Sports

Eagles’ Rucker rocks Cheney

Klahowya’s Sam Rucker, shown above at the South Kitsap Invitational earlier this year, won the 100 and 200 titles at the 2A state meet in Cheney over the weekend. - Photo by Jesse Beals
Klahowya’s Sam Rucker, shown above at the South Kitsap Invitational earlier this year, won the 100 and 200 titles at the 2A state meet in Cheney over the weekend.
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals

CHENEY — Sam Rucker never once doubted his ability to win a state title. But two crowns?

That even he wasn’t so sure of.

“I knew in the (100-meter dash) I would need a good start,” Rucker said. “Winning that one wasn’t for sure.

“I knew I would win the 200.”

The Klahowya junior made good on that statement over the weekend, becoming the first individual titlist in Eagle history with wins in the 100 and 200 at the 2A WIAA State Track and Field Championships in Cheney.

Rucker got the strong start he needed in the 100, but coach Leo Suzuki said the real reason he won the race was his preparation and mental focus.

“It was perfect,” Suzuki said of Rucker’s start in the 100. “Even before the race we knew he could do it. He was calm and he was ready. After the start, he wasn’t behind at all. After 50 meters, I knew he’d be ahead.”

While certainly more confident in the 200, Rucker said he still had to focus on the race at hand, a task made more daunting with the first victory on the mind.

“Even after that win, we went to the indoor track to get ready for the 200,” Suzuki said. “He knew exactly what he needed to do throughout the day.”

Another reason they moved indoors was hail in between finals. But even had the hail continued into the 200, Rucker said he would have been ready.

“I’d already run in hail earlier this season,” he said.

In the 100, Rucker finished in just 11.23 seconds, topping Ashton Gant of Pullman by .04. In the 200, he again topped Gant, this time by .3 seconds behind a 22.22 effort. Both times were faster than his preliminary times.

Rucker highlighted an effort that saw the boys team finish tied for 11th place in the competition that Pullman swept on the boys and girls sides. Klahowya’s girls finished tied for 24th.

“It’s great,” Suzuki said of the meet. “It felt pretty good.”

Joining Rucker on the podium were fellow Eagles Sierra Cook and Sharon Cox.

Cook was sixth in the 3,200 and eighth in the 1,600. Cox took sixth in the long jump.

“Sharon, she broke her school record again,” Suzuki said. “And Sierra did great.”

In the 1,600, Cook finished in 5:24. She said prior to the meet she was hoping to break 5:10 in the event that Colville’s Brittney Williams won in 5:13.65. In the 3,200, which Williams also won, Cook’s time was 11:46.31.

In the long jump, Cox flew 16-feet, 3.5-inches for sixth. Krystal Deyo of Castle Rock won with a jump of 17-5.

Of Klahowya’s state participants, only JB Hosford, who was 14th in the javelin, will graduate.

That means a bright future for Eagle track and field, Suzuki said.

“It’ll be great,” Suzuki said. “Sam I’m sure will be ready again for next year. But for example, Nick Morgan got a personal record in the pole vault. He was really excited. He was nervous in the discus so he didn’t do that well, but he’s got that experience at state now. He knows next year he can do better.”

Morgan cleared 11-06 to finish in a tie for 13th place with Nic Bargen of Lyden Christian. Hoquiam’s Gabe Chavez won the event, clearing 14-feet even. In the discus, Morgan was 15th.

Eagle Ben Dekock nearly placed in the javelin, taking 10th on the heels of Nooksack Valley’s Chris Mitchell and Hockinson’s Terrence Yoho, who finished with 156-10 and 156-03 respectively. Morgan threw 155-01.

CK’s VanDatta, Oly’s Fanua also place

PASCO — Central Kitsap’s Danny VanDatta and Olympic’s Storm Fanua earned placements at the 4A WIAA State Track and Field Meet in Pasco over the weekend as well.

VanDatta, racing in the 100, finished eighth overall despite cutting almost half a second from his preliminary time. VanDatta ran an 11.52 prelim, fourth in his heat, before claiming eighth with a time of 11.19 to score CK’s only team points.

In a surprise, North Kitsap’s Dak Kongela won the 100, finishing in 10.95, just .01 ahead of Juanita’s Derek Marshall and .02 ahead of Anthony Zackery of Ferris.

Cougar Riley Start tied for 11th with a javelin throw of 162-07. University’s Wes Nolen, a sophomore, threw 190-07. Wilson edged Gig Harbor for the boys crown, 50-42.

Fanua, competing in the discus, took seventh with a throw of 121-02. The Trojan was 15 feet behind winner Whitney Hooks, of Cascade. Fanua also scored all of her team’s two points.

Her Trojan teammate Christian Demouchet was on hand in the 110 high hurdles, but missed the final cut by a mere .26 seconds. Kyle Schauble of Kamiakin won in 14.20. Olympia won the girls title with 50 points.

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