Sequim High athletes annually don the purple and gold, but Brad Moore sees plenty of green in his 2021 squad. About two-thirds of the Wolves’ spring roster is brand new, a challenge for the longtime SHS head coach.
“I don’t know what they can do yet,” Moore said, as Sequim took on Olympic at home on March 24.
“That’s the crazy part; by the time they get (some of their events) down, it’ll be over.”
Sequim’s boys, who are still technically the defending state champs after taking the 2019 2A title — and presumably will be after the season, without a state competition on the schedule — see a handful of athletes make their return led by state relay runner Logan Laxson, a district qualifier in the 200- and 400-meter races in 2019, and Theo McMurray, part of the Wolves’ 4×100 relay that placed eighth at state.
Also back is junior Adrian Brown who showed promise in hurdles as a ninth-grader, earning top-eight finishes in both 110- and 300-meter races at the sub-district meet as a freshman.
Veteran runners Koda Robinson, Henry Hughes, Zach Gulfer and Jaxon Cogburn, all juniors, figure to give Sequim a solid middle and long distance crew, but filling out field events will be mostly newcomers, Moore said.
On the girls’ side, graduation and a relatively low turnout (about 12) have Sequim’s girls’ squad a bit short on numbers but Moore said the Wolves look to have some good young talent after seeing early practices and competition.
Anchoring the team are two returners led by Riley Pyeatt, who is coming off a strong cross country season and looks to return to form on the track; as a freshman, Pyeatt raced to a fifth-place finish in the 400 and 12th place in the 200 at last year’s state meet.
While Pyeatt won’t have a postseason to aim for, Moore said she’s finding ways to self-motivate. Leaving the stadium last week, she told Moore she’s looking at trying to challenge the league’s 400-meter mark.
“She’s competing against the record board, which is good,” Moore said.
Also back is Rileigh VanDyken, who showed promise in 2019 in the pole vault after clearing 7 feet at three meets.
Newcomer Jolene Vaara, a freshman, showed she may give the Wolves a boost after clearing 4-8 in the high jump last week against Olympic.
“(And) on a cold day; not bad for this time of year,” Moore noted.
Normally Sequim holds back from competition until the Port Angeles Invitational about three weeks from the first practice, Moore said, but with the end of 2020-2021 “fall” sports overlapping with the start of spring sports’ practice and just six or seven weeks of competition overall, the Wolves will make the best of the short season, he said.
“It’s crazy but better than nothing,” Moore said.
Season opens at home
The Wolves controlled the sprints and the long distances in the girls portion of Sequim’s season-opening meet at home on March 24.
Junior Riley Pyeatt posted wins in the 100- and 400-meter races, and freshman Taryn Johnson earned an impressive win in the 200 sprint (29.65 seconds) edging out Olympic’s Iyona Davis by 0.23 of a second.
Alex Schamadeke and Anastasia Updyke claimed the 800- and 1,600-meter races for the Wolves.
On the boys side, Henry Hughes was a dual winner in the 400 and the high jump. Colby Ellefson picked up a personal record time of 5:02.66 to win in the 1,600.
Three days later, a number of Wolves earned strong finishes in a match-up with North Kitsap, Kingston and class 3A Bainbridge in Poulsbo.
Pyeatt won the 400-meter run with a time of 59.32 seconds, and finished second in the 100 meters (13.55) and a solid second in the 200 meters (27.13), only behind perennial state standout Alyssa Cullen of North Kitsap.
Pyeatt then ran the anchor in the 4×400, helping the Sequim girls take first place. The team of Maci Cogburn, Johnson, Pyeatt and Updike won with a time of 4:21.67. Updike also won the 3,200 meters (13:54.60), while Johnson was second in the 100 hurdles (20.46).
The Wolves’ Jolene Vaara took first in the girls’ high jump with an impressive height of 5-2, a 6-inch leap from her 4-8 mark earlier in the week. Vaara’s jump was just 2 inches off of the 2019 state championship height.
It was a sweep in the 400 meters, as the Wolves’ Hughes won the boys’ race in a time of 54.87.
Sequim’s Adrian Brown was first in the 110 hurdles in a time of 18.20. Mirek Skov won the boys’ pole vault with a height of 8-0 in his first time competing in the event.
Logan Laxson was second in both the 100 meters (12.31) and the 200 meters (24.65).