Conner charges to state title in hurdles | 4A track and field

Tanner Conner had one goal going in to the Class 4A high school track and field meet: To win his first state title.

Kentridge’s Tanner Conner leads Wenatchee’s Christian Brandt-Sims during the 300-meter hurdles final last Saturday. Conner won the state showdown in 37.44 seconds

Kentridge’s Tanner Conner leads Wenatchee’s Christian Brandt-Sims during the 300-meter hurdles final last Saturday. Conner won the state showdown in 37.44 seconds

Tanner Conner had one goal going in to the Class 4A high school track and field meet: To win his first state title.

The Kentridge High senior fulfilled his goal on Saturday winning the boys 300-meter hurdles, on the final day of the three-day meet at Mount Tahoma High School in Tacoma.

“It has been a long time and I feel like it has been a little too late, but better late than never,” Conner said after finishing the race with a personal best time of 37.4 seconds.

Conner missed a state title in the 110 hurdles by four-one-hundredths of a second last Friday, despite setting a personal record (14.09) and breaking the school record in the event. He came in second to Gonzaga Prep's Nick Johnson, who also edged out Conner in the race last year to win the state title.

“Yesterday was a little bit of setback,” Conner said on Saturday about the 110 hurdles. “I really thought I would get the championship yesterday. I had to overcome the obstacle God put in front of me.”

That setback motivated Conner to race harder in the 300 hurdles, which he took second in last year at the state meet.

“I knew coming into the race, I had a lot of confidence that I could do it,” he said. “I put my mind to it and cleared my mind and went out and ran my own race. I didn't worry about anybody else.”

Conner took third in the long jump with a personal best jump of 22-8½. He qualified for state in the 200, which he started competing in toward the end of the regular season, but narrowly missed the finals taking ninth place in the preliminaries. The top-eight finishers advance to the finals.

With the state meet behind him, Conner's focus is on selecting a college where he plans to continue his track and field career.

He has visited the University of Washington and Central Washington University in Ellensburg. He plans to visit Montana State University in Bozeman, Eastern Washington University in Cheney, University of Idaho in Moscow and Washington State University in Pullman before making a decision.

Woke earns second state title

Kentwood's Brittany Woke won the 4A girls triple jump, her second state title after winning the long jump last year.

The senior edged out Curtis' Saudia Heard by 1 ¼ inches, with a distance of 38-05 ¼ in the triple jump on May 26. Woke took third place in the long jump last Friday.

The day after winning the triple jump, Woke said it still hadn't sunk in that she had won her second championship.

“When it happened, ‘I was like, Oh wow. I got first,'” she said.

Last year, Woke finished third in the triple jump, her first year competing in the event.

Woke said she wasn't sure what to expect coming in to the state meet this year.

“Last year I came in (seeded) ninth and won long jump,” she said. “This year came in (seeded) fourth so I wasn't sure if this would make me more confident or too confident.”

Even though she didn't win the long jump this year, Woke said she was pleased with her performance. Her jump of 18-4 ¼ was a personal best.

After graduating next week, Woke plans to attend Boston University and major in accounting.

“I not sure if I am going to run or jump track yet,” she said. “That is still in the works.”

Best friends race together

Kent-Meridian hurdlers and best friends Jaleesa Taylor and Caila Tongco said they enjoyed racing side by side in the finals for the girls 100 hurdles last Friday. Tongco, a junior, took sixth place (15.1) and Taylor, a sophomore, finished eighth (16.5).

“I am not mad or sad that I lost or anything,” Taylor said. “I just had fun today. That was just my ultimate goal.”

Tongco said it felt “like home” running next to Taylor.

“I felt a lot more comfortable because I was running next to Jaleesa,” she said. “I think it was great that I actually got to run with her this year because last year I was by myself. It's a totally different experience being by yourself versus being with your best friend.”

In the 300 hurdles, Tongco took fifth place (46.82). The duo also were a part of the 4×100 relay, which took seventh place (49.7).

Kentridge's Emily Tea took second place in the girls pole vault (11-3).

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