River Ridge’s Josh Braverman entered the 2A state track and field championships as the favorite in both the boys 110 and 300 hurdles.

A rare defeat in the 110 hurdles, however, dashed the hopes of claiming dual titles. The junior does plan to dwell on the loss, but that can occur at a later date.

tumwater auto spa“That will be the motivation for the offseason,” Braverman said. “This isn’t the time to think about negative stuff. You have to just accept that it happened and not think about it. I had plenty of other things on my mind.”

Like becoming a state champion.

Braverman rebounded from the setback to win the 300 hurdles in convincing fashion, becoming the school’s 50th state champion trained by retiring head coach Phil Lonborg.

Braverman was one of several local male athletes to cap the spring sports season with a state title.

josh braverman track
River Ridge’s Josh Braverman won the 300 hurdles at the Class 2A state track and field championships.

Joining Braverman atop the podium was Olympia’s David Woodward (4A, javelin), Tumwater’s Devon Shedd-Kirkland (2A, javelin), Northwest Christian’s Luke Schilter (2B, 3200), and Rainier’s Alec Miller (2B, javelin). Black Hills High School track team also stood on the podium after winning the overall 2A team state championship.

Braverman, who also placed fifth in the 200 and sixth in the long jump, was edged by Bellingham’s Ben Doucette in the 110 hurdles on the second day of the state meet. Braverman’s final time was 14.48 seconds, fast enough for second, but a blink behind the 14.27 posted by Doucette.

The next day, Braverman was back on the track, the defeat completely wiped, at least for now, from his memory.

“Stay positive and push through, that’s all I was thinking about out there,” Braverman said. “I just wanted to relax. If you’re a relaxed athlete, you’re at your best.”

josh braverman track
Braverman, a junior, is pictured pulling away from the pack in the 300 hurdles. Braverman won the event by more than a second.

If Braverman is at his best when he’s relaxed, he was about as calm as you could be in the event as he gradually pulled away from the pack from the start and cruised to an easy victory.

Braverman stopped the clock in the 300 hurdles in a speedy 38.17 seconds – a full second better than anyone else in the race.

“I’m just super excited because yesterday didn’t go the way I wanted it to,” Braverman said. “This is what it should have felt like every single race. A lot of hard work went into this. I’m glad I rose to the challenge.”

Braverman becomes the 50th and final state champion coached by Lonborg, who has been the Hawks’ only head coach in their 23-year history.

“I wanted to get more state championships for him, but it just didn’t work out,” said Braverman, who helped the Hawks finished fifth overall in the 2A team standings. “I was able to get him one, which is better than nothing. I’m really happy about it.”

black hills track
Mark Melendres (right) finished fourth in the 100, helping Black Hills win the 2A overall team state championship.

River Ridge won the 2A state boys championship last year, and through an incredible team effort, Black Hills made sure the trophy stayed in Thurston County for at least one more year.

Despite failing to win a single individual title, the Wolves received a remarkable top six finishes from seven team members and both relay teams to secure its second overall team state championship and first since 2010.

Black Hills tallied a classification-best 47.5 points. Lynden was second with 41 points, while West Valley (Spokane) finished third (40).

The Wolves got second-place finishes from junior Austen Daisa in the shot put (50 feet, 9.75 inches) and Jason Underhill in the 400 (49.80).

Black Hills also received placings from Mark Melendres (fourth, 100), Gabe Adamson (fourth, pole vault), Kyler Nygren (fifth, long jump), Jordan Claridge (sixth, javelin) and Jewell Day (sixth, triple jump), while the 4×100 relay team of Nygren, Edward Afeiche, Underhill and Melendres and the 4×400 team of Josh Brandon, Afeiche, Underhill and Day both got up for third.

Woodward and Shedd-Kirkland picked optimal times to post personal records. Woodward claimed the 4A javelin titles with a throw of 188-01, while Shedd-Kirkland’s PR of 173-03 gave the senior the 2A championship.

northwest christian track
A year after finishing second, Northwest Christian’s Luke Schilter won the 2B state title in the 3200.

Rainier senior Alec Miller gave Thurston County its third state javelin titlist after his throw of 170-09 took first place at the 2B meet.

Schilter, a junior, finished first in the 3200 in the 2B classification. The victory comes a year after the junior finished second in the event.

Schilter also finished third in the 800 and fifth in the 1600. Teammate Luke Bredeson captured fourth in the 1600 and third in the 3200, helping Northwest Christian finish second overall as a team.

River Ridge’s Jordan Skipper-Brown placed fifth in the high jump and eighth in the long jump. Rochester’s Journey Fortner also placed twice at the 2A meet, finishing sixth in the discus and seventh in the javelin.

Additional local placers at the 4A meet were Ryan Underland of Olympia (fifth, discus) and Timberline’s Jaylen Taylor (sixth, triple jump).

Capital’s 4×100 relay team of Zach Smith, Willie Broxton, Tim Fisher and Jason Turner finished fourth in the 3A ranks. The Cougars’ time of 43.279 was nipped by Lake Washington, which finished the race in 43.279. Rogers of Spokane won the event in a time of 43.01.

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