Good health and fortune promise to take Auburn’s Rebecca Thareek far this track and field season.
Slowed by injuries, the Trojans’ standout hurdler and high jumper fell short in her quest to return to the state podium last year.
This year, she hopes to change all that.
“Maybe finish higher than in the past, maybe a state title or two,” Thareek said with a smile.
So far, Thareek is off to a promising start.
Despite foul, wet weather, the 5-foot-10 senior captured the 100-meter hurdles in 15.97 seconds during a North Puget Sound League dual meet on March 22 at Auburn Memorial Stadium. The time, which is off Thareek’s best-best of 14.90 set in 2016, is the fifth fastest among 4A West Central District 3 sprint hurdlers this season.
Against Kentwood, Thareek won the 300 intermediate hurdles, perhaps her signature event, in 48.95. A week earlier, she posted a 48.53, sixth best among district competitors. Her personal best is 45.07.
In the high jump, Thareek climbed a season-best 5 feet, 2 inches for the win against Kentwood. Her career mark remains 5-6.
Thareek understands her best performances are yet to come.
“At the beginning of the season I just want to do as best as I can and keep building, improving on that,” said Thareek, who has received a scholarship offer from Eastern Washington but has yet to make her college choice. Gifted in the classroom, with a 3.97 GPA, Thareek has applied to Stanford and Princeton.
Thareek knows what it takes to get to state. As a sophomore, she took bronze in the 3A 100 hurdles, fourth in the 300 and fifth in the high jump.
This spring depends on avoiding injury.
“Staying healthy is definitely No. 1,” she said of her goals.
The Auburn boys shone in last week’s league opener, beating Kentwood 115-29.
Among the winners: Omar Young (discus, 143-10); Jacob Klusikofski (shot put, 44-2); D’Angelo Washington (long jump, 19-7½, and triple jump, 39-7¾); Ronnie Mairs (javelin, 145-10); Joseph Fagan, 100, 11.53); Zachary Stueck (400, 52.26); Dylan Winter (800, 2:11.03, and 1,600, 4:46.61); Cole Washburn (110 hurdles, 17.62); and Luis Romero (300 hurdles, 44.03).
For the Auburn girls, sophomore Kasidy Love took the 3,200 in a personal-best 14:17.52, and Haley Hunsaker won the 400 (1:04.84). Troy’s 800 relay won in 1:54.53.
Lions setting a swift pace
Auburn Mountainview’s sprint relay team is off to a blistering start. The Lions foursome – Isaiah Kenard, Chris Penn, Jeremiah Penn and Talan Alfrey – circled the oval in 43.48, the second fastest 400-meter relay performance so far in the state for all divisions, at the Cardinal Relays in Orting on March 17.
Other Auburn Mountainview highlights: Alfrey, the BYU football-bound multi-sport athlete, stretched 21-7¾ to capture the long jump. Teammate Jadon Smith followed with a mark of 18-9. Alfrey also took the triple jump (42-0), with Smith reaching 41 feet.
In the pole vault, junior Kacey Provo climbed 14-1, the fifth-best effort in the state so far. Provo had a sound indoor season, clearing 14-9 at the UW High School Invite.
Alfrey, a returning state placer in the jumps, senior Chase Murphy and junior Bill Benjamin add depth to the sprints and relays for the Lions.
“Our sprinters and jumpers are definitely our strength, but the distance crew is really coming along and we expect big things from them this year,” said Lions coach Joel MacDougall. “Talan Alfrey is a special athlete, who can do so many different events for us. He’s just that perfect example of that hard-working, dedicated athlete every coach dreams of getting to work with.
In the 800, highly regarded Carson Porter-Keese posted a 1:59.94 to finish second at the MacDougall Invite at Colfax last Saturday.
For the girls, the Lions’ Mikaila Moe (33-2) and Kaitlyn Stewart (28-8) soared in the triple jump at Orting.
Lily Lavine, a senior, is a returning state placer in the 400. Samantha Goedde, a state-class cross country runner, will look to shine in the distance events, while junior Clara Ramsdell is the school record holder in the 800 and 1,600. Jenna Lacey, a sophomore hurdler and three-sport athlete, is another standout for the Lions.
“We are led by our sprinters in the girls’ side with a number of returning postseason athletes,” MacDougall added. “We are really excited about our girls distance runners who had a nice cross country season, and we’re hoping that transfers over to the track.”
Sprinter Jaden Robinson will pace Auburn Riverside this spring. Robinson, who signed to play football at Oregon State University, was sixth in the 100 (personal-record 10.74) and seventh in the 200 (PR 21.70) at state last year.
Sophomore Emmett Murphy, juniors Jakolby Wright, Noah Elwell, Joey Nelson and Isaiah Daniels and seniors Sam Braboy, Ryan Hess and Isaiah Prescott, who will play football at the Air Force Academy this fall, add plenty of speed and possibilities to the oval.
Marcus Sutrick, Dustin Williams, Daniel Sanchez and Andres Madrigal are solid middle-to-long distance runners.
For the girls, Aulane Mpouli returns after competing at state last year in the 100 (PR 12.12) and shot put (PR 37-2).