GIRLS TRACK PREVIEW: Federal Way schools rich with talent


Federal Way Eagles

Coach: Jean Licari (15th year)

Last year’s record: 2-3 (fifth in the SPSL Central)

Strong returners: Soph. Majerae Gates (sprints); Soph. Bianca Arizpe (sprints); Sr. Jasmine Johnson (distance); Sr. Jaleecia Roland (jumps); Jr. Dyesha Belhumeur (jumps/sprints); Jamie Jones (throws).

Top newcomers: Fr. Ta’Mara Richey (jumps); Sr. Brittany Barrington (throws).

Notable: Longtime coach Jean Licari returns a lot of talent from last year’s team that finished 343 in the South Puget Sound League Central Division.

Leading the list are senior Jaleecia Roland and sophomore Majerae Gates. Both snagged silver medals at last year’s Class 4A State Girls Track and Field Meet. Roland finished second in the high jump with a school-record leap of 5-foot-7 and Gates was second in the 100 meters with a blazing time of 12.18.

Roland, who has already signed a letter of intent to compete on the University of Washington track team next year, also finished sixth at the state meet in the triple jump (37-0 1/4) and is the Eagles’ best long jumper.

Senior Jasmine Johnson is also a returning state competitor for Federal Way. Johnson finished ninth at the state meet in the 800 meters.

“We are a very young team, but have some great senior leadership,” head coach Jean Licari said. “We will be strong in the jumps, sprints, and distance. We have more depth this year which will help in the dual meets.


Decatur Gators

Coach: Sam Hunt (fifth year)

Last year’s record: 0-5 (sixth in the SPSL Central)

Strong returner: Jr. Tori Zellerhoff (distance)

Top newcomer: Fr. Hannah Cunliffe (sprints)

Notable: The Gators feature the most highly-anticipated freshman sprinter in the state in Hannah Cunliffe. The 15-year-old is already a national champion sprinter and has aspirations of qualifying for the Summer Olympic Games. She ran a blazing 11.71 in the 100 meters to set a national age-group record during the 2010 AAU Junior Olympics. It’s a time that would have taken third at the Pac-10 Championships and easily would have won the Class 4A State Championships.

Cunliffe, who is homeschooled, has competed in races all over the United States and also in Europe. In January, Cunliffe finished fourth at the UW Invitational at the University of Washington in the 60-meter finals. Cunliffe ran a 7.54. The reigning Pac-10 100-meter champion from Oregon won the race in 7.35.


Beamer Titans

Coach: Jennifer Allen (first season)

Last year’s record: 3-2 (third in the SPSL Central)

Strong returners: Sr. Sydney Rogalia (jumps/sprints); Sr. Lauren Thomas (distance); Sr. Marinah Bentley (triple jump); Moriah Bentley (high jump); Sr. Summer Jex (pole vault).

Top newcomers: Fr. Alanna Vann (sprints); Jr. Tre Anna Culp (sprints/jumps); Fr. Megan Anderson (relay/middle distance).

Notable: The Titans finished 3-2 in the SPSL Central Division last season and return several athletes. The Beamer girls will feature a new coach in Jennifer Allen.

“I am excited to be coaching at Todd Beamer,” Allen said. “We have a strong group of leaders returning and some fast newcomers. It should be a great combination.”

The Titans will be led by their relay teams, sprinters and returning jumpers this season. Senior Sydney Rogalia leads the list of strong returners for Allen and Beamer. Rogalia helped the Titans’ 4x100 relay team advance to the state meet last season.

Freshman Alanna Vann should also be one of the top sprinters in the division. According to Allen, Vann ran a 12.7 in the 100 meters during practice.

Identical twins Marinah and Moriah Bentley should also help Beamer score team points in the field events. Marinah specializes in the triple jump and Moriah is a high jumper.


Jefferson Raiders

Coach: Paul Ruston and Lori Matthews (10th season)

Last year’s record: 4-1 (tied for first in SPSL Central)

Strong returners: Jr. Lindsey Dahl (jumps/throws); Sr. Kayla Adams (throws).

Top newcomers: None listed

Notable: Adams returns for her senior year after finishing second in the shot put and fifth in the discus at last year’s state meet. Adams won the state shot put title as a freshman and holds the all-time Jefferson record in the event with a throw of 44-4 3/4 and also holds the TJ record in the discus with a throw of 128-6.

Dahl is also already one of the best all-around athletes in TJ track and field history. The junior, who was also an all-state soccer player for the Raiders, is the TJ record holder in the triple jump with a leap of 37-9.

A season ago, Dahl finished eighth in the triple jump and also participated at the state meet in the javelin and 300-meter hurdles.

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