Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon has long been considered the Mecca of track and field in the United States. The historic stadium seats over 10,000 fans and has hosted events like the United States Olympic Trials five times, the U.S. Championships six times and also the NCAA Championships.
But, last weekend, it was Federal Way High School that shined the brightest on the hallowed Hayward Field. The Eagles won the prestigious Oregon Relays Friday and Saturday over other high school teams from all around the Western United States.
The Eagles, which included both boys and girls, finished with 132.5 points to blow away second-place Valor Christian from Colorado (87). Eagle High School from Idaho finished third (86 points) and Oregon's Central Catholic was fourth (67). In total, 55 high school teams competed in Oregon.
"We didn't know what to expect," said Federal Way boys head coach Sam Beesley. "It's our first time down here. We are in the holy land down here on the track and that seemed to motivate them."
Senior Michael Tate was the only Federal Way athlete to win an individual event championship during the Oregon Relays. Tate, a wide receiver who is headed to San Jose State University on a full-ride, leapt 22 feet, 8.75 inches to win in comfortable fashion over Springfield (Ore.) High School's Jonathan Emerald (22-5.25).
But the Eagles did use their considerable depth to run away from the competition. Federal Way had a grand total of 10 second-place finishes, including a school record in the girls long jump.
Junior Ta'Mara Richey uncorked a jump of 18-7.5 to finish just behind Curtis' Kennadi Bouyer (18-8.75). Richey also picked up a silver medal in the triple jump (38-8.75).
Federal Way's other second-place finishes came from Zeke McNeal in the boys 200 meters (21.83), Albert Havili in the boys shot put (53-2) and discus (154-4), Mariyah Vongsaveng in the girls 300 hurdles (45.12), Tyson Penn in the boys high jump (6-5.75), the boys 4x100 relay team of D'Londo Tucker, McNeal, Aaron Persinger and Tate (42.78) and 4x400 relay team of Jason Palmer, McNeal, Persinger and Tate (3:22.22) and the girls 4x100 team of Vongsaveng, Karis Cameron, Audrey Shin and Richey (49.0).
Shin also finished third in the high jump (5-2) and junior Keenan Curran was third in the boys triple jump (45-6.25) and fourth in the long jump (21-9.75). Persinger finished fourth in the 110 hurdles (14.76) and 300 hurdles (38.54).
"We had some great marks," said girls head coach Marcus Yzaguirre. "We competed well."
The results at the Oregon Relays further solidifies the Eagle boys as the favorites to win the Class 4A state team championship. Federal Way hasn't lost a South Puget Sound League dual meet since 2007 and finished third at state last season.
The Eagle girls are also unbeaten in SPSL action this season and will continue their league schedule Wednesday afternoon against Thomas Jefferson at Federal Way Memorial Stadium.