Port Angeles’ Parker Nickerson competes in the long jump this weekend at Mount Tahoma. (Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Port Angeles’ Parker Nickerson competes in the long jump this weekend at Mount Tahoma. (Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

STATE TRACK AND FIELD: Peninsula athletes shine at state meets

Sequim’s Clare Turella lone state champion from area but plenty of athletes place

TACOMA — Clare Turella of Sequim ended up being the lone track and field champion from the Olympic Peninsula this weekend, though several other athletes from East Jefferson to Neah Bay had successful performances in various classifications.

Turella, who is just a freshman, won her championship early in the 2A state meet on Thursday, jumping 5 feet, 2 inches, one inch off her district championship height the week before. Before the district meet, Turella’s best jump of the year had been 4-10.

How hard is it to win a state track and field championship. Turella is the only athlete from any school on the Olympic Peninsula athlete to win a state track championship since 2022, when it was done by Sequim’s Riley Pyeatt and the girls 4×400 relay team anchored by Pyeatt. It’s also nearly unheard of for a freshman to win a state championship against kids two or three years older.

“I wanted to be able to go to school and say ‘I won’,” Turella said.

Turella said district was actually harder than state because the competition seemed tougher and there was a lot of rain at district. “I don not like the rain at all,” she said.

She also said the girls high jump ran late until 9 p.m. Thursday, which she called “horrible,” because of delays in the boys’ high jump. She said she jumped a 5-2 without any scratches at state, immediately setting the tone for the rest of the high jump.

Turella was having a good track season, winning several meets, but she hadn’t had a jump over 4-10 all season. She said she actually did jump 5-2 in middle school. “I was stuck at 4-10, I was really annoyed about it. I was really annoyed at the beginning of the year.”

She said she was having a back issue and went to a physical therapist. After doing certain recommended stretches to loosen up, she did a 5-0 in practice. Then she erupted with a 5-3 at district in lousy jumping conditions. “I really surprised myself,” she said.

In the short term, Turella plans to jump at the Nike Nationals meet in Eugene, Ore., in June. Pyeatt and the 2022 girls relay team won first-place medals at the Nike Nationals back in 2022 and several Olympic Peninsula track athletes have competed at this elite meet.

Turella said she might try to add the long jump to her repertoire. Her biggest goal right now is the state girls record of 5-7¼.

“I have three years to jump another 5½ inches,” she said.

Port Angeles

A pair of Port Angeles track and field athletes placed high in their field events at the 2A track and field championships at Mount Tahoma Stadium on Saturday, which saw wet and challenging conditions for much of the weekend.

The Roughriders’ Teanna Clark, a district champion, came in third in the girls javelin with a throw of 122-2. That was just off her district throw of 125-6.

The state champion was Abbey Flerchinger of Shadle Park, who had a throw of 126-8.

Port Angeles’ Dallas Dunning also placed fourth in the high jump with a leap of 6-2. He tied with two other jumpers, but he got fourth place because he made 6-2 in his first try while the other jumpers had misses. The top high jump in the state was by Zakeius Hawkins of Anacortes, who leaped 6-4.

Port Angeles’ Faerin Tate placed sixth in the 100 hurdles in a time of 16.9 seconds, while Parker Nickerson was 10th in the 300 hurdles in 41.41. Fellow Roughrider Donovan Heins was 11th in the long jump at 20-6¾.

East Jefferson at 1A

YAKIMA — East Jefferson had a couple of stellar performances at the 1A state track meet at Eisenhower High School in Yakima.

Senior Fiona Fraser, running in her last race for the Rivals, finished second in the 3,200 meters in a time of 11:23.51. Teammate Aaliyah Cassidy Yearian finished third in the 1,600 in a time of 5:05.08 in her final race, while Fraser also placed in the 1,600, coming in seventh in a time of 5:14.54.

Yearian also came in fifth in the 800 in a time of 2:19.48 and javelin thrower Ellise Gardner finished fifth with a distance of 118-0, her second state medal in the javelin in two years.

Arden Moore also placed for the Rivals, coming in eighth in the 300 hurdles in a time of 52.66.

Yearian finished with six state medals in her high school career in track — three seconds (all last year), a third, a fifth and a sixth.

Thanks to the performances of these four girls, the East Jefferson girls finished 11th in the state as a team with 25 points.

The top showing for the East Jefferson boys was by Henri Huber, who finished 11th in the triple jump with a distance of 39-5¼, a personal record.

Forks at 2B

YAKIMA — Forks also competed at Eisenhower High School over the weekend. The best showing for the Spartans was by Nate Dahlgren in the shot put. He came in sixth with a distance of 47-11. He also finished ninth in the javelin with a throw of 144-9.

Teammate Sloan Tumaua placed in the discus with a throw of 140-8. The top showing for the Forks girls was by Keana Rowley, who came in 11th in the javelin with a personal record throw of 105-1.

1B Track

YAKIMA — Crescent, Neah Bay and Clallam Bay all had several athletes with good showings at state.

Ryana Moss of Neah Bay finished seventh in the 1,600 in a personal-record time of 5:41.45. Her sister Caylee Moss was 10th in the 1,600 in 5:49.82.

Crescent’s Katelyn Dunavant was seventh in the javelin with a personal-record throw of 96-7 and eighth in the shot put with a distance of 31-0¾. Daniel Cumming of Neah Bay was 10th in the shot put at 40-7.

Naomii Sprague of Crescent was 12th in the triple jump with a distance of 30-10.

Clallam Bay’s top showing was 12th in the triple jump by William Hull with a distance of 38-6¾.

Sequim’s Ivy Barrett takes off in the 400 at the 2A state track meet at Mount Tahoma Stadium this weekend. (Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Sequim’s Ivy Barrett takes off in the 400 at the 2A state track meet at Mount Tahoma Stadium this weekend. (Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

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