Spring athletes from Jefferson County high schools wrapped up their seasons this month with respectable showings for 2019 as Port Townsend’s coach is floating the idea of Port Townsend and Chimacum training together next year.
Three Chimacum student-athletes competed at the Washington State Track and Field 1A State Championship over Memorial Day weekend.
Senior Jada Trafton qualified in long jump, placing 7th with a 16 feet, 3 ½-inch jump. Elizabeth Shiflett, junior, placed 8th in the 100-meter dash, finishing in 17.94 seconds. Bjorn Danaan-Devas, sophomore, placed 13th in the javelin with a 134-8 throw. Port Townsend High School sent five individual athletes as well as the girl’s 4x200 meter relay team to the Washington State Track and Field 1A State Championship.
Highlighting the results was junior Nathan Cantrell’s second place finish in the 3200 meter dash, his first medal at state.
“That was a race where no one wanted to take the lead early on,” said head coach Ian Fraser, “and so (Cantrell) went to the front and cruised, not picking up the pace but just sitting there in the top four.”
The winner of the race made a strong move with 450 meters left in the race to lead the pack and another racer followed, passing Cantrell on the outside. However, Cantrell caught up with the racer in second place with about 200 meters to go, besting him in an all-out race to the finish line and finishing just over one-third of a second behind the winner.
Cantrell also placed ninth in the 1600 meter.
Fraser was pleased with the performance of the girl’s 4x200 relay team, who achieved their season-best time. He especially applauded the effort of freshman Aurin Asbell, who led off the team with a speedy first leg despite having practiced with starting blocks no more than five times this season. “She ran great,” he said.
Freshman Tusker Behrenfeld qualified for state in javelin with a personal best throw of 136-3 at the district meet, and beat one other thrower, the only other freshman, at the state meet despite coming into it seeded last.
Senior Eileen Leoso placed 12th in the javelin throw, while fellow senior Jazmine Apker-Montoya strained her rotator cuff on her first throw.
Junior Dylan Tracer placed 10th in the 300 meter hurdles, 16th in the 110 meter hurdles, and 15th in the discus throw.
Fraser noted that this year’s team was a young one, estimating that it was 60% rookies with many other athletes only having one year under their belt before this season. Upper class athletes with more experience were heavily involved in other extracurriculars and in Running Start classes at Peninsula College, making full commitment to the season difficult.
Without a lot of upper class leadership, Fraser said that he and his two assistant coaches, Alice Fraser and Cameron Botkin, had extra work cut out for them in “getting people over the initial learning curve” of their events.
With such a young team, however, he said he’s excited about the large number of tracksters who can return next Spring. “They’re going to be more experienced, more mature, and know what to do,” he said. “There’s a lot of young talent with lots of potential, and I’m excited to work with them again.”
Fraser already has some expectations for next season. “Nathan will win a bunch of new medals, Dylan will get in there too, and maybe some new kids as well.”
In the meantime, Fraser is exploring the possibility of bringing the Port Townsend and Chimacum track teams closer together through cooperative practices. This would mean more coaches with a greater diversity of specialties, and more athletes per event group, both of which would greatly help athletes learn and progress in their chosen events.
He said that the Chimacum coaches and administration have been receptive to this idea, and that the next step is working out the logistics.
Quilcene High School does not compete in track and field.