KENT – There are advantages to looking up at your competition, and advantages to being on top.
Both perspectives were well represented on Wednesday during Day 1 of the South Puget Sound League 4A sub-district track meet at French Field.
Kentwood senior Terence Grady embraces his underdog role.
Grady won his heat and will take the second-fastest time from the SPSL into the Bi-District meet next Friday in the 110-meter high hurdles. Grady’s time of 14.82 seconds trailed the 14.29 that Rogers of Puyallup’s Eric Simpson posted in Heat 1 on Wednesday.
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Simpson also has the fastest time in the state in the event this spring at 14.11.
“It’s fantastic,” Grady said. “Why wouldn’t you want the very best in the state in your own backyard to go after?”
Grady isn’t the only one looking forward to the meet on May 29-31 at Mount Tahoma High in Tacoma.
That weekend can’t come soon enough for Federal Way senior Hannah Cunliffe, who is on the flip side of the coin from Grady. Cunliffe has the fastest time in the state this spring in the 100 meters – a wind-aided 11.40 early in the year.
For Cunliffe, circumstances have kept her from ever competing for a state title. Now as a senior, she can’t wait.
“People always tell me, ‘It’s just high school,’ ” said Cunliffe, who has competed at the highest levels nationally and internationally via her club team. She will attend the University of Oklahoma and run for the Sooners beginning in the fall.
“Honestly, I’m just really excited. It’s just something I haven’t accomplished yet.”
Cunliffe easily paced the 100 field on Wednesday, running 12.06 seconds to lead a Federal Way sweep of the event. Teammates Karis Cameron (12.43) and Gabriela Pelogi (12.47) finished second and third overall.
Cunliffe has been working her way back from having strained her right ACL and MCL ligaments in her first outdoor meet of the spring.
“I’m taking it slow, and haven’t been at 100 percent,” Cunliffe said.
Cunliffe’s teammate, Mariyah Vongsaveng, is taking a similarly practical approach to this first week of the postseason. Like Grady, Vongsaveng is chasing the state’s best this spring in the 100-meter high hurdles – Emerald Ridge senior ShaRaya Quinn.
“It’s just good, friendly competition,” said Vongsaveng, who won her heat and finished second overall at 14.85 seconds to Quinn’s 14.52.
• Defending state javelin champ Denham Patricelli of Tahoma easily won the event on Wednesday with a throw of 176-5. But he wasn’t happy. Patricelli has thrown more than 210 feet already this season. “To come out and throw that poorly in front of people is not fun,” Patricelli said.