Ethan Coleman waited three long years to make a return trip to the state track and field championships. The Olympia High School senior long-distance runner wasn’t about to let the opportunity pass.
Coleman capped his high school athletic career in spectacular fashion by winning the 1600 and 3200 at the Class 4A state championship meet at Mount Tahoma High School, setting school records in both events and establishing a new 4A state meet benchmark in the 3200.
Coleman, however, wasn’t the only member of the Olympia team to capture a state title as junior Connor Johnson won the 400. Coleman and Johnson also teamed up with juniors Kenyatta McNeese Jr. and Parker Fouts to place second in the 4×400 as the Bears finished third overall in the 4A team standings with 49 points.
Lake Stevens won the 4A title with 58 points with Federal Way placing second with 51.
In the 3A classification, Yelm placed third as a team with 54 points, trailing only state champion Walla Walla (66 points) and runner-up Arlington (57). Yelm had a pair of state champs in sophomore Brayden Platt and junior Trevontay Smith, who won the shot put and triple jump, respectively, with Platt also finishing second in both the javelin and discus.
Coleman, who will compete collegiately in both track and field and cross country at the University of Notre Dame, began his trek towards being a dual state champion by winning the 1600 in a time of 4 minutes, 6.28 seconds, narrowly missing the 4A classification state meet record of 4:05.09 set by Carl Moe of Auburn Riverside in 2003, but setting a school record with his winning run.
Finishing second in the 1600 was a familiar foe in Kamiakin senior Isaac Teeples, who had defeated Coleman at the 4A cross country state championships in the fall. This time the roles were reversed.
“I went out knowing it was going to be some stiff competition,” Coleman said. “Isaac Teeples is a great competitor. You can never feel safe with that guy on your shoulder. I’ve been running races pretty solo all year and being able to come through with some really good competition, it felt good and I knew I had this in me.”
Coleman was even more impressive in winning his second state title as he won the 3200 in a 4A state meet record time of 8:49.00 with Teeples finishing second at 9:05.22.
“It just feels like a fresh experience,” Coleman said about his return to state. “Three years ago getting eighth in the 3200 as a freshman, that’s a completely different feeling than coming through here and becoming a state champion. It’s a surreal feeling.”
The Bears also received a third place in the 100 from McNeese Jr. (11.06), a fifth place in the pole vault from senior Dain Boswell (13-00.00) and an eighth place in the long jump from junior Jonathan Holcombe (20-06.00).
Platt turned out to be one of the standout performers at the 3A meet, nearly winning a trio of titles and becoming one of the few sophomores all-time in the classification to capture the shot put crown.
Few local athletes have produced a sophomore season like Platt has done this year. One of the nation’s topped-ranked linebackers for his class, Platt, who already holds scholarship offers from several high-profile D1 programs such as Michigan, Oregon and Washington, helped the Tornados to the state quarterfinals in football.
He followed up his football season by placing third at the state wrestling tournament in the 285-pound division before moving on to track and field where his final throw of 61-06.00 in the shot put not only gave him the 3A state title, but also broke the school’s 20-year old record set of 59-08.00 set in 2002 by David Paul, who was Yelm’s last state champion in the event.
“It was incredible. As a sophomore my goal was to get 60 [feet] this year. I came in throwing 52 at the start of the year and just slowly gradually worked up,” Platt said. “I was definitely feeling it. When I went up [for my final throw] I knew I had already won [the state title] and that adrenaline pushed me to throw that far.”
In addition to the performances by Platt and Smith, Yelm also received third-place finishes from junior Kyler Ronquillo in both the long jump (22-05.50) and 110 hurdles (14.98).
Yelm sophomore Jordan Lasher visited the medal podium twice, finishing fifth in the pole vault (13-06.00) and seventh in 110 hurdles (15.79).
Tumwater had two athletes visit the podium at the 2A state meet with junior John Hoffer placing sixth in the 3200 (9:24.37) and seventh in the 1600 (4:20.21) and senior Seth Weller grabbing a fourth-place finish in the 110 hurdles (15.82). The Thunderbirds also placed fourth in the 4×100 relay and fifth in the 4×400 relay.