Olympic League sports fans know Frank Catelli can throw a football.
That shot put isn’t far behind.
A tweak to his delivery early in the season has Catelli knocking on the door of a 2A state title after breaking a personal best effort, a Sequim school record and a West Central District mark in the shot put of 58 feet 1.5 inches, highlighting a district meet that saw Sequim’s boys take second place behind champ Renton.
Coupled with five state-meet-qualifying performances from Sequim’s girls, the Wolves are sending 11 athletes in 16 events to compete against the best 2A athletes in the state in Tacoma on May 26-28.
“The boys surprised me,” Sequim coach Brad Moore said. “Coach (Don) Lichten and I, we don’t miss much, but I never even saw it that we’d place in the top two.”
Catelli, a quarterback during football season whose previous best shot put coming into the spring was shorter than 43 feet, topped Port Angeles hurler Troy Martin, the district meet runner-up, by nearly five feet.
Moore credits Sequim throwing coach B.J. Schade for changing Catelli’s motion from a rotation to a “glide” technique in late April.
“Since he’s made the change, he’s been able to get behind the shot better,” Moore said of Catelli. Moore said the young shot put star has a combination of being strong and quick.
“He’s also a tall rangy kid — none of those things hurt,” Moore said. “He’s definitely the guy to beat.”
P.A’s Martin returned the favor in the discus, taking first with Catelli second.
The Sequim junior added a third state berth by taking third place in the javelin.
Catelli wasn’t the only Wolf taking it up a notch at districts. Fresh off setting a personal best in the pole vault at the West Central District sub-district meet, junior Mack Grinnell did it again at districts to top 13 feet, placing fourth and earning a state berth.
“He’s such a fearless kind of kid,” Moore said of Grinnell, who is new to track & field this season.
Senior Alex Jenkins set a personal best in the 1600-meter race at 4:32, earning his first track & field state appearance.
Also earning state berths were Taylor Bonneau in the 200, Jayson Brocklesby in the high jump, both Stephan Stilts and Emanuel Herrera in the 300 hurdles and both of Sequim’s boys relay squads.
Photo by Carol Lichten
One week after breaking the 11-year-old school mark, Sequim’s 4x100 relay team of Bonneau, Brocklesby, Herrera and Stilts broke it again at districts in the preliminaries on May 20 with a 43.82 finish, then broke 44 seconds again (43.95) in the finals on Saturday for a second-place finish.
“I still think they can be faster,” Moore said. “They’ve got a shot to medal (at state).”
On the girls’ side, sophomore Haleigh Harrison is headed to state for the first time after placing second in the high jump.
“Haleigh has a chance to win a title,” Moore said. “She just has to focus on herself and what she has to do to perform well, not pay attention to what’s going on around her. She’s in a great position coming in.”
Senior Audrey Lichten had the top 800-meter preliminary time on Friday before finishing fourth the next day. She backed that up with a second-place finish to rival Marina Roberts of Kingston in the 1600 meters, setting up another battle between the two next week in Selah.
“I’m really hoping she’ll PR (set personal records) in both of those events next week,” Moore said of Lichten.
Sequim’s Sarah Hutchison is headed to state after placing fifth in the 300 hurdles and she’ll join Harrison, Lichten and fellow freshman Mandi England after the Wolves’ 4x400 relay squad took second place to Kingston.
Sequim’s girls had a few near misses as well, with both 4x100 and 4x200 relay squads taking seventh place — one slot from a state berth — after promising finishes in the preliminaries. Sophomore Jasmine McMullin tied a personal best in the triple jump but missed a state spot by a single place.
Olympic League power North Kitsap took the girls’ title while Port Angeles placed a distant 16th.
Behind champ Renton and Sequim, Port Angeles’ boys tied for fifth.
Reach Michael Dashiell at email@example.com.