(Writer’s Note: Welcome to the Inside Lane, our newest weekly blog entry aimed at spotlighting people and news from the high school track and field scene. We’ll take you right up to Star Track, scheduled for May 22-24 at Mount Tahoma High in Tacoma, point out recruits as best we can, and keep you posted on upcoming big meets. Enjoy!)
By Doug Drowley
Special to The Seattle Times
That first letter changed everything.
“Back in middle school, I was really into football and wrestling,” Enumclaw junior K.C. Moulden said. “I wanted to do track to stay in shape.”
Instead of the track, though, a coach saw something in Moulden and recruited the eighth-grader onto the field. More specifically, Moulden started throwing – both the shot put and discus.
Two springs later, Moulden placed second in 3A at Star Track in the shot. She threw 42 feet, 5½ inches to place less than an inch behind North Central junior Sabrina Keys.
“It was so horrible because it was such a close finish,” Moulden said of that competition. “That was the first time I’d competed against her (Keys). She told me she was going to camps, and that she was going to work hard that summer.”
That simple statement motivated Moulden, for sure.
It just didn’t have the same effect as the letter that arrived a couple of weeks later. That letter turned out to be Moulden’s first recruiting letter – and it came from UCLA.
“I never realized how much track can do for me until going into summer break,” Moulden said. “Track is what is going to get me to college. Maybe I can get my dream job.”
That job, by the way, would be as a livestock veterinarian.
Where Moulden will study to realize that dream, she doesn’t know. But she has time.
Just a junior for the Hornets, Moulden still has things to accomplish in high school.
For instance, she was fourth in the discus at state last May, throwing a 123-9. On Wednesday, at Enumclaw’s first meet of the year against Decatur, Moulden eclipsed that mark with a personal best of 125-6. According to the reported results at athletic.net, Moulden currently has the best shot mark of the spring – a 42-1½.
She’d like to throw over 45 feet by the end of the season, she says. And to date, she’s accomplished all of these feats despite still learning how to throw the shot and discus.
“I actually get laughed at,” Moulden said. “Honestly, I have no technique and I can still throw it. So if I get my technique down, it could be amazing.”
Moulden constantly is working toward the goal of better technique in the throws. Her technique on a wrestling mat – that’s more polished.
Moulden defended her 235-pound state championship at Mat Classic just six weeks ago. And she still has another goal for that sport.
“I want to be a three-time state champion,” she said.
But when it comes to her future, Moulden knows it lies in track and field.
“It turned into this,” said Moulden, whose gotten several more letters since that first correspondence from UCLA. “It’s my main sport now.”
Parlaying his success
Gifton Okoronkwo may have surprised a few people last May when he jumped 46-7.25 to win the 3A state title in the triple jump. He was a senior for Mountlake Terrace, and that first jump at Star Track at Mount Tahoma High in Tacoma set a new school record.
As it turns out, the state title may have been just an opening act for Okoronkwo.
The Portland State freshman recently won the Big Sky Indoor triple jump championship for the Vikings. Okoronkwo went 48-5.5 for the victory.
“To go 48-plus as a freshman is phenomenal,” Mountlake Terrace coach Russ Vincent said. “So he’s already doing very well.”
Bethel loses an icon in MacDonald
Robert “Mike” MacDonald was a fixture in the Bethel School District for nearly 50 years. He started teaching in the south Sound district in 1965.
This week, MacDonald was set to get another track and field season started at Bethel Middle School.
That changed last Saturday when MacDonald was killed in a car accident near Eatonville. He was 72.
MacDonald coached track at Bethel High and Bethel Middle School, as well as several other sports, over his five decades of service.
Phillip Villanueva, who graduated from Bethel High in 2007, told The News Tribune’s Debbie Cafazzo that he remembered MacDonald as a track coach who emphasized working hard at something you love.
“He taught me to work hard, have fun and enjoy what I was doing,” Villanueva told the Tribune. Villanueva placed at state competitions as a Bethel senior and went on to run track and earn a bachelor’s degree at Western Washington University. “I owe a lot of my success to him.”
Invitationals of Note
The sum total of Invitational meets in the state are far too numerous to mention and discuss, but there are a few we wanted to be sure folks are aware of prior to league and district meets that start the week of May 6.
April 12 – Tacoma Invitational (Lincoln Bowl). 34 teams. Ballard, Mountlake Terrace, Bainbridge and King’s join a predominantly south Sound field.
April 19 – Pasco Invitational (Pasco). 104 teams. This is one of the most iconic of each spring’s meets, with teams from all over the state descending on the Tri-Cities area. Schools from 4A down to B compete.
April 19 – Larry Eason Invitational (Snohomish High). 41 teams. This marks the 26th year for the Eason Invite. Issaquah, Skyline, O’Dea, Holy Names and Archbishop Murphy join most of the Wesco schools and others.
May 3 – Shelton Invitational (Shelton). 74 teams. It’s the 54th year for Shelton, another iconic meet. Teams from every classification compete here, as well.
May 3 – Lake Washington Invitational (LWHS, Kirkland). 65 teams. Another long-running meet, shares this weekend with Shelton to bring 140 total schools into competition.
Who’s going where?
BYU – Ellie Heiden, Kamiakin
Know an athlete committed to college for track and field? Email Doug Drowley at email@example.com.