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Falcons Soar at State Track Meet

  • Written by carolyn houser | Special Contributor
According to Coach Jennifer Bolibol, the Track and Field season is like a magnificent layer cake. The layers of angel food represent all the daily work and training of the season; they are the base that supports the program. The joy of competition and the enduring friendships are the creamy filling that holds the team together. Winning meets, setting personal records, and especially getting to compete in the post-season are the icing on the cake.
 
WHS State 2 2Nell O'Hara, Holland Pilukas, Luke Houser, Ben Smith, Ellie Mann, Melissa Phung (Photos by Krystie Pilukas)
 
Six Woodinville High School (WHS) Falcons achieved the pinnacle of the season, the cherry on top: going to the State Meet at Mt. Tahoma High School in Maple Valley on May 23-25.
 
BEN SMITH (junior)—High Jump
Smith set a personal record of 6 feet in the high jump at the conference meet, and repeated that height at districts. He tied for 11th place at the state meet clearing 5’10”. Incredibly, Smith completed this fantastic season wearing a brace to support an ankle that he broke in a wrestling injury just a few months ago.
 
1600 2Luke Houser running 1600m Photos by Krystie Pilukas
LUKE HOUSER (senior)—1600m and 3200m
The announcer was unapologetic when he told the crowd that it would be a long introduction for the men’s 1600 meter race. That is because, out of the 17 athletes heading to the starting line, eight of them were nationally ranked in the top 100. The race was blazingly fast, with Daniel Maton of Camas finishing 1st   in 4:06.07, Joe Waskom of Mt. Si in 2nd (4:06.64) and Woodinville’s Luke Houser 3rd  (4:08.17). The three future University of Washington teammates are now ranked respectively at 1, 2 and 9 in the nation.
In the 3200 meter race, Houser placed 2nd (8:57.38) behind Waskom (8:56.02) in another fast race where both boys again posted a personal record. (Maton, the third future Husky, won the men’s 800m race)
 
ELLIE MANN (senior)—pole vault
Gymnast and pole vaulter Ellie Mann got her father to join the track and field team this year. David Mann stepped in to fill a coaching void that would have meant there was no pole vault program at WHS. Ellie placed 5th at the state meet with a height of 11’6”. She will be attending Brigham Young University next year.
 
pole vault 2Pole vault: Holland Pilukas. Pole vault: Holland Pilukas
 
HOLLAND PILUKAS (sophomore)—Pole vault and High Jump
Pilukas is a two-event field athlete, and actually three-sport athlete, also competing in soccer and gymnastics. She took up the pole vault last year and had a spectacular season this year. She took 2nd place in the state meet with a personal record of 12’6”, tying the WHS school record.
Pilukas has held the WHS record for high jump since clearing 5’5 ¼” as an 8th grader. Her current record is 5’9”, but the cold, wet conditions of the track did not favor her at the state meet. She placed 5th with a jump of 5’2”.
 
NELL O’HARA (freshman)—800m
The diminutive O’Hara had a spectacular freshman season, culminating with a state meet qualification in the 800 meter race. With her solid racing times and strong finishing kick, she has set personal records over and over this season. She placed 14th in state as a freshman, and we expect to see her back at the state meet several more times as a top high school competitor.
 
MELISSA PHUNG (senior)—400m
Phung is a middle-distance runner who loves the 400 meter dash. She placed second at Kingco with a personal record of 58.92, and second again at the district meet in what she called an “ugly run” where she lost her form and style but got the job done. At the state meet, she was hampered by an Achilles tendinitis flare-up and finished 15th. She will continue her running career at Case Western University where she will be a pre-med major.

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