A self-described quartet of misfits turned out to be a nearly perfect fit.
Sequim’s 4×400 relay team — Kaitlyn Bloomenrader, Eve Mavy, Riley Pyeatt and Hi’ilei Robinson — fended off Lynden by less than a tenth of a second to win the state 2A title Saturday, capping a wet and windy weekend that saw Sequim on the medal stand in fifth place.
It’s the best finish by an SHS girls team at the state meet since 2010, when they tied for fourth.
Sequim’s girls tallied 38 points. Tumwater won the 2A girls title with 78 points, with Bellingham (51 points) in second and Sehome third (45).
Sequim boys, technically still the defending 2A state champs after winning the 2019 title, tied for 20th place with 11 points. Sehome won the 2A boys championship with 88 points.
Pyeatt led the way for Sequim, racking up three individual top-four finishes, including a dominating win in the 800 meters.
Set to run for Abilene Christian University this fall, she broke her own school record with a 2:14.23 mark Saturday afternoon.
“I felt very confident in that one,” said Pyeatt, who trailed Jamie Maas of Washougal after the first 400 meters but pulled away in the second lap.
“I had to let her lead that first lap; I knew my speed would carry me through,” she said.
Pyeatt added a third place finish in the 400 (59.6 seconds) and a fourth place finish in the 1,600 (a personal best 5:03.91).
“She had a huge meet,” Sequim coach Brad Moore said.
Sequim’s girls earned six spots on the medal stands, as sophomore Jolene Vaara leapt to a third place finish in the high jump (5-1) and senior Rileigh Van Dyken was eighth in the pole vault (8-6).
Van Dyken, who said she tried vaulting after her sister Emily competed in the discipline, said increasing her speed and adjustments with her trailing leg was keys to improving her marks this season.
“[Vaulting] was a little scary as a freshman … [but] I came to love the technical aspect of it,” she said.
Sequim’s 4×200 relay team of Bloomenrader, Mavy, Katie Morris and Anastasia Updike finished in 11th place in 1:49.60.
Boys earn 3 medals
Sequim’s boys added three medals to the haul, with junior Mirek Skov taking third in the pole vault (13-0) while senior Adrian Brown earned sixth in the 300 hurdles (40.43, a personal best) and seventh in the 110 hurdles (16.17).
Freshman Andrew Brown placed 11th in the high jump (5-8), a week after clearing a personal-best 5-10 at the district meet for second place. He also took 14th in 110 hurdles, in 17.21.
“That’s asking a lot for a freshman, to come in and do your best [at a state meet],” Moore said. “But it’s excellent experience for him to be in this environment.”
Moore said the Wolves overcame having a track so poor Sequim is unable to host home meets.
“There were days we were resorting to going to Port Angeles to do workouts after they were done; it’s crazy,” Moore said.
“We constantly had to back off workouts.”
In the end that didn’t keep Sequim’s 4×400 relay out of the top spot on the medal stand Saturday afternoon, a foursome Robinson noted were hardly alike: Pyeatt, a middle distance ace; Bloomenrader, a distance runner who didn’t do track last spring; Mavy, who moved into the district mid-year, and Robinson, who started her track career as a thrower.
Off the track, the band of misfits found a way to band together.
Mavy said while it was a little tough adjusting as the new kid in the mix, “everybody’s been so welcoming.”
Said Bloomenrader, “This is our family.”
This group, however, wasn’t primed to be a state title contender right away, they noted. Their first relay was about a 4:24.
“It was a work in progress,” Pyeatt said.
But each of the Wolves developed quite a resume during the season, and each earned state berths on their own: along with Pyeatt’s impressive triple, Mavy placed 12th in the 800 (2:24.18) and 15th in the 1600 (5:30.64), Bloomenrader was 15th in the 800 (2:26.09) and Robinson was 15th in the 100 (13.57).
On Saturday, despite having a best preliminary 4×400 relay time by three-and-a-half seconds, Pyeatt said they weren’t taking a first place finish for granted.
“We knew it was going to be tight,” she said.
In the 4×400 final, after holding an early lead, Sequim was in second heading into the anchor leg when Pyeatt regained the lead and looked to rout the field before Lynden’s Kiki York came up on the SHS senior’s shoulder. Pyeatt somehow found another gear and edged the Lions at the finish line as the Wolves clocked in at 4:03.82, the Lions in 4:03.91.
The rainy, blustery weather didn’t bother these Wolves in the end.
“The whole season’s not been the best of weather,” Pyeatt said.
“[In this weather] we knew how to win,” said Robinson.
As for plans to celebrate, Pyeatt joked moments after the winning relay race she planned to nap, but the quartet said they were already looking ahead to the next race: they’ve qualified to run at the 2022 National Scholastic Athletics Foundation (NSAF) Outdoor Nationals, set for June 16-19 at the University of Oregon’s historic Hayward Field in Eugene.