PENINSULA SPORTS PREVIEW: State track and field competition starts today for Class 2A; 1A and 1B begins Friday

With a total of 35 North Olympic Peninsula athletes competing in this weekend’s state track and field championships, there’s plenty of story lines.

All told, the area has legitimate state title contenders in at least 14 separate events.

It also has one team that may very well challenge for an overall crown of its own.

And, of course, there is the battle of the Peninsula’s top two throwers — Port Angeles’ Troy Martin and Sequim’s Frank Catelli — which could very well decide two events in Class 2A.

Beginning there, following is a list of the Peninsula’s top six story lines going into this weekend’s events.

The Class 2A meet begins today and goes through Saturday at Mount Tahoma High School in Tacoma.

Class 1A and 1B will compete Friday and Saturday at Eastern Washington University in Cheney.

No. 1

Throwers’ delight

The Peninsula has a pair of event favorites between Martin and Catelli.

Martin has been head and shoulders above the 2A pack in the discus most of the spring.

His season-best throw of 175 feet, 8 inches is more than 10 feet better than the next-best competitor.

Catelli has been equally dominant in the shot put of late, winning the Olympic and 2A bi-district meets in the last three weeks, the latter with a school record toss of 58-1½.

The two will go head-to-head in both events.

While Catelli comes in peaking, Martin is still trying to recover from an ankle injury suffered two weeks ago.

If Martin can somehow shake that off and throw to his potential this weekend, he could become the Roughriders’ first individual state track and field champion in 19 years.

No. 2

Sequim streak

The individual crowns haven’t been nearly as scarce for the Sequim Wolves in recent years at the 2A level.

Sequim has won at least one individual title in each of the past four seasons and six total in the past six.

With Catelli in the 2A boys shot put, discus and javelin and Haleigh Harrison in the 2A girls high jump, the Wolves figure to have several chances to extend that streak to five.

On top of Catelli’s impressive marks, Harrison has the second highest jump in all of 2A this season with her school record leap of 5 feet, 4 inches.

Teammate Audrey Lichten also has an outside shot in the 2A girls 1,600-meter race. She has the fourth-best time this season in the event.

No. 3

Red Devil relay

The Neah Bay boys 4-by-100 meter relay is the co-favorite to win its 1B race.

The four-man team of DeShawn Halttunen, Joey Monje, Izaak Manuel and Titus Pascua has the top mark in 1B this spring at 46.06 seconds.

Of course, the Pomeroy relay team of Austin Reisdorph, Jose Cruz, Jacob Moore and Tory Knebel has the same 46.06-second time.

So, who will show up when it matters most?

Who knows?

It could even be Crescent, which has 1B’s fourth-best time in the event (46.75) behind the running of Joel Williams, Eric Larson, Beau Bamer and Dylan Christie.

No. 4

Logger trophy

The Logger boys’ depth goes beyond just the 4-by-100 relay.

Crescent will have athletes competing in nine events at the 1B boys meet this weekend.

Joel Williams (800), Matthew Waldrip (300 hurdles), Dylan Christie (triple jump) and the two Logger relays have all put up top-4 times/marks this spring.

If things break just right, the Loggers could match last year’s second-place finish in the team standings or maybe even challenge Mount Rainier Lutheran for the title.

The last time Crescent did that: 1997, when the Logger boys and girls both won their respective state meets.

No. 5

One-man shows

Port Angeles and Chimacum both have a pair of supreme all-around athletes in Cameron Braithwaite and Derek Toepper.

Braithwaite qualified for 2A state in four individual events for the Riders: high jump, long jump, triple jump and javelin.

Toepper, meanwhile, will represent the Cowboys in three at 1A state: long jump, triple jump and 200.

It will be interesting to see how many points each can accumulate for their team.

Toepper figures to be a points machine for the Cowboys as a No. 2 seed in the long jump and No. 4 seed in the triple.

Points might be a little harder to come by for Braithwaite, however. His highest seeding in any of his four events is No. 7 in the long jump.

No. 6

Port Townsend’s dynamic duo

This weekend will be the last time Port Townsend’s storied long-distance running duo of Bereket Piatt and Habtamu Rubio will run together under the Redskin banner.

Two years ago, the tandem finished 1-2 in the 1A state cross country meet.

Last fall, they did the same thing at the Olympic League cross country meet at Cedars at Dungeness Golf Course.

Piatt and Rubio will run together in the 1,600 and 3,200 at the 1A meet this weekend.

Could they tap into that 1-2 magic one more time for the Redskins?

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