Whiteside to vault for UW After qualifying for state in the pole vault event all four years at Sequim High School, senior Samantha Whiteside is keeping the purple and gold, signing on to vault for the University of Washington Huskies next fall. Pat Licari is the Huskies’ vault and jumps coach. “In my opinion, (UW is) the best place to vault in the state,” Sequim coach Brad Moore said. “Year in and year out, they have great vaulters.”
The “Fab Four” are finished — but not without a grand exit.
Sequim’s quartet of seniors helped the Wolves’ girls track squad tie for fifth place at the class 2A state meet, bringing home two state titles, six medals and further etching their names in the annals of Sequim High sports.
Anna LaBeaume defended her shot put state championship, Allison Cutting completed her two-year-long fight with injuries to claim her first state title — and a third-place finish along the way — Samantha Whiteside came within three inches of a state title of her own in the pole vault and Chase O’Neil helped the Wolves’ relay come within 0.01 seconds of the 4x100 finals. The four now own all or part of nine Sequim school records.
“This is the greatest senior class across the board — and we’ve had some really great seniors come through (here),” Sequim coach Brad Moore said.
Sequim also got a vision of the future on the boys’ side, with sophomore Emanuel Herrera battling down to the wire in the 300 hurdles final, slipping to third in the final moments. He returned to help Sequim’s boys 4x400 relay team finish seventh.
But for this weekend, the upperclassmen came to shine, led by Cutting and LaBeaume.
Sequim’s first repeat state champ LaBeaume seemed to be an odds-on favorite to repeat as state champ even though Shreese Gotel of Steilacoom edged LaBeaume at the district meet a week previous.
Shuttling back and forth between the shot put pit and the track to run relays, the Sequim senior threw in the first heat of the preliminaries, generally reserved for the shorter-distance throwers. After a pair of 38-foot efforts, LaBeaume launched a 41-foot, 7-inch toss just before her relay heat.
That mark stood as the best for throw after throw in the finals. When Gotel’s final throw landed at about 40 feet, LaBeaume had clinched the 2A shot put title.
As it happened in 2009, LaBeaume had one last throw and made it count, a 43-foot, 10.5-inch throw that saw the crowd erupt in cheers.
“Words can’t even describe …” a grinning LaBeaume said following the throw. “ So good.” The throw was the best mark at any state meet final (regardless of classification) and the second-best throw of the season.
“I just needed to get it higher and further,” she said. “I’m ecstatic.”
Her title is Sequim’s first repeat state track & field champion and may be the first repeat champion in the same event in school history.
Cutting goes the distance Injuries cut short Cutting’s entire 2009 season.
That’s what made the top medal in the 3,200-meter race so special.
“I just wanted to win it,” she told flotrack.org. “It’s my senior year. I just wanted to feel out the competition the first mile. With 800 left, I just decided to pull out from the pack … and just keep pushing to the end. I was pretty prepared for whatever would come.”
On the state meet’s first day (May 27), Cutting and Kingston’s Marina Roberts figured to be the top two competitors in track’s longest event. Cutting stayed with Roberts for several laps, then lengthened her stride and blew away the pack in the final two laps for the win, crossing the finish line in 11 minutes, 4.52 seconds — a good nine seconds better than Roberts.
Two days later, Cutting took on Marina Roberts’ sister Ruby and Sehome’s Annie Moore. With Roberts setting a tough pace, Cutting stayed with the pack until the end and placed third. Ruby Roberts set the state meet record with a 4:53.27 finish; Moore was second at 4:59 and Cutting finished in 5:04.
“I felt mentally strong the whole way,” she said. “I kept praying and keeping my head in it. I gave it all I had.”
Cutting said she was disappointed she didn’t break five minutes in the 1,600 and 11 minutes in the 3,200 this season, both preseason goals, but that she was glad to get back on the track after injuries derailed so much of her racing.
She’ll back racing for Seattle Pacific this fall. She mentioned she might try running the 3,000-meter steeplechase as a collegian.
“I’m excited for college; every meet is like a state meet,” Cutting said.
Whiteside vaults to third Whiteside did quadruple duty for the Wolves last weekend, running 4x100 and 4x400 relays, the 100-meter sprint and her specialty, the pole vault.
With the vault delayed several times by wind and rain, Whiteside qualified for the 100 finals and placed eighth overall, clocking in at 13.36 seconds.
She teamed with LaBeaume, O’Neil and freshman Nicole Pino to a 51.67-second mark in the 4x100 relay, just 0.01 seconds behind Lynden for the last finals berth.
Whiteside joined Cutting, LaBeaume and Audrey Lichten in the 4x400 relay. Again Sequim finished ninth, one place out of the finals, again behind Lynden.
On the meet’s final day, Whiteside and other 2A vaulters finally got a chance to compete.
Whiteside cleared 11 feet — her best mark ever, tying her own school record — and placed third, three inches behind champ Robin Taylor of Bishop Blanchet and Cheyenna Pinley of Squalicum.
Herrera, Lichten earn medals While seniors were taking up most of the limelight, Herrera and Lichten both had medal-winning races.
Herrera posted a 40.25-second mark in the 300 hurdles preliminaries, the best of any runner. In the finals, he held the lead coming into the final turn. But that’s when Logan Packard of Mount Baker and Cody Peterson of Black Hills made their move.
“(I) knew we were really close,” Herrera said moments after he raced. “I didn’t go into my zone when they caught up to me.”
Packard dove across the finish line, 0.06 seconds ahead of Peterson with Herrera four-tenths of a second behind in third place.
The 39.83-second finish was a personal best, and a disappointed Herrera tried his best to stay positive afterward.
“I’ll be here next year,” he said. I’m looking forward to it.”
Herrera also placed 10th overall in the 200-meter sprint.
Lichten earned a spot in the 800 finals in her first try in the event at the state meet, racing to the fourth-best preliminaries time. In the finals, she placed seventh overall with a 2:19 mark. Annie Moore of Sehome won the event in 2:15.
“Annie took it out a lot faster today (than yesterday’s preliminaries,” Lichten said. “I was really tired. My plan was to catch people on the last lap (but) they were feeling better than me. I’m definitely satisfied with making it here.”
Lichten competed at state in the 1,600-meter race as a freshman and both 1,600- and 3,200-meter races last year. She said she hasn’t ruled out the longer races, but is adjusting to the two-lap 800 well.
“Each year is different; it depends on how the season goes,” she said. “I feel real comfortable with the race now.”
Relay takes seventh, Gallagher hurt In one of the state meet’s final events, Sequim’s boys 4x400 crew — Herrera, senior Jared Lindorfer, junior Stephan Stilts and freshman Jayson Brocklesby — raced to a seventh-place finish with a 3:30 finish.
Senior Thomas Gallagher looked to have one of the top shot put throws in the state but scratched on the attempt when his foot hit the stopboard and his knee buckled.
Gallagher, who threw sparing last year as a junior, said the throw looked to be about 57 feet — a state title winning throw if he hadn’t scratched.
The knee injury forced the Sequim athlete only able to throw from a standing position. He still managed a 48-foot, 7.75-inch throw, good for 10th place but not enough to get on the medal stand.
“My knee just buckled,” Gallagher said.
Ryan Macdonald of Sehome won the event with a 55-foot, 1.25-inch toss.
Gallagher’s fate was particularly upsetting, Sequim’s coach said, because the senior had a particularly good week of practice.
Gallagher is headed to Georgetown in the fall on a football scholarship.
The Sequim High behemoth had to settle for the role of cheerleader, rooting on his shot put teammate as LaBeaume made her championship throw.
Reach Michael Dashiell at email@example.com.