It will go down as one of the greatest high school track and field careers in school history. And it lasted all of three months.
A year ago Napavine’s Grace Hamre was helping the Tigers’ fastpitch team to the Class 2B state title game for a second consecutive year.
Despite never participating in track at the high school level, she elected to leave fastpitch behind and make the shift to track.
It’s safe to say the transition went smoothly.
Hamre shined at the 2B state meet in Eastern Washington University, winning four state titles (three individual championships and one relay title) to help the Napavine girls’ team finish third overall as a team.
Hamre, who last competed in track as an eighth grader at Napavine Middle School, took first place in the 100, 200 and 400 before teaming up with Mollie Olson, Alex Pope and Xylee Pope to captured the 4×200 state championship.
Also picking up 2B state titles were Hamre’s teammates Conner Locke (boys, 100) and Olson (girls, triple jump), and Pe Ell senior Josh Schulz (boys, long jump).
The Tigers’ fastpitch team made back-to-back appearances in the championship game the past two years, losing in the finals to 2B Central rival Adna (13-3) in 2015 and to Toutle Lake (6-2) in 2014.
Hamre also received a second-place in basketball earlier this year after Napavine lost to Okanogan, 60-51, in the girls’ state championship game.
That runner-up status was quickly erased in one impressive sprint after another. Hamre secured her first gold medal in the 4×200 as the team, with Hamre running the anchor, edged La Conner to take first place. The Tigers final time was 1 minute, 46.33 seconds. La Conner finished the race in 1:46.99.
After that no one could catch her.
She won the 100 in 12.78 seconds, the 200 in 26.09 and the 400 in 58.65.
Hamre becomes just the sixth athlete to sweep all three sprints at the 2B state meet, joining Toutle Lake’s Katrina Berry (1985), Waterville-Mansfield’s Trisha Stoddard (1989), Mount Vernon Christian’s Jamie Orange (2003), Tacoma Baptist’s Amber Finley (2008) and Adna’s Regyn Gaffney, who accomplished the feat three consecutive years (2013-2015) during her star-studded high school career.
Olson, a sophomore, joined Hamre as a multiple champion after winning the girls’ triple jump title. Fouling on her first attempt, Olson got stronger with each jump, clearing 35 feet, 6 1/2 inches on her final go to better runner-up Heidi Sowers for Northwest Christian (Lacey) by nearly an inch.
Olson would also fifth in the 300 hurdles.
It had been 36 years since Napavine last won a boys’ title in the 100, but Locke ended the drought following his narrow victory over Okanogan’s Greyson Fields. Locke stopped the clock in 11.40 seconds to join Ryan Thomson, who won the 1A boys’ 100 in 1980, as the only Tigers to win a state championship in the event.
Napavine’s Chase Van Wyck, the school’s record holder in the shot put, finished third (52-00) in the event for a second consecutive year. The senior won the 2014 state title. Van Wyck also finished fifth in the discus, while teammate Jacob Johnston took fourth in the event.
The Tigers also received state placings in the javelin from Noah Lantz (boys, fifth) and Karley Bornstein (girls, third).
Pe Ell’s Schulz closed out his high school career by placing in four events. In addition to wining the state title in the long jump with a personal record (PR) of 23-08, Schulz, whose freshman brother, Andrew, picked up fifth place in the long jump, also finished second in the triple jump, third in the 100 and fifth in the 200.
Pe Ell also received a second place in the boys’ 300 hurdles, a third place in the 110 hurdles and fifth place in the triple jump from junior Tyler Justice.
Additional local 2B state placing athletes include Toledo’s Josie Bowen (fifth, girls shot) and Joe Wallace (fifth, boys high jump); Morton’s Zach Elswick (second, boys long jump and fourth, triple jump) and Kenzie Anderson (fourth, girls 800 and fifth, long jump); Winlock’s Jessica Neal (fifth, girls high jump) and Mossyrock’s Jess White (fifth, boys 400) and Levi Munoz (third, boys long jump).
At the 2A state meet, W.F. West’s J.P. Guyer finished 10th in the boys’ 3200 with a time of 9:49.84, while teammate Kendra Bottenberg placed seventh in the girls’ discus (116-00). Centralia’s Kaitlynn Johns posted a ninth-place finish in the girls’ discus (107-06).