Crusaders athletes cruise to league titles

// Tacoma Baptist heads to districts with great depth

  • Group Finish. Tacoma Baptist's Rebecca McDonald (left) wins the 100-meter dash while McKenna Neufeld (right) finished second. (Photos by Jeremy Helling)

  • The Crusader's Ryan Lutterloh (left) breezed to a victory in the 800-meter dash while Trevor Talen (right) took second. (Photos by Jeremy Helling)

For a high school of 165 students, Tacoma Baptist has a wealth of track and field athletes. That depth was on display again – as it has been all season – at the Sea-Tac League Championships on May 10 at West Seattle Stadium, as the Crusaders convincingly won both the boys and girls titles.

“There’s a pretty strong track tradition at (Tacoma Baptist),” said Jim Robinson, in his first year as the Crusaders’ head coach. “I’m really happy with today. Every one of them I was hoping would move through has moved through (to districts).”

The Crusader girls started the day with a noteworthy performance, as Ellie Spiro, Paige Narayan, Rebecca McDonald and McKenna Neufeld teamed up to win the 4X200-meter relay in a school record of one minute and 47.32 seconds – a time that is also the best in the state this year in the 2B classification.

“It was really fun because our relay team is really unified,” said McDonald, a junior who also won the 100- and 200-meter dashes. “We don’t have our handoffs down completely but when we get them, we’ll get better.”

“They’ve been right on the edge of the school record for quite a bit of the season,” Robinson added.

The quartet would also go on to take the 4X100-meter relay title, while Spiro, Narayan, Kaylee Hughey and Taylor Talen combined for a victory in the 4X400-meter relay. Talen headlined the girls’ effort in the field events, winning the shot put with a throw of 28 feet and 10 inches, placing second in the discus throw and taking the javelin throw title with a toss of 81 feet and eight inches. Hughey, meanwhile, won the triple jump and scored a narrow victory in the 100-meter hurdles in a time of 19.14 seconds.

Amos Jackson scored an early victory for the boys in the 110-meter hurdles in a time of 17.13 seconds, and the team of Brandon Hughey, Trevor Talen, Austin Lutterloh and Keaton Cruver won the 4X100-meter relay in 45.59 seconds soon after. Cruver also brought home the 200-meter dash title and cruised to a win by nearly four seconds in the 400-meter dash, with a time of 51.42 seconds.

“It felt good,” Cruver said of the effort in the 400, adding that he could do better. “I felt strong coming around the curve, but when I hit that wind it was holding me back.”

Cruver, Talen, Austin Lutterloh and Ryan Lutterloh took the 4X400-meter relay to complete the relay sweep for the Crusaders, while the Lutterlohs added a couple of individual titles – with Austin winning the 300-meter hurdles and Ryan winning the 800-meter dash.

“I don’t want anyone to pass me,” said Ryan Lutterloh, a senior who has battled through a nagging leg injury this season. “At the end of the day I want to say that I couldn’t run any harder.”

The Crusaders’ Daniel Swann breezed to a win in the 1,600-meter run, Trevor Talen won the triple jump and football standout Walker Williams won the shot put and discus throw, with a toss of 160 feet and eight inches in the latter. The Crusader boys put up 223 points to easily win over second-place Bear Creek, which had 141 points, while the girls came back from an early deficit to win with 181 points over Bear Creek, which tallied 125.5 points.

The Crusaders set their sights on the Bi-District Championships at the Southwest Athletic Complex in Seattle on May 16 and 18.

“Our workouts from now to state, everything’s going to be high intensity, low volume,” said Robinson. “We’ll keep working it and pray for the best.”


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