Five things to watch in track and field
1 What will Amy-Eloise Neale run, and how fast? Amy-Eloise Neale isn't sure which events she'll run to close out her fabulous Glacier Peak...
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1 What will Amy-Eloise Neale run, and how fast? Amy-Eloise Neale isn't sure which events she'll run to close out her fabulous Glacier Peak career at the 3A state meet next month.
But her focus will be running fast, period.
She did that last spring in the 800, setting a state record of 2:10.32, although she injured a hamstring in the process and was unable to defend her title in the 1,600. Neale, who has won five state titles in track and three in cross country, said there's a chance she could run the 800, 1,600 and 3,200, in addition to the 1,600 relay, if she's healthy.
"I'm keeping my options open," the UW-bound senior said, adding she plans to include the 1,600.
It bothers her that she hasn't run a personal-best in the 1,600 or 3,200 since her sophomore year.
"That's a really big thing for me, working past that and breaking that barrier," said Neale, who ran for the Great Britain World Cross Country team last month and is hoping to compete in the European Championships this summer.
2 How high will Lev Marcus fly? Lev Marcus gets a big rush when he makes a big jump in the pole vault — like the personal-best 15-7 he cleared last month.
"It feels like flying," the Nathan Hale senior said.
And he hopes to soar even higher, setting a goal for at least 16-6.
"If I can get 17, that would probably make me one of the happiest guys alive," said Marcus, who tried the event as a joke his freshman year.
He'll also be ecstatic if he wins his first 3A state title after finishing a disappointing fifth last spring — although he had missed nearly all of the regular season with a stress fracture. He was fourth the year before.
"Every year, I've come in ranked No. 1 and every year I've not jumped to be No. 1," Marcus said. "Hopefully this is the year."
3 Will Brandi Williams peak at state again? Like a lot of track and field athletes, Auburn Riverside's Brandi Williams worries more about her marks than her finishes.
Of course, there's no better feeling than posting a PR and getting the victory — which is exactly what Williams did at the 4A state meet last season as she defended her title in the long jump by sailing 19-6 ½. She also logged her best times in the 100 (12.11) and 200 (25.10), even though they weren't quite good enough to get her back on top of the podium as she finished second and third, respectively.
"I PR'd in all my events, so I was just really happy with that," said Williams, who is headed for Boise State.
And that will be her focus at the big meet again this year.
"I think the most important thing is just to improve upon myself," she said. "But winning would be great."
4 Will Joe Hardy run away from everyone? Joe Hardy blew away the field in winning the 3A cross-country title last fall, finishing 13 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher. The Seattle Prep junior is the defending 3A champion in the 3,200 and placed third in the 1,600 last season. He already has run PRs in the 3,200 (8:51.01) and 800 (1:55.59).
5 Can Andrew Basham join the 60-foot club in the shot put? Lynnwood's Andrew Basham has gotten better and better in the shot put each year.
He just might break the 60-foot barrier. He threw a personal-best 55-7 to win the 3A state title last year and upped it to 57-4 last month, which was No. 1 in the state coming into this weekend.