Swift and steady in the sprint hurdles, Todd Beamer High School’s Koby Okezie is picking up speed in the intermediates.
And that spells trouble to others who are trying to chase down Todd Beamer’s state-class hurdler.
Okezie was at or near his best last week, posting a pair of wins at the North Puget Sound League track and field finals at Kent’s French Field.
The senior delivered a personal-best 14.47 seconds in the 110-meter hurdles on May 9 and followed that effort with a season-best 39.65 in the 300 intermediates on May 11, the latter surprising Okezie.
“I haven’t run the 300 since March 29,” said Okezie, who has been hampered by minor injuries. “I’ve been able to run the 110s pretty cleanly for the last few weeks, a month really. … I was trying to use the form as best I could from what I used from the 110s and applying it here (to the 300s).”
Okezie’s 110 times is the state’s third fastest this spring, his 300 time is 10th, which makes him a contender for podium finishes in two weeks at the state meet. But first, Okezie must navigate a tougher field at this week’s 4A West Central District track championships at French Field.
The meet opened Thursday and concludes Saturday, May 19, with field events beginning at 10 a.m. The top seven finishers in each event qualify for the state meet May 24-26 at Mount Tahoma High School in Tacoma.
Okezie likes his chances. He was fifth in the 300, seventh in the 110 at state a year ago.
“In the 110s hopefully I’m right there within striking distance of first place,” said Okezie, a club competitor who has signed a scholarship to compete at track for Western Washington University. “I was surprised to run as well as I did in the 300s, but I’m excited for it right now.”
Okezie had company in the 300 last Friday. His rival and friend, Federal Way’s Marcus Eubanks, finished third (personal-best 40.09) and Thomas Jefferson’s Richard Chung was fourth (personal-best 40.87).
Other notable finishers included Todd Beamer’s AJ Chopra, who captured the 3,200 (9:25.45) and took second in the 1,600 (4:24.25); Beamer’s Andrew Welsh, who claimed the shot put win (personal-best 48 feet, 6 inches); Thomas Jefferson’s Jeremiah Duckworth, who was second in the triple jump (44-4¼); Thomas Jefferson’s Darin Cole, who settled for second in the high jump (6-0); Federal Way sophomore Anthony Frazier, who took second in the 100 (11.0); and Eubanks, who settled for third in the 200 (personal-best 22.53).
Eubanks anchored the Eagles’ winning 400-meter relay team, joining Eric Jones, Anthony Frazier and Treyvon Davis in stopping the clock at 42.26, which is second quickest in the state.
Decatur sophomore Daniel Hylton was third in the high jump (6-0).
Todd Beamer sophomore Madison Heck advanced to the district meet with a second-place finish in the 100 hurdles (personal-record 14.61) and fourth in the intermediates (46.30). Heck also was part of two district-qualifying relays – 400 (with Dallas Wright, Kinidy Dayley and Kamarra Hardwell, fifth, 49.70) and 800 (with Wright, Dayley and Rachel Wilson, third, 1:45.20).
The Titans’ Lisa Safley, a freshman, was third in the 1,600 with a PR of 5:21.83.
Thomas Jefferson freshman Dyvhon Fonoti was third in shot put (personal-best 36-9) and fourth in the discus (110-9). Jamie Appleton was third in the pole vault (9-9).
The Raiders’ Alisha Saucedo, a freshman, took third in the 3,200 with a personal-best 11:54.65.
For Federal Way, Zayani Duncan Graves was third in the triple jump (35-3¾). The Eagles’ Veronica Black, Rebecca Tetu, Amira Bolaji and Makiya Worthy were second in the 800 relay (1:45.05, 10th fastest in the state). And Esther Brutus was second in the 300 hurdles (season-best 45.28).