Eleven Yelm athletes will take center stage at Mount Tahoma this week and compete for medals at the WIAA 2A, 3A and 4A state championships. The tournament will run Thursday, May 23, to Saturday, May 25, according to WIAA.
Yelm qualified 26 athletes going into districts. Those with a top-five finish will move on to compete at state. The 11 Yelm athletes going to state are Alexis Sapegin (300-meter hurdles, 4x200), Judy Malich (4x200), Olyvia Hoskinson (4x200), Heather Gorman (4x200), Carissa Stovall (shot put, discus), Megan Garcia (javelin), Abigail Carlson (high jump), Bryce Cerkowniak (1,600 meter, 3,200 meter), Elliot Clary (discus), Chayton Miller (javelin) and Dylan Lawrence (pole vault).
Practice this week was split because of the returfing project at Yelm High School, head coach Joel McMillan said. Some students practiced at Rainier High School while others opted to run the sidewalks of Yelm or use other school facilities.
Going into the championship events, McMillan said the hope is that this doesn’t hinder their chances at taking a position on the podium.
“It’s kind of sporadic where we’re at,” he said.
At the district competitions, senior Alexis Sapegin was able to clinch a second-place finish in the 300-meter hurdles. Her time was a personal record 46.71. McMillan said her improvement has been beyond noteworthy and her efforts will also help the girls 4x200-meter relay.
“Her improving means that our 4x200 team is improving and it’s on its way,” he said.
Going into districts, Sapegin was sitting at the third fastest in her league. So placing high at district events with a few leagues stacked on top was impressive, McMillan said.
The girls 4x200-meter relay clinched a third place finish with a time of 1:47.74 at districts.
“If they can just keep doing what they’re doing, they could get a berth onto the podium,” McMillan said.
Sapegin, Malich, Hoskinson and Gorman are currently posted up 12th or 13th fastest out of the 16 teams expected to make appearances at state, McMillan said. But he’s not counting them out from placing — better teams can have even worse days.
Coach Gaylord Strand, who’s been working with Clary, Garcia, Miller and Stovall, said he expects competition at state to be tough for these young athletes.
Although this is their first appearance at state, javelin throwers Garcia and Miller should have good chances at placing.
“They’re sitting in a position right now that if they can get a (personal record) they have a good chance of placing top eight. If you have a good day you’re going to come home with a medal,” Strand said.
Garcia held her own at districts, placing fourth in the javelin with a personal record of 111-01. Miller clinched a fifth-place finish with a throw of 155-03.
For shot putter and discus thrower Carissa Stovall, this will be her fourth appearance at state. Strand said the competition should be tough, but Stovall is a standout and should bring a great appearance in Mount Tahoma’s pit.
“It’s the strongest field I’ve ever seen for girls shot put,” Strand said.
Since her freshman year, Stovall has been a top point earner for Yelm, even beating out the competition on her own team in early years.
“You show up as a freshman and you beat out all the seniors, that says something,” he said.
Clary placed fourth at districts in the discus with a throw of 147-05. This is also Clary’s first time qualifying for state and Strand said he’s excited for him.
“He threw consistent this weekend at districts and I’m very proud of him,” Strand said. “(It was) a lot of pressure, but he handled it well.”
Boys Results From Districts
200 Meter: Brendan Kortjohn, 23.66, placed 13th; Kellen Jordan, 23.81 (PR), placed 15th.
400 Meter: Brendan Kortjohn, 52.62 (PR), placed 10th.
800 Meter: Ryan Lange, 2:04.53 (PR), placed 10th; Jacob Barnert, 2:15.80, placed 16th.
1,600 Meter: Bryce Cerkowniak, 4:25.25 (PR), placed 5th.
3,200 Meter: Bryce Cerkowniak, 9:35.80, placed 2nd.
4x100 Relay: Brian Foote and Brendan Kortjohn and Kellen Jordan and Robert Sorenson, 44.15, placed 7th.
4x400 Relay: Max McGlothlen and Cody Johnston and Robert Sorenson and Brendan Kortjohn, 3:33.72, placed 6th.
Shot Put: Bradley McGannon, 42-04.75, placed 11th.
Discus: Elliot Clary, 147-05, placed 4th.
Javelin: Chayton Miller, 155-03, placed 5th.
High Jump: Josh McCracken, 5-10.00, placed 11th.
Pole Vault: Dylan Lawrence, 12-06.00, placed 5th; Josh McCracken, 10-00.00, placed 11th.
Girls Results From Districts
300-Meter Hurdles: Alexis Sapegin, 46.71 (PR), placed 2nd.
3,200 Meter: Katelynn Strate, 12:35.07, placed 13th.
4x100 Relay: Judy Malich and Rhiannon Lott and Heather Gorman and Alexis Sapegin, 52.02, placed 9th.
4x200 Relay: Judy Malich and Olyvia Hoskinson and Heather Gorman and Alexis Sapegin, 1:47.74, placed 3rd.
Shot Put: Carissa Stovall, 40-00.50, placed 4th.
Discus: Carissa Stovall, 133-07 (SR), placed 2nd.
Javelin: Megan Garcia, 111-01 (PR), placed 4th.
High Jump: Abigail Carlson, 5-04.00 (PR), placed 1st.
Pole Vault: Kaitlyn Hillemann, 9-00.00, placed 6th.