Renton High track athletes find success at State championships

June 12, 2018

The Washington State track and field championships were held at Mount Tahoma Stadium from May 24-26. Qualifying athletes from 2A, 3A, and 4A schools across the state travelled to compete against the best of the best in running, jumping, vaulting, throwing, and even ambulatory, in hopes of making it atop the podium.

After another successful track season, Renton High School was well represented at the state finals. Seniors Michael Richardson and Talai Finau ended their high school track careers 12th in the Discus and 13th in the Shotput, respectively. The women’s 4×100 meter(m) relay, consisting of Sophomores Faith Richardson, Alicia Ing, Audrianna Johnson, and Freshman Aisreyana Dukes placed 10th overall. Podium finishes were achieved by Senior Tai McMillan, placing 4th in the 400m and 5th in the 800m, and Sophomore Faith Richardson, who achieved an amazing feat of becoming a two-time state champion by placing first in the 100m and 200m. She even tied the meet record of 11.95 seconds in the 100m.

Track is a very unique sport in the sense that points are won individually, but meets are won or lost as a team. In order to find success collectively, teammates must run not only for themselves, but for their peers, and must be able to rely on each other to do this. As a result, camaraderie and immense support amongst teammates is always evident, especially as postseason competition continues.

Mr. Windmill, the head Boys coach, discussed his own pathway into track as an athlete, and eventually a coach at Renton.

“I played basketball and baseball during my years in High School. In those sports, you do play in a team, but it’s individual opportunity against someone else on your team.  In  track, I learned and found that there is an accountability for our efforts in meets and for people to improve. Track is more like a family- a true team sport.”

In his freshman track season, Sam Wyche did not qualify for postseason but consistently travelled alongside his teammates to meets in order to support them. Wyche made connections to his teammates during Cross Country season, and these bonds only strengthened during Track, extending past just running but into his personal life.

“There is a true family bond I feel with everyone on my team, it is something that I couldn’t imagine anywhere else.” He says.

Wyche also described how seeing his teammates succeed at such a high level inspires him, and will continue to inspire him as he competes in future seasons.

Seyum Belete, another member of the track team, has similar feelings. “I’m excited for them because they’ve worked so hard in order to get there and I just have to keep pushing and work even harder to get there myself.”

When asked about the team’s successes at state, Coach Windmill stated, “They’re great runners, but they’ve had a lot of practice and discipline in order to become such great runners.I think that they are good examples of what you can achieve with constant practice and setting goals.”

Michael Richardson’s experience at state was bittersweet, as it was his last time representing Renton High before continuing his education and sport at Texas Wesleyan University on a football scholarship.

Richardson described the atmosphere at State, saying,I learned a lot just being there because of everyone’s mentality. They all have that ” I’m here to win” mentality and that’s important to have.”

In reflecting on his senior season, Richardson admitted to having a tough regular season. His efforts at practice weren’t being reflected during meets, but he knew he couldn’t let it get to his head.

“When I would get down on myself, I would just calm myself down because everything is a process and this year , Track was just a slower process for me.” 

However, once postseason hit, Richardson’s raw talent and abilities were really able to shine. His optimism and determination carried him all the way to the state championships and continues to inspire his teammates.

“I just kept practising hard and putting in the work, because I knew eventually it would all work itself out- which it did, because I made it back to state.” Richardson concluded.

Audriana Johnson, who transferred from Kentridge last year, earned her way onto the 4x100m relay team as postseason preparations began. In comparing her experiences running individually versus on a relay, she explained,

“As an individual, it’s more about knowing what your capable of, but running on a relay you know that everyone is trying their hardest to make the relay go smooth and as fast as possible. […] we all tried our hardest and made it to state by working together.” 

Johnson shone as a hurdler during the regular season, qualifying for the district meet in both the 100m and 300m hurdle races. Being on the relay team and making it through postseason helped her build confidence and have a closer relationship to her coaches and teammates.

“Running at state was truly an amazing experience and I’m glad I got to be apart of it with the people who have pushed me to my best potential all season.” 

When an athlete on the track wears their school uniform, they serve as representations of their school as a whole. For Renton athletes, when their red and white uniform is worn, they belong to a family of fiercely and unapologetically supportive individuals, who celebrate the accomplishments of their teammates as much as their own. Track and Field athletes are part of a greater school culture that takes pride in the fact that their successes are recognised and contribute to the successes of their team.

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