Meadowdale’s Chikodi Ezeokeke and Dee Dee Free both rose to the top of their respective events at the 3A District 1 track and field championships Friday night at Shoreline Stadium.
Ezeokeke, a senior who only has been competing in track and field for two years, recorded a personal best in winning the triple jump with a leap of 43 feet, 11 inches.
Coming into Friday’s meet, Ezeokeke’s main goal was to qualify for the state meet. He just missed out last season.
On his first jump, Ezeokeke scratched but still jumped 43-6. “I felt pretty good,” he said. “I felt confident. I made an adjustment and I was able to get 43-11.”
The adjustment was in Ezeokeke’s approach. He shortened his first two strides and he was able to hit the board successfully.
It’s been an up and down season for Ezeokeke, who has battled a hip flexor and more recently sore heels.
“I’m hoping as state comes around I’ll be able to get a little better so I can jump a little father,” Ezeokeke said.
Ezeokeke can thank cross country coach Kris Maraveller and the cross country team for his success. He was selected as captain for the cross country team and one of the things captains have to do is come out for track and field.
“If it wasn’t for (cross country), I wouldn’t have come out to do that,” Ezeokeke said.
Last year’s success helped motivate Ezeokeke to work on his triple jumping in the offseason.
“Last year was my first year doing track and I did pretty well,” Ezeokeke said. “So I said I’ll try and work over the offseason to improve my jumps.”
Meadowdale’s Dee Dee Free won the shot put at the 3A Northwest District 1 track and field championships Friday at Shoreline Stadium.
Free credits her mother Kera for turning her on to the shot put. Kera Free competed in the shot put when she was in high school.
“She was a really good shot putter,” Dee Dee Free said. “I was just like I’m going to do what my mom told me to do and it worked. Mom knows best.”
After winning last week’s Wesco 3A South meet, Free followed that up with a victory at districts with a throw of 35-10 ½, which has been a consistent distance this season. Free’s goal this season is 40 feet.
“I’m really excited for state,” Free said.
What will be important for Free at state is continuing to work on her footwork and using her hips when she throws, she said.
Free has a little experience with state competition. As a wrestler, she took first place in the district and regional meets. Free finished third overall in the 190 pound division at state.
In addition to her coaches at Meadowdale, Free can turn to her mother for advice.
“She helps me a lot at home,” Free said. “She was weightlifting with me.”
Also winning for the Mavericks was the boys 400 relay team of Steven Buonto, Nick Neeley, Malix Braxton and Margaryonta Kilcup, who finished in 43.42.
Kilcup took second in both the 100 and 200, while Chris Grant was second in the 110 high hurdles. Braxton finished third in the triple jump. The 1,600 relay team of Grant, Josh Verzola, Harry White and Trevor White placed third. The Mavericks was fourth overall in the team scoring.
Joining Free at state from the girls team is senior Ndey Sonko, who was third in both the shot put and discus.
— By David Pan