By Doug Drowley
Special to The Seattle Times
Hale basks in rare Metro title
Cary Stidham saw the possibility coming a year ago.
The Nathan Hale boys track coach took a junior-heavy team into the 2013 post-season with a chance to end O’Dea’s Metro League championship run. It didn’t happen.
But Hale did finish a close second as the Irish won its 18th consecutive Metro League track championship.
With the likes of Max Leach, bound for the University of California; Andrew Foerder, off to Brown; and Aedan Roberts, who will attend Amherst next year; all returning for their senior seasons, Stidham knew there was another chance in 2014.
“We had our goals at the beginning of the year – to win the Metro and finish as high as we can at state,” Stidham said.
The Raiders took care of that first goal a week ago.
Nathan Hale had a huge first day of competition at the Metro Championships and ran away from the field to win its first league boys track championship in 40 years, and just its second title in the school’s history. The Raiders last won it in 1974.
“I think (O’Dea’s) streak was the longest in any sport in Metro history,” Stidham said. “The Metro is an interesting league. The private schools seem to win almost everything. It’s nice to be a public school that wins a title.”
Stidham hopes his team isn’t done.
Heading into Day 2 of the Sea-King District meet on Friday at Southwest Athletic Complex in Seattle, Hale had amassed 65 first-day points again to lead the boy’s field over Mount Si and Bishop Blanchet at 23 points. Two-time defending 3A state titlist Bellevue was fourth at 18 points.
Most of the running event finals and half the field events were yet to come, of course. But, if Nathan Hale were to win, it would be its first-ever district championship.
“This team has been good and they have big goals going forward,” Stidham said just before Day 2 of the district meet. “Hopefully we can get this one, then move on to state.”
Having beaten O’Dea at the Metro meet, the Raiders would also have beaten the Irish and powerhouse Bellevue if they win districts.
“Take ‘em down one by one,” Stidham said, smiling. “But no, John (Hill, Bellevue’s coach) obviously has got a great program. We try to emulate that.”
More than winning the team title, advancing runners to the 3A state meet May 29-31 at Mount Tahoma High by finishing in the Top 5 of events at SWAC is the priority.
“It’s a step-by-step process,” Stidham said. “Once you get to state, there are only 16 competitors in each event and eight of them score points.”
And every point matters when your team has big goals.
Bellusci, Bothell relay overcomes to succeed
Katie Bellusci could have been happy simply to be competing.
Last August, the Bothell senior received a sobering health diagnosis – systemic lupus and lupus nephritis.
“This disease put me in kidney failure, debilitating joint pain, and fluid surrounding my heart with a treatment plan of six months of chemotherapy,” Bellusci wrote in an email to the Times.
Bellusci also had to take high doses of steroids and oral chemo. She only recently completed her last dose of chemotherapy.
The simple fact that Bellusci managed to compete on the Braves track team this spring could have been an ultimate victory. That she happens to run the kickoff leg on Bothell’s 4×100 relay team, a squad that until last week had the fastest time in the state in the event at 47.84 seconds (it’s still second to Federal Way) says more.
“Being a part of Bothell track since my sophomore year, I had always dreamed of a state medal along with these girls,” Bellusci continued. “My doctors warned me that I may never be able to run again due to the extreme joint pain from this disease. Despite what doctors said and my long, intensive treatment plan, I made the choice to continue track after support and encouragement from my coaches, teammates and even doctors.
“I have been running faster than I ever have before. Our relay team has broken numerous school and meet records this season.”
Bellusci wrote that she wanted to share her story for a couple of reasons. One, Bellusci wanted to spotlight “how great of a program Bothell track” has with its coaching staff. But also, Bellusci wrote, she wanted to “show children that, despite hard times, people are given an opportunity to grow.”
“I truly believe there is a unique charisma between us four girls for the relay team and such a compelling story behind this that people would be inspired by the positive attitude Bothell track has,” Bellusci wrote. “If it wasn’t for the support from my coaches, teammates, family, and doctors at Seattle Children’s (Hospital) I don’t think I would have been running. I want to share my story to be an advocate for other children, as well.”
More from the Metro
Ingraham sprinter Jacob Hostetler enjoyed his 2014 Metro Championships. Hostetler completed difficult triple-win in the 100-, 200- and 400-meters races.
Who’s going where?
Amherst – Aedan Roberts, Nathan Hale
BYU – Ellie Heiden, Kamiakin
Brown – Andrew Foerder, Nathan Hale
California – Max Leach, Nathan Hale
Cal Poly – Devon Grove, Lake Washington
UCSD – Aubrey Ward-El, Skyview
CWU – Rachel Greve, Auburn Mountainview
Citadel – Elizabeth Webster, Bishop Blanchet
Connecticut College – Grace Sheeran, Bellevue
Gonzaga – Jack Pearce, Mountlake Terrace
Harvard – Floriane Kameni, Bellevue
Hawaii (Manoa) – Karen Bulger, Olympia
Idaho – Brock Eager, Tahoma
Kansas – Dorie Dalzell, Skyline; Olivia Vincent, Holy Names
Loyola Marymount – Chris Fredlund, Squalicum
Mississippi – Brooke Feldmeier, Tumwater
Montana – Jenna Dukovcic, Mark Morris; Caleb Lyons, Lakes
North Carolina – Logan Carroll, Gig Harbor
Notre Dame – Alex Daugherty, Skyline
Oklahoma – Hannah Cunliffe, Federal Way
Oregon State – Nicole Goecke, Prairie
Pacific – Stephenie Spencer, Bothell
Portland – Logan Orndorf, Cedarcrest
Princeton – Wolfgang Beck, Gig Harbor; Lane Russell, Tumwater
San Francisco – Quentin Purtzer, Bellarmine Prep
Seattle – Jason Cowan, Kennedy Catholic
Seattle Pacific – Sophie Carroll, Central Kitsap
Stanford – Isaiah Brandt-Sims, Wenatchee
Texas – ShaRaya Quinn, Emerald Ridge
Warner Pacific – Kiaya Van Scoyoc, Lakes
Washington U. (St. Louis) – Audrey Western, University
Washington – Megan Beauchene, Kamiakin; Rose Christen, Central Kitsap; Hannah Derby, Bellarmine Prep; Lyndsay Leatherman, Arlington; Denham Patricelli, Tahoma
WSU – Jonathan Green, Ephrata; Zachary Smith, Olympic
Weber State – Emily Morgan, Columbia River
William & Mary – Jaren Sinsheimer, Bellarmine Prep
William Jewell – Elizabeth Stevenson, Port Angeles
Wisconsin – Joe Hardy, Seattle Prep; Kai Wilmot, North Central
Know an athlete committed to college for track and field? Email Doug Drowley at email@example.com.