May blossoms with a string of major track and field meets, but perhaps none is more special than the Auburn All-City showcase.
Just ask Chase Murphy.
“Coming together and competing as a city is always a blast,” said the senior hurdler from Auburn Mountainview. “I love running against all of Auburn. It’s fantastic, good competition and good fan turnout. The mayor (Nancy Backus) started the first race. That was awesome.
“It’s fun to compete as a community. We compete as a school district but we’re opponents, school rivals. … It’s always a fun meet, good sportsmanship all around.”
Murphy made the most of the moment on a 74-degree Thursday afternoon, May 3, at Auburn Memorial Stadium, capturing the 110-meter and 300-meter intermediate hurdles as he continues to peak at the right hour in hopes of scaling high school’s summit, a berth in the 4A state championships later this month. Murphy already proved himself as a state-class swimmer this past winter.
Murphy exploded down the stretch, taking the sprint hurdles in 16.02 seconds and later the endurance version, his specialty race, in 41.15.
Having missed making state by a couple of spots in the 300 a year ago, Murphy is primed to break through this spring. His personal-best effort of 40.66, set in April, is seventh best among district hurdlers. His 110 time of 15.71 is ranked in the district top 10.
“I feel good,” said Murphy, who is bound for Concordia University Irvine (Calif.) to compete in the hurdles and study business management and possibly business analytics. “I’m stepping my game up.”
Murphy was one of several Lions who shone last Thursday. As expected, state-class Talan Alfrey took the long (20 feet, 8¼ inches) and triple (41-6¼) jumps, and led off the Lions’ 400 relay – with Andrian Stepanyuk, Jeremiah Penn and Isaiah Kenard – that blistered the oval in 42.74, second only to Lakes’ 42.63 as the state’s swiftest time this season.
Christopher Penn (22.37) edged his brother, Jeremiah (22.82) to take the 200, settled for second in the 100 and later joined Jadon Smith, Carson Porter-Keese and Bill Benjamin to win the 1,600 relay (3:32.04).
Other Auburn Mountainview winners were: Porter-Keese (800, 2:00.8); Anthony Gonzales (javelin, 150); and Kacey Provo in the pole vault (14-6). Provo, a junior, is unbeaten in dual meets this season.
In all, Auburn Mountainview is taking 33 athletes to this week’s North Puget Sound League championships at Kent’s French Field (Wednesday opener; Friday conclusion). The top 10 finishers from each event qualify for the West Central District III championships the following week. The top seven from there move on to state.
“Overall, this league is so good, top to bottom, best in the state in my opinion,” said Lions coach Joel MacDougall. “We feel like our entire team is peaking at just the right time, and we are really excited about the next couple of weeks.”
For Auburn Riverside, sprinter Jaden Robinson and distance specialist Marcus Sutrick doubled.
Robinson, who owns the state’s ninth-best time (10.92) in the 100, held off Christopher Penn (11.08 to 11.09) to defend his city title. He ran a personal-best 50.15 to claim the 400.
Asked if Penn pushed Robinson in the 100, the Oregon State-bound Robinson replied, “Slightly, yes. I knew he was kinda fast.”
Sutrick led a 1-2-3 Raven sweep in the mile – with Ryan Hess and Noah Elwell in tow – winning with a personal-best 4:28.66, and added a win in the 3,200 (9:48.66).
City champions for Auburn were: Jacob Kludsikofsky (shot put, 49-1½); Omar Young (discus, 166-6); and D’Angelo Washington (high jump (5-10).
Auburn Riverside’s Aulane Mpouli dazzled, running away with the 100 (12.28), 200 (25.31) and dominating the shot put with a personal-best 37-9. Mpouli, who repeated as the 100-meter and shot put city champion, is ranked among the top 10 state sprinters in the 200, with a personal-best time of 25.12.
Mpouli also joined Carol Chikusa, Katie Lukes and Talia Samuelson to take home the 400 relay win (50.15).
Raven freshman Jasmin Muneton came up big, setting a personal-best 2:31.77 to claim the 800.
In the distances, Auburn Mountainview’s Samantha Goedde ran alone, toiled but prevailed to repeat as city champion the 3,200 (12:41.26) and later won the 1,600 (6:01.29).
“I just did not feel like it today,” Goedde admitted afterward. Goedde’s personal best of 5:42.72 and 11:53.97 are just seconds from school records.
The Lions ruled the field events with city crowns going to Mikaila Moe in the long jump (15-11½) and triple jump (34-10); Ariana De Anda (discus, 84-7); Jaylynn Sele (javelin, 98-0) and Maggie Ramey (pole vault, 9-0).
Auburn Mountainview’s 1,600 relay of Addyson Jones, Clara Ramsdell, Anastasia Staroverova and Lily Lavine won in 4:16.83. Ramsdell. a junior, won the 400 (1:01.56).
For Auburn, senior Rebecca Thareek tripled, taking the high jump (5-4) and both hurdles, including a season-best 45.54 in the intermediates.