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Bellevue heads to KingCo track and field finals after titles | Prep sports news
One look down the heat sheet for a Bellevue track and field meet elicits a litany of familiar names.
There is Sam and Max Richmond, brothers and standouts in the backfield for the Wolverines' 3A state champion football team. The girls team includes Ayane Rossano and Michelle Louie, state competitors in gymnastics, as well as national championship club soccer player Isabelle Butterfield.
Not to mention Budda Baker, the two-sport senior standout who will conclude his impressive track and field career at state before heading to play football for the University of Washington in the fall.
"The best part about track and field is it is so inviting," head coach John Hill said. "All are welcome."
The Wolverines have rolled out the welcome mat for a host of football players and standouts from other sports in recent years, and with tremendous results. Hill and this year's Bellevue squad, which will try for a third straight boys team title as well as a host of individual championships, believe the best is yet to come headed into Friday's KingCo Championship finals at Redmond High School.
Baker leads all conference competitors in the 100 meter dash, with 10.79 seconds as his fastest time on the year. That is just in front of teammates Isaiah Gilchrist, Max Richmond and Tyren Sams, and the Wolverines hold seven of the top times from KingCo athletes in the event.
Baker and Gilchrist are also state title threats in the 200 and 400, and Hill said the competitive nature members of the football team have brought to the track has allowed them to flourish.
"They love to do what they do," he said. "If you put a checkerboard in front of them, they would be playing that to the maximum."
Bellevue has made its push at state in the sprints and relays in recent years, and will also have a strong presence in the hurdles this season with Sam Richmond owning the top times in the 110 and 300 meter events.
Both Richmond brothers, along with Baker, are also in the mix for a spot at state in the long jump, and the Ryan Gilbert has the best throw in the javelin headed into the conference meet. Graham Wendle, another senior with a bevy of state experience, leads the pack in the 1,600 and gives Hill another state championship threat.
"The great part about a team like this is there are kids with experience," he said. "There really isn't a circumstance that is going to scare them."
Things are also shaping up for a host of 3A contenders on the girls side, led by the senior Butterfield, who has top-three times in the 100 and 200.
Sophomore Katherine Penner leads all KingCo runners in the 1,600, and is fifth in the 800 after a season where Hill said she pushed herself beyond the familiar constraints.
"Katherine is starting to step out and get comfortable being uncomfortable," he said. "There is a sensitivity of pain and discomfort that comes with that and she is learning how to step into that and stay composed."
Jojo Harber and Sabrina Mohazzabfar, two more members of the Wolverines' state playoff girls soccer team and club standouts on the pitch, are part of a 400 meter relay team that is just tenths of a second behind league leader Liberty.
And then there are Louie and Rossano, both seniors and accomplished gymnasts, who Hill said have steadily built their profile in the pole vault during their prep careers.
"They have been doing this for four seasons, and really dedicated themselves to an event that takes a lot of technical expertise," he said. "Hopefully, the culmination of that is for them to finish as high as they can at the state meet."
Interlake duo pushing long distance
Sophomore Luke Beauchamp and junior Alex Doran will give Interlake a shot at KingCo distance event titles, as Beauchamp owns the second best time in the 3,200, just in front of Doran.
Grant Jordan is tied for the best mark in the conference in the high jump, and Aaron Miller is the leader in the discus throw by four feet.
Sophie Oscar has one of the best shots at an individual title for the Interlake girls, and enters the KingCo meet tied for the fastest time in the 110 meter hurdles.
The 3A KingCo track and field championships conclude May 16 at Redmond High School, with field events beginning at 3:30 p.m. and track events starting an hour later.
Newport senior Connor Baumann has a top-10 time in the 100 and 200 for the Knights, while junior Emmanuel Davis is fifth in the 300 hurdles among 4A competitors.
Chris Halamek is top-five in the shot put and discus, while teammate Sebastian Ramierez is third in the javelin. Kyle Juetten and Eric Newland are top-three in the high jump for Newport.
Julia Sliwoski is more than five feet in front of the competition in the 4A javelin throw, and gymnast Candace Ho leads the way in the pole vault.