Todd Beamer’s Kobe Okezie didn’t have to look far for motivation.
District competition in the hurdles is as good as it gets for the Titans’ senior.
Okezie added two more titles to his long list of accomplishment last week, winning the 300-meter intermediate and 110 hurdles at the 4A West Central District track and field championships at Kent’s French Field.
On Saturday, Okezie edged Kent-Meridian’s Alex McGeachy at the wire – 38.30 to 38.32 seconds, both personal bests – in one of the more dramatic finishes of the afternoon.
Pushed in the 110s last Thursday, May 17, Okezie beat Rogers of Puyallup’s Taylor Murchison, the 4A leader in the event, for the district crown. Okezie stopped the clock in 14.65.
The top seven finishers in each event moved on to this week’s state meet at Mount Tahoma High School in Tacoma. The state championships begin Thursday afternoon and conclude Saturday.
Okezie’s 110 time of 14.47 set in the league finals is the state’s third fastest this season, his 300 time is ranked No. 2 in the 4A ranks, which makes him a contender for podium finishes at Tacoma.
“Felt pretty good,” Okezie said of his finish in the 300. “I expected a good race from (McGeachy). … I think were both good and ready for state.”
Added McGeachy, who has the 4A’s third-best time in the distance hurdles: “I expect pretty much about the same (at state) that happened in this race. Should be close.”
For McGeachy, the heart was willing but the legs grew heavier as he tried to close in on Okezie down the stretch.
“Terrible,” McGeachy said of feeling the full effects of the finish. “I was trying my hardest to catch up to him.”
“I was trying my hardest to stay ahead of you,” Okezie replied.
Joining the state hurdles field will be Federal Way’s Marcus Eubanks, who delivered a personal-best 39.28 in the 300 (fourth place) and Thomas Jefferson’s Richard Chung (personal-record 40.24, seventh).
Eubanks anchored the Eagles’ winning 400 relay, joining Eric Jones, Anthony Frazier and Treyvon Davis to blister the oval in 42.04, the swiftest 4A time this season.
Frazier, a sophomore who has the top time in the 4A 100-meter ranks set earlier this season (10.78), qualified with a fourth in 11.01. Eubanks moved on in the 200 (personal-best 22.15, third place).
Other boys highlights
Todd Beamer’s AJ Chopra set a personal best in the 1,600 (4:19.91, third) and was second in the 3,200 (9:21.91). … The Titans’ Andrew Welsh was third in the shot put (personal-best 48 feet, 8 inches). … Decatur junior Jeremiah Palaita was fourth in the discus (140-11). … Thomas Jefferson’s Jeremiah Duckworth took second in the triple jump (46-3, PR).
Federal Way’s Esther Brutus qualified for state in the 300 hurdles (fourth, 45.52). She led off the state-bound 800 relay, followed by Veronica Black, Amira Bolaji and Makiya Worthy, in 1:44.22 (third). The same foursome finished fifth in the 400 relay (49.43). … Jefferson’s Jamie Appleton moved on with a fourth in the pole vault (9-6). … Federal Way’s Zayani Duncan Graves advanced in the triple jump with a fifth-place finish (36-7¾, PR). … Todd Beamer sophomore Madison Heck was sixth in the 100 hurdles (14.98).