Wolves set four school records at the class 2A state track & field championships at Tacoma’s Mount Tahoma High School May 23-24.
Only a slight breeze at his back kept Nichols’ 10.80 mark in the event from going down as the fastest 2A 100-meter sprint in history; Cody Moore of Pullman ran a 10.96, non-wind-aided mark five years ago.
Still, Nichols was jubilant after his victory.
"This is what I thought about all last night; I couldn’t sleep," said the Sequim High senior. "This is my favorite event."
After finishing fifth in the 100-meter sprint final in 2007, Nichols held tight to his state title medal on Saturday.
"I think (my improvement) was maturity," he said. "I think my muscles developed a little more."
Nichols, who said he plans to play football and walk on to the track team at Central Washington University, capped his 100 win and third-place finish in the long jump with a seventh-place finish in the 200-meter sprint.
But the Wolves were far from a one-man show last weekend, seeing three Sequim girls get top-six finishes and rewrite the SHS record books.
Sophomore Allison Cutting is making her bid to be ranked with the top 2A runners in the state along with Becca Friday of Bellingham, Shannon Porter of Hockinson and Ruby Roberts of Kingston, after finishing third in the 3200 on Friday and second in the 800 on Saturday.
Her 800-meter time (2:17.22) broke Stephanie Marcy’s Sequim High School mark.
Perhaps a year of running with Marcy, the 2007 Sequim graduate and a state cross country and track title-holder, has rubbed off on Cutting. Less than a minute into the 800 event, Cutting found herself in a mob of runners fighting off flying elbows near the back of the pack. She patiently picked off runners one by one until she worked her way to fourth by the 600-meter mark, then tracked down Caroline Austin of W.F. West at the finish for second place, 1.26 seconds behind Friday.
"It was really crowded, lots of elbows flying," Cutting said. "It was just catch as many as you can, go for it … (and) no reason to hold anything back."
Cutting said she ran with a sweatshirt during her runs in
Sequim the week previous to prepare for a heat swell during state.
She finished about seven seconds back of Hockinson’s Porter in the 3200, keeping step with Roberts for the final five laps.
LaBeaume made the most of her state berths, taking fourth in the shot put and sixth in the 200.
Despite running out of lane eight, LaBeaume’s 200 time (26.22) beat the old Sequim standard of 26.5 set by Christy Edens in 1996.
Her throw in the shot, all of 39 feet and 9.5 inches, also broke a school record.
"I think (I’m proud) more of the shot put because that’s what I’ve been working on the most," LaBeaume said. "I know I can throw 40 feet."
Making her second appearance at state in two years, Sequim soph Samantha Whiteside upped her own personal best to 9-6, with just two competitors clearing higher marks. She finished fourth in the standings.
Boosted by her own rooting section near the pole vault pit, Whiteside went with a pole a foot longer than she used last season and it paid off.
"I feel really comfortable with it now," Whiteside said. "I think 10-6 is a possible goal (next year) but I would love 11 (feet) with enough training and practice … and definitely hitting the weight room."
Sequim freshman Audrey Lichten got her first taste of state-level competition on Saturday, placing 11th overall in the 1600 with a 5:25.36, about three seconds better than her previous best. Roberts of Kingston won the event in 4:59.76.
"That was the hardest I’ve run," Lichten said. "It’s just my first year. I’m just happy that I made it here. It was fun (but) I’m glad its over."
Lichten said she hopes to have better conditioning to run with the lead pack in 2009.
"I’m going to be training hard this summer," she said.
Lauryn Garrett, a junior, was eighth in her heat in the 300 hurdles with a 50.25 finish and was tied for 15th in the high jump with a 4-8 leap.
Sequim’s 4×400 relay team (Nichols, Mitchell Fowles, Derrell Jensen and Kenny Russell) ran up against tough competition in the preliminaries as they finished seventh in their heat, clocking in at 3:33.48.
Overall, Sequim’s girls finished tied for ninth in the team standings while Sequim’s boys were tied for 15th.
Sequim coach Brad Moore said he was impressed by what he saw and hopeful for the future of Sequim track & field, considering Nichols was the only senior of the Wolves’ state competitors.
"This has been a good year," Moore said. "The team spirit was really good."
The Wolves hope to capture that in a bottle for next year, as all but two state athletes – Nichols and relay runner Mitchell Fowles – are lost to graduation.
On the girls’ side, Burlington-Edison was the overall team champion with 52.5 points, with Sehome second and South Whidbey a close third.
On the boys’ side, Sehome took team title honors with 54 points while West Central District champ Foster was second (42 points) and Ephrata placed third (35.5 points).
Sequim now boasts four individual track & field state champions since 2000: Mike Erickson in the pole vault (2000), Brian Savage in the javelin (2005), Stephanie Marcy in the 1600 (2007) and Nichols this spring.