Issaquah foursome earns its (tiger) stripes at state

May 29, 2012

By Sebastian Moraga

Issaquah High School relay members (from left) Gabrielle Gevers, Amanda Chalfant, Madison Callan, Mack Wieburg, Julianna Da Cruz and Grace Englund brought a tiger to the state 4A track and field championships. He chased them to second-place finishes in both the 4x200 and 4x400 relays. By Greg Farrar

The tiger had chased the Issaquah High School girls relay team all year.

And now here he was at the state meet, primly standing on the hand of one of the runners. He did not look menacing, but he was.

Earlier this year, the girls on the relay team had joked that they should run like a tiger was chasing them. So for state, they brought a tiger.

The feline helped five Eagle girls finish second in the 4×200 and 4×400 relays, with times of 1 minute, 42.6 seconds, and 3 minutes 53.99 seconds, respectively.

“We beat our own record,” senior Madison Callan said after the 4×400 race. “That was our biggest goal.”

Callan, Amanda Chalfant, Mack Wieburg, Gabrielle Gevers and Juliana Da Cruz, the latter a 4×200 runner, celebrated their state run posing for pictures holding each other and the tiger.

“We have a lot of love in our team,” Callan said, adding they created a bluesy tune for the team, just for fun.

The Eagle girls, who finished fifth overall, and boys, who came in 16th, specialized at having fun during the May 24-26 meet.

Senior sprinter Kyle Farmer said making it to state and facing top competition was prize enough. For one, he was healthy.

“I got injured during state last year,” he said.

He also kept some elite company during the 100-meter dash.

“Isaiah is one of the fastest people in the country for the 100 right now,” he said regarding Wenatchee’s Isaiah Brandt-Sims, later adding, “I got eighth, but I had a good time making it this far.”

Farmer finished in 11.32 seconds.

Eva Perry tied for second in the pole vault with 11 feet. Gevers finished fifth in the 100-meter race with 12.63 seconds, and the 200-meter race with 26.12 seconds.

“I’m just happy to be here,” Gevers said after the 200-meter dash. “I may not be the fastest, but I like pushing myself against people who are faster than me.”

Senior Jorrell Dorsey finished second in the long jump on a tiebreaker and fifth in the triple jump. In 2011, he had finished seventh and ninth, respectively.

“I didn’t expect to place in the long jump,” he said of this year, where he landed at 23.05 feet. “But my coach gave me some good tips and my friends in the stands helped me.”

Dorsey ended up besting his personal record by a foot and a half.

“My family and parents came all the way out from Issaquah to see me jump,” he wrote in a subsequent email. “And I had my No. 1 fan Lauren Bruner cheering for me in the stands, which really made a difference!”

Like Dorsey, Skyline High School runner Alex Daugherty surprised herself, finishing third in the girls 400-meter dash in 57.68 seconds.

“I wasn’t expecting to make it out of league,” she said, crediting her coach Greg Dalzell for helping her drop four seconds off her time. “I was running 61s this year, and I’m at 57 seconds now.”

Daugherty said she tried to leave it all on the track, so she would not regret anything later.

“It worked out well,” she said. “I like third. Not as much as first, but I’m really happy.”

Junior Keegan Symmes finished 16th in the boys 3,200-meter run with 9:50.05 minutes Freshman Sydne Tingey finished tied for eighth in the girls high jump.

“It was her first time at state and she cleared five feet,” said Spartan head coach Dawn Geiser, whose team finished tied for 17th among girls and 12th for boys.

The Skyline boys 4×400 relay team of Blake Young, Jamon Rogers, Trevon Clark and Drew Matthews finished second. Geiser had predicted the race to be close between the Spartans and the Federal Way Eagles.

Indeed, Federal Way took first place, with 3 minutes, 19.08 seconds. Skyline followed with 3 minutes, 20.85 seconds.

The girls 4×400 team of Kaylie Greninger, Maddi Hutson, Dorie Dalzell and Daugherty finished third in 3 minutes, 56.01 seconds, 2.2 seconds behind runner-up Issaquah. Geiser had predicted a top-five finish for her squad.

The girls 4×200 team of Dalzell, Daugherty, Maddi Hutson and Kaylie Greninger finished fifth with 1 minute, 45 seconds.

“We had a couple of bad handoffs,” Geiser said, “but we got on the podium.”

Matthews finished third in the 400-meter run with 48.4 seconds.

“This is a big improvement from last year,” he said. “I took 12th last year in the 400.”

Even the ninth-place finish was an improvement. Matthews entered the race as the 10th seed.

“I tried to run as relaxed as possible,” said Matthews, a soon-to-be Kansas Jayhawk. “I had faith my training would let me run relaxed but fast. This is a good way to go out.”

Sebastian Moraga: 392-6434, ext. 221, or Comment at

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