KEITH THORPE/PENINSULA DAILY NEWS Parker Nickerson of Port Angeles leads the way to win the boys 100 hurdles on April 19 on the track at Port Angeles High School.

KEITH THORPE/PENINSULA DAILY NEWS Parker Nickerson of Port Angeles leads the way to win the boys 100 hurdles on April 19 on the track at Port Angeles High School.

PIERRE LaBOSSIERE COLUMN: Here are some of the names to watch for in postseason track and field

This week, we enter the serious phase of track and field — district meets.

District meets at the 1B, 2B, 1A and 2A levels are happening this week with a passel of Olympic Peninsula kids having impressive springs so far. Now is the time to really show what they’re capable of, as a number of athletes who placed at state last year are back for their senior seasons this year.

Here are some of the kids around the Peninsula to keep an eye on. Sorry if I miss any names, but we won’t miss you if you do well at district and state.

Anyone who is a fan of Port Angeles basketball knows that Parker Nickerson has serious leaping ability as they watched the 6-foot-3 player unleash a number of one-handed tomahawk dunks the past two seasons.

Nickerson has turned that leaping ability into a dominant track season, racking up an incredible 18 first-place finishes this spring in the 110-meter hurdles, the 300 hurdles, the long jump and the triple jump. Nickerson placed seventh at state in the 300 last year and his hurdling times this year are on pace with last year’s times.

Nickerson’s teammate Donovan Heins has had a solid track season with six second-place finishes in the hurdles and long jump, often times right behind Nickerson.

However, at the Olympic League championships in Poulsbo last weekend, he uncorked a spectacular leap of 22 feet, 2¾ inches. That was nearly a full foot beyond his previous best. He not only won the league championship, he unleashed the No. 1 jump in the entire state at the 2A level. He is definitely a name to watch.

Sequim has some outstanding girls relay teams. Leading the Sequim girls is a former state champion in Kaitlyn Bloomenrader. She has racked up a total of eight first-place finishes at various distances this season. She won state and Nike championships as part of a relay team in 2022 anchored by a legendary Sequim runner, Riley Pyeatt.

Ivy Barrett somewhat came out of the nowhere last year to finish second at state in the 400. She hasn’t been quite able to match her state meet time of 59.26 seconds from last year, but she is another name to watch for as she returns to postseason track.

The Sequim and Port Angeles track teams begin competing at the two-day bi-district meet Friday at North Mason High School in Belfair.

East Jefferson has had an interesting track and field season, choosing to compete in a lot of invitationals.

East Jefferson has some outstanding track athletes, led by Aaliyah Cassidy Yearian, who gets one more crack at district and state. Last year, Yearian pulled off the amazing feat of finishing second at state in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200. She hasn’t racked up a lot of times this year, but she’s been here before. The two girls who were barely able to beat her in these events, Alexis Leone of Seton Catholic and Naomi Atwood of South Whidbey, are back this year, so they are all quite familiar with each other.

Also returning for East Jefferson are Ellise Gardner and Reid Martin, both javelin throwers who finished second at state last year for the Rivals. Gardner has racked up six first-place finishes in the javelin this year and Martin five.

East Jefferson competes at the Nisqually district championship at Vashon on Saturday.

A Forks athlete to watch is Nate Dahlgren. Dahlgren finished third at the 2B state meet last year in the shot put with a distance of 46-3.

This year, Dahlgren had won the shot put five times and uncorked a distance of 50-1½ at Bellevue Christian in April, four feet better than his best distance from last year.

Forks competes at the Pacific 2B championships in Raymond on Friday.

Some local 1B athletes have also shined this spring. Many 1B schools are only able to field track and field teams during the spring.

Tiny Clallam Bay has great track teams as the Bruins’ girls won the North Olympic League championship last week.

Crescent has a pair of girls making a lot of noise this spring. Naomii Sprague has an amazing 16 first-place finishes this year and won the NOL championship in the 100, the 200, the long jump and the triple jump. She went to the state 1B meet as a freshman. Teammate Katelyn Dunavant has 18 top-3 finishes in the shot put, discus and javelin.

Neah Bay’s Ryana Moss, a two-time state basketball champion and future Peninsula College Pirate, has been the biggest star for the Red Devils. She has nine first-place finishes in the 400, 1,600, 300 hurdles and the 4×200 and finished fifth in the state in the 1,600 and 300 hurdles last year.

Neah Bay, Crescent and Clallam Bay compete in subdistricts in Joyce at 3 p.m. Friday.

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