TACOMA – Maybe Tyson Penn should have followed Federal Way teammate Kennan Curran around sooner. The results speak for themselves – two state titles. Not that Penn was completely happy by day’s end.
Minutes after Penn joined in Curran’s warmup ritual prior to the triple jump at the 4A state track meet on Friday, the sophomore ripped off the best jump of the morning to win the state title.
“Usually, the problem with me is that I don’t warm up enough,” said Penn, whose winning leap of 49 feet 2 inches came on his first jump of the preliminary round. “But Keenan took me through his warmup. I felt really good.”
Curran benefited from being well warmed up as well. The senior finished third in the event with a jump of 47-11¾. A third Eagle, Mason Salle, finished fifth at 45-1½.
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That single event tallied 20 team points for Federal Way, which is trying to repeat as the 4A team champs.
Hitting the big jump early, and then having no other competitor get close, also allowed Penn to save his legs a bit. Penn wanted to stay as fresh as possible, since he had another goal to accomplish later on Friday.
“I want to get 7 feet,” Penn said of his aspirations for the high jump.
Penn won that event a year ago, as a freshman. He came into the state meet this season already having leaped 6-11.
The extra inch would have been a new state sophomore record.
Instead, Penn settled for a second consecutive state title and a winning jump of 6-9. That left him feeling unsatisfied.
“I heard there was a kid that went 7-0 as a sophomore, so I worked all year for 7 feet,” Penn said softly.
Two sophomores actually have cleared 7-0 in Washington, according to washingtontrack.com.
The first was Terry Ellis of Pateros back in 1977. Ellis went on to set the overall Washington state meet record a year later with a jump of 7-2¼.
Rahmel Dockery of Curtis equaled Ellis’ sophomore feat in 2009.
Already with the win after he was the only competitor to clear 6-9, Penn set the bar next at 6-11.
“I had all sorts of people come out who wanted to see me hit 7 foot,” Penn said. “Then I go out and miss three times at 6-11. I wanted that 7 foot. I couldn’t hit it all week. That’s why I’m so down.”
• Wind-aided times kept two blistering 100 prelim performances from being considered meet records. Wenatchee’s Isaiah Brandt-Sims went 10.36 seconds helped by a 5.5 mph tailwind. Federal Way’s Hannah Cunliffe ran 11.41 with a 3.8 mph tailwind.
• The top two qualifiers in the pole vault treated the crowd to a terrific two-man battle. Richland’s Larry Still and Mead’s Braden Barranco each cleared 15 feet 6 inches. Only Still made 15-9 to win the title.