The Rainier High School track and field teams are preparing for league competition after they hosted the Icebreaker Invitational on Saturday, March 18.
After a good showing at the invitational, the program’s coaches expect to have a strong season.
Rob Henry, the Rainier girls track and field coach, said the team has 22 girls in the program this season. Henry said the team is built of “mostly” freshmen and sophomores.
“We’re young. I expect the kids to get better each week. They’re hard workers, they come in each and every day expecting to get better,” Henry said. “The results will pan out from that point.”
He said the team’s goal is to always win the league title and have a strong showing at districts. He named several key girls that could help lead the team to a Central 2B league championship.
Sophomore Acacia Murphy was described as the team’s number one sprinter. She runs the 100 meter, 200 meter, 400 meter and participates in the high jump.
“My freshman year I was really just discovering the high jump,” Murphy said, noting it’s her favorite event. “I was learning how to get into it and finding the correct form. I took fifth at state last year for high jump and I’m hoping to place higher than fifth this year.”
To improve from her performance at state last year, Murphy said she is working on her form and technique at practice.
“The sense of community is my favorite part of being a Rainier track athlete,” Murphy said. “In track, you get some individualism but although you’re doing it alone, you still feel the support from your friends around you. They cheer you on when you’re doing your event and it makes the sport so much better.”
Her teammate Ella Marvin helps drive Murphy. Marvin was described by Henry as the team’s number one returner in pole vault. She set a new personal record of nine feet in the pole vault at the Icebreaker Invitational.
“She puts a lot of work in for track,” Murphy said. “I see that she puts a lot of work into track, too, and it drives me to push myself the way she pushes herself.”
Josh Frunz, the boys track and field coach at Rainier High School, noted his team is also relatively young this year. Despite their age, the team does sport some solid returners.
Chase MacFarland returns to the Mountaineers this season after he won the state championship in 2022 in the triple jump event. Frunz said Matthew Kenney is an up-and-comer and had a good showing at the Icebreaker Invitational.
Josh Meldrum, a high jump athlete, and Zander Peck, a javelin thrower, are two athletes to watch this season, Frunz said.
“I’m looking forward to seeing a lot of improvement throughout the year,” Frunz said. “It’s been a good group to work with so far.”
Following the team’s state championship win in 2022, Frunz said the leadership that graduated from the program last year built a lasting foundation for the Rainier track and field program.
“We had an amazing group of seniors last year. It was probably a once in a lifetime group overall,” Frunz said. “These guys were all around for most of it and I think they’ve picked up some positive attributes, and I’m hoping to see that trickle down to our juniors, sophomores and freshmen. We have a lot of kids working hard and I think there will be some surprises as we progress throughout the year.”
Rainier will compete at Morton-White Pass High School on Thursday, March 23 in a league meet. Their next league meet is set for Thursday, March 30 at Napavine High School.
The Mountaineers will host one league meet this season. It’s set for Tuesday, April 18 at Rainier High School.
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