Micheal Paulston proved to be a year older and wiser for her second appearance in the Class 3A state track and field meet.
The Auburn High sophomore also proved faster in the 1,600 meters.
The fact that 2007 state record-setter Lisa Olander of West Valley-Yakima concentrated her efforts on the 800 instead of the 1,600 helped Paulston’s cause. Olander set a state record of 4 minutes, 51.05 seconds a year ago in the 1,600.
Paulston didn’t miss her chance to step into the spotlight, covering the 1,600 meters in 5 minutes, 4.17 seconds to finish almost two seconds in front of Courtney Zalud of Mount Spokane in Saturday’s finals at Edgar Brown Stadium in Pasco.
“This year, I was feeling a little bit more prepared,” said Paulston. “I didn’t really know about the West Valley runner. I was focusing on the two (3A state) leaders from Squalicum (Bronwyn Crossman and Sophie Curl). “I figured I’d just follow them and outkick them in the last 100 meters and that’s what I did. They had the fastest times coming in, so I just followed them up front.”
Paulston, who registered a 3A best time in the finals, put herself in position for a three-peat before her career ends.“I’ll probably be running the 800 next year, too, but the 1,600 is definitely my favorite race,” she said. “I’d really like to go back over and win again.”
Auburn distance coach Greg Isham felt Paulston’s win had as much to do with strategy as anything.
“When we discussed how she should run, we took into account that most of the other girls would either run the 3,200 or 800 on Friday,” Isham said. “We knew perhaps those in that situation might not have as much energy as the other girls. So, if there was a slow pace, (Paulston) could push the pace. If there was a good pace, like there was, she could just sit behind the leaders.
“She just sat third or fourth until the last lap, and then she just kicked past them.”
The desire got Paulston there first.
“It was probably just that I really wanted to win it that got me there,” Paulston said. “Coming in, I was kind of nervous and excited, so knew I had a good shot at it. Sprinting down the last 100, I was thinking, ‘I really want to win this.’
“I started my move with about 250 yards to go and started to the lead. By the 200-yard mark, I was going all out.”
Paulston put herself in position to own the school record in the 1,600 in her final two seasons before graduation. She is just over three seconds away from breaking the Auburn school mark in the event, set in the late 1980s by Michelle Swanson at 5:01.
“I’ve definitely been eyeing that school record,” Paulston said. “I’m looking to break that record.”
Gold for Malamura
Jefferson senior Sofia Malamura also came home from Pasco with a gold medal. Malamura won the 4A girls shot put title with a heave of 41 feet, 2 1/4 inches. That was the best mark among 4A competitors this spring, and was more than two feet better than second-place Gaby DIxson of Battle Ground, who checked in at 39 feet even
Malamura also earned a silver medal in the discus at 125 feet, 9 inches.
Jefferson freshman teammate Kayla Adams finished seventh in the shot put at 37-9, and was 15th in the discus at 94-0.
Julian-Blake Cowan of Auburn Riverside finished seventh in the 3A boys 1,600 in 4:21.53, and was eighth in the 3,200 in 9:26.94.
Auburn Mountainview junior Seth Rumbaugh, who entered with the state’s No. 7 best time in the 800 for Class 3A, took sixth in that event with a time of 1:58.07. Auburn Riverside’s Kenny Krotzer, not ranked among the state’s top-10 times, was seventh at 1:58.96.