By his own admission, Murray Bingham runs better when he has some competition — which explains why the Sequim junior sounded disappointed despite winning the 1,600-meter race at the West Central District meet last week.
“I did the whole thing by myself,” Bingham said with a shrug. “I’m happy I got my PR (personal record), though.”
Bingham will hardly be by himself at the state 2A track and field championships at Mount Tahoma High School later this week, where he’ll be joined by eight teammates vying for top marks and finishes.
This past weekend, Bingham scored a rare triple — two individual district championships and a relay title — at the district meet in Renton that saw Sequim’s athletes set seven personal best marks and Sequim’s boys take second place overall.
Bingham raced to a 4:25.94 finish in the 1,600 meters on May 18 and followed it with a 1:56.74 finish in the 800 meters, also a personal best, for first place.
“This season’s been a lot better than last year,” Bingham said. “I’m a lot more focused.”
Right behind Bingham in the 800 was Alec Shingleton, whose 800 time of 1:59.56 was also a personal best. Like his teammate, Shingleton earned a trio of state berths, finishing fourth at districts in the 400-meter race with a 51.04-second mark — another personal best — and teaming with Bingham, Logan Laxson and Darren Salazar to win the 4×400 relay on May 19.
Laxson, a freshman, and Salazar, a sophomore, are first-time state qualifiers, helping Sequim set a season-best in the 4×400 relay of 3:28.79. (The win was a bit of revenge for Sequim, who took second to Bremerton a week earlier by 0.75 of a second.)
Shingleton’s 400 effort marked his seventh personal best mark in seven consecutive meets.
“I’ve been putting a lot of time in on the 400,” a winded Shingleton said following his 400 race. “I was injured at the beginning of the season and sick for two weeks … (but) there hasn’t been a race where I haven’t dropped time.”
Fellow junior Riley Martin is returning to state after posting a 15.77-second mark in the 110 high hurdles, good for fourth place. He was 13th at state in the event last year.
Martin wasn’t happy with his time after reporting an issue with his starting blocks but shrugged it off soon after, saying, “I still made it to state.”
Teammate Fischer Jensen earned his first state berth with a personal-best 41.30-second mark in the 300 hurdles on May 19, good for third place overall.
A pair of SHS javelin throwers are headed to state as well — one for a second time and another in his first track season. Riley Cowan set a personal best with a 167-foot 2-inch throw for second place. Cowan, who placed 11th at state last season, looked to have an edged for a district title but Fife’s Kacey Koehn took top honors with a 173-2 mark — a personal best by more than 12 feet.
Meanwhile, Sequim senior Payton Glasser earned a trip to state in his first track and field campaign with a 143-foot 11-inch javelin throw, good for fifth place. He edged Jaden Woodring of Eatonville by about 6 inches for the final state berth in the event.
“It’s amazing — I got in by the skin of my teeth,” Glasser said. “I’m very excited.
“It (javelin) just takes a lot of practice. I learn a lot from Riley and just watching people throw. It’s nice to have one of the best throwers in the district right there at practice.”
Sequim also takes a pair of pole vaulters to state. Liam Byrne topped the 12-foot mark in the pole vault to tie for fourth place. He cleared 13 feet a week prior at an Olympic League sub-district meet.
Elizabeth Sweet is the Wolves’ lone girl to qualify. After taking ninth place at state as a freshman in 2016, she missed a chance at state last year due to an injury. On May 18 at districts, Sweet posted a 10-0 vault for third place to punch her return ticket.
“This was the first time I’ve come into a meet not the first person (ranked), so I was a little nervous — but I made it to state,” Sweet said. “Hopefully in a week I’ll do better.”
Sweet said she was using a new pole, a carbon fiber composite that allows a “bit more snap” in each vault, she said. The Sequim junior hopes for a personal best at state — she set her previous top vault of 10-6 at the Shelton Invitational on April 28.