For the first time in three years, spring sports and the month of May in Washington will conclude with state championship competitions. When last we saw titlists in track and field, baseball, softball, boys soccer, boys and girls tennis, and golf, the calendar read 2019.
Just 10 months later, as the state basketball tournaments concluded on a Saturday night in early March, spring teams were just days away from starting their seasons. Instead, the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the world.
Fast forward to today and so many of the names have changed. Yet, there remain a few that are quite familiar.
Whether new or tried-and-true, many are worth a look this weekend at venues across the state. We present here five not-to-be-missed moments.
Track and field: How low will Lyricc Lopez go?
The Foster senior already has taken down Mark Phillips. He’s been virtually unchallenged all spring in the 300 intermediate hurdles, and has the fastest time in the state this season in the 400 meters.
But the Bulldog senior still has more he wants to accomplish this week at the Class 2A state track and field meet at Mount Tahoma High in Tacoma.
“My goal is to run sub-36,” Lopez said. “And give everybody a bang for my last race.”
Lopez set the state record in the hurdles when he ran 36.26 seconds at the KingCo Championships two weeks ago. That broke the mark of 36.57 set by Garfield’s Phillips at the 1986 Star Track meet at Tacoma’s Lincoln Bowl.
The Arizona signee begins his quest for sub-36 at 1:05 p.m. on Friday in the 300 hurdles prelims. The finals are set for 11:45 a.m. on Saturday morning.
Softball: Will it be three in a row for Jackson?
It’s hard not to wonder what might have been for the Jackson softball team. The Timberwolves head to Spokane this weekend looking for the program’s third consecutive state Class 4A title.
There’s a chance it could have been for a fifth in a row. Coach Kyle Peacocke was set to return 10 players in 2020 from the team that won its second straight championship in 2019.
Players such as current captains Kalia Zellmer and Avery Olson were sophomores and even with all the returners, they definitely would have been on that roster, Peacocke said.
Two years later, it’s really a restart for the program.
“Just because it’s a whole new group of kids, we don’t want them feeling any pressure to live up to some legacy,” Peacocke said. “They’re excited to do their own thing.”
Tennis: Can Vincent Yang get a title in his first try?
Lakeside sophomore Vincent Yang has been building his tennis resume for years on the club circuit. Way back in 2016, playing in the boys 12-year-old division as a 10-year-old at Washington’s largest youth tournament at the Central Park Tennis Club in Kirkland, Yang advanced all the way to the championship match.
After the fall high-school season, Yang has stayed ready for the state playoffs by playing a series of boys 16s and 18s events on the West Coast.
The Metro League and SeaKing District champion begins his run for a Class 3A state singles title on Friday in Richland.
Does the 3A baseball world go through West Seattle?
No. 1 seed West Seattle is seeking the program’s first state title.
The Wildcats will face 12th-seeded Mercer Island, which knocked off the fourth-seeded Auburn 6-1 in the quarterfinals last Saturday. That game will conclude Friday’s semifinals, at 7 p.m. at Pasco’s Gesa Stadium.
The Wildcats come into this Final Four weekend riding an 11-game winning streak after holding off Walla Walla 6-5 in the quarterfinals. The Wildcats are 24-1, with their lone blemish a 2-1 loss back on April 13 against Ingraham.
Track and field: Which Moll will vault to the top?
And just how high will the nationally renowned Capital High sisters go to capture the Class 3A pole vault title in Tacoma?
Bainbridge’s Ella McRitchie pushed Hana and Amanda Moll at the bi-district meet last Friday afternoon, matching the sisters from Olympia up to 13 feet. Hana Moll made 13-6, while McRitchie came close but ultimately missed three times while state leader in the event, Amanda Moll (14-9.25), passed up to 14-0.
Both sisters made 14-0, assuring a 1-2 bi-district finish going into the state meet. The 14-0 would be good for a tie for the Class 3A state meet record when the event is run at 9 a.m. Friday at Mount Tahoma High.
West Seattle’s Chloe Cunliffe set that mark when last state track and field was last competed in 2019.
“It’s definitely reassuring that I know I’ve made it, and can go farther this season,” Hana Moll said. “My goal is to do my best. If I set that number goal, then I’m going to be disappointed if I don’t make it.”
“I agree,” Amanda Moll said simply.