Auburn Riverside’s Ali Rodseth back on track

Riverside senior leaper Ali Rodseth is looking to return to the state tournament after a injury-plagued junior campaign.

Last year was a bit of a wash for Auburn Riverside senior leaper Ali Rodseth.

After finishing fourth in the long jump at the Washington State 4A Track and Field meet as a sophomore with a 17-foot, 1/4-inch jump, Rodseth struggled last year to recover from a broken foot sustained during the club gymnastics season.

“I came back last year and worked through it, but I just kind of struggled,” she said. “I was trying to play catch-up the whole year. I couldn’t do anything for six weeks. Everybody else was in shape while I was just starting out.”

Despite her struggles, Rodseth qualified for the West Central District meet, where she barely missed out on a return trip to state in the long jump, finishing her season with an 11th-place, 16 feet, 3 1/4 inch jump.

“She was hurt last year, so we didn’t get to see her full potential,” said Auburn Riverside girls track and field coach Christie Rogers. “By the end of the season she had built up, but she just missed going to state.”

Don’t expect Rodseth, however, to miss out on a state trip this season.

During the off season Rodseth quit gymnastics to concentrate on track, adding the triple jump to her repertoire.

“Coming back this season I was amazed to see what her marks had been in indoor meets,” Rogers said. “And she picked up the triple jump. She’s just a natural at it.”

Since taking up the triple jump in November, Rodseth has not only shattered the Auburn Riverside school record, she’s also become one of the favorites to capture the Washington State 4A title in the event. Her 36-11½ jump at the Kent-Meridian Invite this past Saturday put her into a tie for first-place in the state 4A competition with Gig Harbor’s Courtney Jost.

“She’s got the rhythm that’s needed in triple jump and that drive to get better,” Rogers said.

Rodseth credits her off-season work, and the ease with which she picked up the triple jump, to the Flying A.J.’s track club out of University Place.

“It was hard giving (gymnastics) up because I was really passionate about it,” she said. “But all the passion I had for gymnastics I just brought over to track. I just really love it. It’s perfect for me.”

Rodseth continued:

“The third phase (in the triple jump) is exactly the same, you just use your long jump skills,” she said. “But the first and second phases are really technical. But I’ve been working with my coach on my knee drives and everything, so I can make it perfect, so I can hit a good mark. I’m going for 40 this year.”

Rodseth has also found success at the long jump this season, posting an 18-2, putting her in a tie with teammate Brandi Williams for second in the state at 4A.

Regardless of how she finishes this season, Rodseth is likely to continue her athletic career at the collegiate level.

“I’ve already taken four of my visits,” she said. “I went to the University of Oregon, the University of Arizona, the University of Kansas and Sacramento State.”

This weekend she’ll visit the campus of California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, after she competes in the prestigious Arcadia Invitational in Arcadia, Calif.

“I like every place I’ve been to, they’ve all been really unique in their facilities,” she said. “I’m just looking for that fit academically and athletically. I need it to feel like a home away from home, since I’m not looking at anywhere in state.”

But first Rodseth has to finish out her prep season.

“I’m excited to see how she does when we get some good weather,” Rogers said. “She’s pretty fierce, she likes to get out there and likes to compete. She’s not going to ever give a partial  percentage of her ability. She’s going to go out there and try her hardest every time and fight for that win. But she’s also going to fight to improve and get better for herself.”

Raven notes

As usual the Auburn Riverside track and field team comes into the season stacked with potential state competitors.

In addition to Rodseth, the girls team boasts junior Brandi Williams, the defending 4A long jump state champion. Williams’ best jump this season of 18-2 is already better than the 17-9 she leapt last season to win the state title. Williams also has the third best 4A time in the 100-meters with a 12.54 second top time, and is fourth in the 200 with a 26 second finish.

Junior Cassidy Brown is also back on track for the Raven girls after missing most of last year with an injury. She is currently sixth in the 4A 800 with a 2:21.53.

Montana State-bound senior Rachel Atwood, who finished seventh in the 3,200 and 10th in the 1,600 last year, is also gearing up for a return to state. Atwood has the second best 1,600 time currently, a 5:09.12 and the third best 3,200 time with a 11:04.19.

Junior Rachel O’Neil currently has the fastest 100 hurdle time in the state with a 14.84.

On the boys side, senior Kory Krotzer – who was sixth in the state at the 3,200 last year and 11th in the 1,600 – has the best 3,200 time in the state with a 9:23.20, and the second best 800 time, a 1:55.65. Krotzer is also 10th in the 1,600 with a 4:26.13.

In the 800, senior Eduard Yakimchuk is third with a 1:56.30.