Auburn Mountainview's Vasina leads teammates to state 3A meet | Prep track and field

Viktoriya Vasina in action at the district meet. - Tracy Arnold/For the Reporter
Viktoriya Vasina in action at the district meet.
— image credit: Tracy Arnold/For the Reporter

Auburn Mountainview's Viktoriya Vasina wasn't pleased last season with her performances in the long and triple jumps.

After more than six years – three of them on the Lions' varsity track and field team – competing and steadily refining her skills in the jumps, Vasina thought she might qualify for state last spring.

She didn't.

At last season's district meet, Vasina finished a disappointing 10th in the long jump, with a leap of 15 feet, 2 1/2 inches. Her season ended in the district triple jump with a mark of 32-11 1/4.

For her senior year, Vasina wanted to make more than just an appearance at the league or district meet. She had her sights set on state glory. And to improve and reach that goal, she turned to a local club team, the Flying AJs, after her junior track season.

"It was my last year and I had a lot to prove. I wanted to make it to state in an individual event," Vasina said. "It was pretty important. I wanted to do something more in track and go to college."

Her work paid off at the West Central District III/Southwest District 4 meet last weekend, when she qualified for the 3A state meet by taking second in the triple jump with a 35-foot leap, and third in the long jump with a distance of 16-4 3/4.

"She was a surprise because she's battling some injuries," said Lions coach Joel MacDougall. "She's got a foot injury (tarsal tunnel), and she's had a back injury all year that has been just nagging (her). ... (It's) not anything that prevents her from competing, but when she jumps, it gets a little worse.

"She's a champ. She is one of those kids that, whatever we ask of her, she'll do," MacDougall said. "She had a great meet. She's jumping all out."

Vasina – the school's triple jump record-holder (35-1 1/2) who will compete next season in track and play soccer at Central Washington University – said she's pleased with her individual performance this season. But what she values most is the team aspect of the sport — her place on the Lions' 400-meter relay team.

For a relay runner, that's only natural.

In just eight short years, Auburn Mountainview has built a winning tradition in the relays.

In 2010 the Lions grabbed the 3A state title, when Erika Lombardo, Abi Alfrey, Alexi Morton and Whitney Echols shared the top spot on the podium.

In 2011, when Vasina was a freshman, Auburn Mountainview's 400 relay – composed of Lombardo, Echols, Alfrey and freshman Nicole Carter – sped to a second-place finish.

Vasina said all of the runners on those teams influenced her, especially Carter, her best friend and co-captain.

Coming into the season, one of the things Vasina was looking forward to most was getting a chance to compete with Carter and the rest of the 400 team at state.

But when Carter went down with a heel injury this season, making it too painful for her to race, those dreams were in jeopardy.

"It was really hard to watch her sit out of her races (at districts) as a senior," Vasina said.

Despite the pain, Carter rose to the occasion at district in the relay, taking the place of sophomore Malia Brudvik, who had suffered a hamstring injury in the preliminaries.

"I was really glad she ran in the (relay)," Vasina said of Carter. "I don't think we would have won without her."

"She ran at still probably about 80 percent of what she normally runs," MacDougall said of Carter. "And the rest of the girls ran well enough that we finished fourth (with a 1:48.50). Another amazing thing was senior Maddie Taylor. We just decided to throw a senior in there (to) run the third leg. And she did great. It's nice having those seniors."

Now, with just the state championships at Tacoma's Mount Tahoma Stadium remaining, Vasina looks forward to spending a little time on the podium.

"I'm hoping to (reach the) podium in the triple jump," she said. "And I think once we get everything right, our handoffs and starts, we have a real strong chance of getting on the podium with the 4-by-100 as well."

In addition to Brudvik, Taylor, Carter and Vasina, Auburn Mountainview's 400 relay team alternates are Kelly Brudvik, a sophomore, and junior Noami Maya-Mendoza.

The state meet began at 3 p.m. Thursday and continues Friday and Saturday.

ALSO: The Lion boys 400 relay team competes at the state meet Thursday, Friday and Saturday after earning a berth with a fifth-place finish at district with a time of 43.89.

"I don't want to say our boys have struggled, but they've had trouble competing," MacDougall said. "All season we've been on them to compete and get into the race. And (last) Saturday they were right there. The handoffs were all good, and they ran extremely well. Sophomore Gavin Robertson is our anchor, and he's run well all season long. He just had a really great day."

The team includes sophomores Vaughn Daggs, Michael Causley and Boraphet Billy, senior Ray Hardaway and freshman Justen Hardaway.

Also earning state berths were junior pole vaulter Keegan Provo, senior shot putter Malachi Fowler and Robertson in the triple jump.

For the girls, Rachel Greve qualified in the high jump, freshman Molly House moved on in the 300 hurdles and Taylor qualified in the high jump.

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