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One Falcon, One Family

  • Written by Carolyn Houser | Special Contributor

The Woodinville High Track and Field team came together for a fabulous season thanks to the hard work of nine coaches and a whole team of runners, jumpers, throwers and vaulters. The team saw a big change in leadership this year, welcoming two new co-head coaches. Jennifer Bolibol ran track and cross country locally as a Bothell High School student before competing during her college years at Seattle Pacific University. She is a long-time distance and cross country coach at Woodinville High, and this spring stepped up to fill the need for head coach. She was joined by Isaac Staat, a high school and collegiate runner who competed at the University of Wisconsin Superior. Staat was an assistant cross country coach at Newport High before joining the Woodinville team this spring.

WHS track1Melissa Phung, 400 meter start (Photo by Krystie Pilukas)

All the coaches agree that the Woodinville Falcons are a special team. The family dynamics among the athletes and between the athletes and coaches add to the joy of competition and buoy the daily efforts of training. Coach Bolibol commends the seniors, who model what hard work looks like and how it pays off. She is also impressed by the team’s unity and support for one another. During the season, personal records were set at every meet, and by nearly every athlete. Track is a team sport, but there is competition at every level.

Post-season, the Kingco Conference Track and Field Championships were held May 8 and 10 at Lake Washington High School for the athletes who placed in the top 16 in their events. The top 8 runners and top 9 field event athletes move on to the SeaKing District Championships in West Seattle. From there, the top three in each event move forward to the State Championships. Woodinville had 20 athletes at Kingco, with 17 moving forward to SeaKing, and 6 to State.

The jump squad sent Ben Smith and Colin Companion to Kingco for high jump. Smith tied for first place with a 6’0” jump, qualifying for SeaKing where he placed second clearing the same height. Maggie Vandehey and Anna Klein competed in women’s long jump, and Marisa Leinenwever in triple jump at the conference meet, with Vandehey and Klein moving forward to the district meet. Holland Pilukas, a sophomore who placed 2nd in State in the high jump as a freshman, will be heading to state in this event as well as pole vault. Pilukas set a personal record at the conference meet, clearing 5’9”, higher than her own head
Newcomers Brooke Monson and Duane Dahl, both former college runners at Eastern State, coached the sprints and hurdles.  Joe Mucklestone ran the 100 meter dash and the 300 meter hurdles at Kingco, and placed 4th at the district meet in the  hurdles. Jordan Worthington ran the women’s 300 meter hurdles and the 4x400 relay at Kingco and qualified for district in both races. The women’s 4x200 meter relay team of Jordan Worthington, Maggie Vandehey, Marisa Leinenwever, and Alexa Hildebrand raced at Kingco and SeaKing.

WHS Track2Relay hand off, Joe Mucklestone to Robbie Northwick (Photo by Krystie Pilukas)

The distance team was led by standout runner Luke Houser, who will be running track and cross country at the University of Washington next year. Houser qualified for state in the 1600 meter and 3200 meter races. Coach Bolibol calls him a natural athlete who makes running look easy and volunteer assistant coach Chris Houser could not be more proud of his son. Freshman Kya Villanueva ran in the varsity 3200 race at Kingco. Another team leader, and first alternate for the Kingco meet at the 800 meter, junior Jordan Kauffman had strong performances and season improvements in his events.

On the women’s side, middle-distance senior Melissa Phung competed in the 400 meter and 800 meter races at Kingco, as well as being a member of the 4x400 relay team. She will be running the 400 meter at State. Coach Staat admires her competitor’s heart and her killer kick. Freshman Nell O’Hara ran the 800 and 1600 meter races at Kingco and SeaKing, placing 4th in 1600 meters and 2nd in 800 meters, qualifying her for the state meet in the 800 meter run. Sophomore Elyn Lee had a slow start to the season due to an injury but still qualified for Kingco in the 800 meter race. She was the 4th member of the women’s 4x400 relay team at Kingco and SeaKing.

Coach Parker Dahl, a new Woodinville High School teacher and cross country coach, joined the track team as throws coach this year.  Dahl commended captains Zeke Almond and Tyler Medicus for their leadership on the team. Kaitlynn Gallo competed in the discus, javelin and shot put at Kingco, advancing to SeaKing in the discus. Ryann Davis competed in the javelin and the discus at Kingco, advancing in the javelin.

Another team player is David Mann, not an experienced coach but a dedicated father who leapt into the role of pole vault coach. His daughter Ellie Mann is heading to the state meet, along with teammate Holland Pilukas. Gabi Hansen placed 5th at the district meet. Sheridan Douglas on the women’s side and Jeffrey Liang on the men’s side competed at Kingco.

WHS Track3Holland Pilukas,high jump (Photo by Krystie Pilukas)

Between Kingco Varsity meet days, the North Kingco Junior Varsity North Invitational was held on May 9 at Redmond High School. Strong performances were seen by many individuals, as well as the team as a whole. We saw first place finishes on the men’s team by Carson Parker (100 meters), Andrew Demaris (800 meters), Zach Shelton (1600 meters), Robbie Northwick (300 meter hurdles), Tyler Medicus (discus), Jaden Bolibol (javelin),  men’s 4x100 relay team Jonathan Sehmel, Scott Carp, Robbie Northwick and Carson Parker,  and men’s 4x400 relay team Jonathan Sehmel, Jaden Bolibol, Jordan Kauffman and Andrew Demaris.

On the women’s side, first place finishers were Marissa Leinenwever (100 meters and 200 meters), Lyssa Savage-Leuchs (800 meters), Alexandra Crooks (100 meter hurdles and 300 meter hurdles), Jaclyn Aslanyan (javelin), Katerina Rudd (pole vault), and Rachel Barnes (long jump). Both men’s and women’s teams won the meet by a wide margin. Coaches Staat and Bolibol have great hopes for the growth potential of the team. 

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