Marcus Eubanks released a smile and a grimace as he crossed the wire, baton tightly in his left hand.
Bringing home a state title in the 400-meter relay finals brought relief and pain to the Federal Way junior sprinter and his teammates.
Eubanks joined senior leadoff Eric Jones, sophomore Anthony Frazier and junior Treyvon Davis to blister the oval in a school-record 41.9 seconds at the 4A track and field championships at Tacoma’s Mount Tahoma High School on Saturday.
“It feels very good. It feels extraordinary,” said Eubanks, who gimped to see the trainer with a tight hamstring after his swift anchor leg. “We were confident from prelims, having the top time. … Today, I knew we had it because I got the baton faster than my competition.”
Jones said the foursome’s baton exchanges have been smooth all weekend, and it showed in Saturday’s final.
“We put in all this hard work all year. All of our handoffs were perfect,” Jones said. “I’m glad we made it through to finish first. … It feels amazing. I’m proud of my teammates.”
The Eagles’ sprint relay performance punctuated a series of strong podium finishes for the Federal Way schools.
Eubanks earlier scrambled to sixth in the 300 hurdles (39.28). He was eighth in the 200 (22.85).
Frazier grabbed fifth in the 100 (11.04).
In girls events, Todd Beamer’s 400 relay of Dallas Wright, Kinidy Dayley, Madison Heck and Kemarra Hardwell picked up a fourth in 49.22.
Eagles junior Esther Brutus clipped a hurdle and finished seventh in the 300 intermediates (45.42).
“I didn’t fall down. That was the best part,” Brutus said. “I was happy just to go to the finals, to make it this far.”
Earlier, Brutus teamed up with Veronica Black, Amira Bolaji and Makiya Worthy to make the podium in the 800 relay (1:44.9, eighth).
A leg injury sidelined Todd Beamer’s Kobe Okezie in the hurdles competition. Okezie pulled up lame in the 300 prelims, forcing him out of action. A contender for a top-three finish in either hurdle race, Okezie was the meet’s top qualifier in the 110 prelims. … Todd Beamer’s AJ Chopra just missed the podium in the 1,600 (4:23.76, 12th) and 3,200 (ninth, 9:18.55). … Federal Way’s Zayani Duncan Graves was fourth in the triple jump (37-2¼). … Heck, a sophomore, was seventh in the 100 hurdles (14.76). … Thomas Jefferson’s Jeremiah Duckworth took fourth in the triple jump (45-9). … The Titans’ Andrew Welsh was seventh in the shot put (48-9). … Decatur’s Andres Diangco got seventh in the 110 hurdles (15.28).