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All-City track meet a run down memory lane for Bellevue, Interlake coaches | Prep sports feature
Brad Barquist and John Hill will always have a special place for the All-City meet.
The only prep sporting event that includes each of the four public high schools in the district, along with students from International School, the All-City meet has been a Bellevue tradition since the current Interlake and Bellevue head track and field coaches were prep runners themselves.
Each recalled the old format, which culminated with a championship session ran under the lights with two participants from each school per event, with a nostalgia reserved for the defining moments of sports passion.
"Anyone who got to participate in that night session always looked forward to it," Barquist said. "The city meet is one of my favorite meets, and it always has been."
For Barquist and Hill, a friendship that has endured their time as head coaches on opposing sides of Bellevue began decades earlier. It has taken them from the youth soccer field to the high school track, and even the Olympic Trials.
Barquist made the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, making the U.S. National Team in the 10,000 meters, while Hill competed in the trials as a marathon runner.
But his memories of training and competing with Hill doesn't include results or fastest times. Instead, he said the lasting impression was the impact track and field could have in forming friendships.
"I remember less about who won or lost," he said. "It is more about the great rivalries between the schools."
Hill said by the time the two reached high school, Barquist was already well known in the area for his competitive exploits as a runner.
"The best part was making that lifelong connection," Hill said. "I love this meet because it has always been the neighborhood meet."
The schools are no longer linked by classification, the meet is not the last step before the KingCo championships, and it no longer features the spectacle of a nighttime final session.
But for Barquist and Hill, the chance to pass along the pride of running in the All-City meet is second to none.
"There is always that Bellevue pride," Barquist said. "You always want to beat the other Bellevue schools."