STATE TRACK: Federal Way makes history, sweep boys and girls championships

Federal Way junior Keenan Curran won the Class 4A championship in the triple jump Friday morning at the state track and field meet at Tacoma
Federal Way junior Keenan Curran won the Class 4A championship in the triple jump Friday morning at the state track and field meet at Tacoma's Mount Tahoma High School.
— image credit: Casey Olson/The Mirror

It was a very historic weekend for the Federal Way High School track and field team. For the first time in the long and rich history of the program, both the boys and girls proved to be the best of the best in Washington.

The Eagle boys, who were dominant all season long and the prohibitive favorites entering the weekend, set a meet record with 90 points during the Class 4A State Track and Field Championships at Mount Tahoma High School.

It was far more dramatic for the Federal Way girls. The Eagles won the state team title by the slimmest of margins, 42-41, over division-rival Curtis.

The Federal Way girls got a huge performance from Mariyah Vongsaveng, who was responsible for 33 of the Eagles' 42 team points. The sophomore won the individual state title in the 100-meter hurdles by running a 14.55 Friday night in Tacoma and also finished fourth in the 300 hurdles (44.51).

Vongsaveng ran on a pair of relays for Federal Way, including the state-championship in the 4x100. The team of Gabriela Pelogi, Ta'Mara Richey, Vongsaveng and Karis Cameron won the title in the 4x100 relay in a time of 47.85 over second-place Bethel (48.25). The same foursome was second behind Curtis in the 4x200 in a time of 1:41.95.

But Vongsaveng's best performance at the state meet might have come Friday morning during qualifying rounds of the 300 hurdles. During the race, Vongsaveng tripped over a hurdle on the first turn, falling to the ground and well behind the other seven runners in the heat. But Vongsaveng got up off the track and went on to snag the third, and final, qualifying spot to Saturday's final before collapsing just past the finish line from exhaustion.

The Eagles' also got points from Richey, after she finished third in the triple jump Thursday. Richey jumped 38-7 to finish behind Garfield's Nhautrey Brown (39-0) and Gig Harbor's Courtney Jost (38-8.75). Richey was also 11th in the long jump (17-1.75). Freshman Audrey Shin finished in sixth place in the high jump with a leap of 5-2.

The championship by the Federal Way girls comes a year and a half after former head coach, Jean Licari, died of a rare form of cancer. Licari spent her entire 21-year teaching/coaching career at Federal Way. Current head coach Marcus Yzaguirre replaced Licari.

It was also the third state team title for the Eagles. They also won the championship in 1976 and 1993.

It was a fairy-tale ending for the coaching career of Sam Beesley. The Federal Way boys' state championship is the first-ever in the long coaching career of Beesley. The 2013 State Track and Field Championships marked the final meet of his 44-year run as a track and field coach.

Beesley has led the program to six consecutive South Puget Sound League titles and haven't lost a dual meet since the 2007 season.

During the state meet, the Eagles got individual state championships from a pair of underclassmen and numerous top-eight finishes to rack up the state-record 90 points as a team.

Junior Keenan Curran snagged the Eagles' first individual state championship of the meet Friday morning.

Curran, who will be one of the higher-recruited football players next fall, won the 4A championship in the triple jump under cold, windy and rainy weather at Mount Tahoma. Curran, who already has scholarship offers to play defensive back at such places as Yale, Army, Air Force, Idaho, San Jose State and Wyoming, jumped 46-1.25 inches to outdistance teammate D'Londo Tucker, who was second at 45-1.5.

The Eagles' other state title came from freshman Tyson Penn in the high jump. Penn cleared 6-8 to equal his all-time, ninth-grade record in the state of Washington. Camas' Grayson Anderson finished second at 6-6.

Senior Ezekiel McNeal ended his stellar career at Federal Way with a silver and two bronze medals in the three sprint events. McNeal finished second in the 200 in a time of 22.11 and was third in the 100 meters (10.94) and 400 (48.61).

Fellow seniors Albert Havili and Michael Tate also had top-three individual finishes. Havili was third in the discus with a toss of 167-5 and Tate finished third in the long jump with a leap of 22-5.25. He was also sixth in the 200 meters (22.46).

Senior Aaron Persinger bounced back after suffering a hamstring pull at the district meet to snag a pair of fourth-place finishes in the 110 and 300 hurdles. Tremaine Rambo was fifth in the 800 (1:55.12)

The Eagles' 4x400 relay team of Persinger, Rambo, freshman Jason Palmer and Tate finished second behind South Kitsap in the 4x400 relay Saturday.

In other state championship action:

• Beamer's Chante Spotser came very close to claiming the 400-meter state championship Saturday. The Titan sophomore finished just three-hundreths of a second behind Bellarmine Prep's Hannah Derby in the final. Spotser ran a 55.87, compared to a 55.84 by Derby.

• Decatur's Franky Siliga was ultra-impressive and dominated the throwing events in the wheelchair combined division Friday morning. Siliga set three state meet records in winning the shot put, javelin and discus. Siliga threw the shot put 24-4, won the javelin with a toss of 79-1 and took the discus with a throw of 67-9.

• Jefferson junior Kaya Warrior ended up fourth in the 4A girls discus with a toss of 123-3 Thursday. Moses Lake's Sadie Nelson won the event with a throw of 136-0. Warrior was also sixth in the shot put at (38-10.25).

• Federal Way junior Mitch Stewart started his long weekend Thursday night by finishing in sixth place in the 4A 1,600-meter run. Stewart finished in a time of 4:18.72, just four seconds behind Mead's Andrew Gardner, the winner of the race.

Following the race, Stewart and his parents drove to the Tri-Cities, where he won his second-straight Class 4A state singles tennis championship. Stewart has lost only one match during his high school career, which came to Jackson's Michael Chamerski in the singles championship during his freshman season.

• Federal Way senior Mathias Forward finished seventh in the pole vault with a leap of 13-6.

• Jefferson's Montana Pellegrini and Allison Arthur finished 10th and 13th overall in the 4A pole vault. Pelligrini cleared 10-6 and Arthur vaulted 10-0.

• The Decatur girls 4x100 relay team of Leah Johnson, Ericka Budinich, Desi Kamm and Sierra Shugarts finished fourth in a time of 49.05. The Gators also ended up fourth in the 4x200 relay. The team included Jenelta Yates, Kamm, Samyra Waters and Shugarts.

• Decatur junior Anna Paradee was fourth in the pole vault with a leap of 11-3. Mount Spokane's Courtney Bray set a state record with a vault of 12-7.

• Budinich finished eighth in the long jump with a leap of 17-1.

• Decatur freshman Parris Watson ended up sixth in the 3A discus with a toss of 116-3.

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