When a person sets a career-best personal record in state competition, that athlete has given his or her all. They have ended the season with their supreme effort, leaving nothing to fate. They have created their own destiny.
Adam Collins and Kaitlin Krouse each established new personal records last weekend at the Washington State 1A Track and Field Championships on the campus of Eastern Washington University.
The two returned home bedecked with state medals after placing in every event in which they were entered. Collins brought home three medals. Krouse came back with two.
Collins set two personal records on his way to earning a state medal in every event in which he competed in Cheney. The Cougar senior not only achieved a personal-best height of 6 feet, 4 inches, in the high jump, but he also established a new Jenkins High School record.
When the bar was raised to 6’4″, only three of the original 16 athletes were still in the competition. All others had left at 6’0″ or lower. Collins, along with Cole Smith from Hoquiam and Daniel Norwitz from the Seattle Academy were the only survivors. All three made it over the bar at 6’4″, and Smith went on to be the lone jumper to clear 6’8″.
Since Collins cleared 6’4″ before Norwitz, he became the recipient of the second place medal. Norwitz placed third.
“Adam has been having ankle problems,” said Coach Anthony Yeaw, “and it was bothering him on Saturday, so we had it taped. He was also a little worried about what height he should start and decided to begin at 5’8”, which he made easily.
“Adam missed twice at 6’0″ and at 6’2″ before making those heights on his third attempt. Then, he and the remaining two jumpers all made 6’4″. The bar was raised to 6’5″, and Adam missed all three attempts, but he placed second with a new school record. A coach can’t ask for more than that.”
Collins also had a personal-best performance in the triple jump. He earned a second place state medal with a distance of 43 feet, 1.25 inches.
“Adam freaked us out right away on Friday,” said Coach Yeaw. “Usually, he takes eight steps with his right foot on his approach to the pit. But, for some reason, he was taking 10 steps and he scratched on his first jump. On his next attempt, he jumped off the wrong board and scratched again. It was a 44-foot jump, but he scratched it. So, he had only one more try and he jumped 42’11”. That got him into the finals, where he jumped 43′ 2.25″ for second place. He achieved his goal of jumping over 43 feet.”
His third medal at the state championships came in the long jump, where he placed fifth with a leap of 20 feet, 2.25 inches. So, he went three-for-three on the awards stand.
“Because of his sore ankle, Adam was not able to perform at his best in the long jump,” explained Yeaw. “He twisted his ankle on his very first jump, but it was measured at 20’2.25″. That one jump was good enough for a fifth place medal.”
All by himself, Collins earned 19.5 team points. That was good enough to place 13th in the final team standings out of the 42 schools that scored points.
Krouse was entered in two state events and has a pair of medals to prove it. She threw a personal-best 35 feet, 10 inches, in the shot put competition to place eighth. She then cranked a throw of 23 feet in the discus, setting a personal-best distance. The throw was good enough for a second place medal.
“In the discus, I had the 123-foot throw in the finals,” said Krouse. “It was my second throw in the finals. I scratched my first throw, and then threw the 123 feet. My best throw in the preliminaries was over 122 feet, so I was really consistent.
Coach Yeaw was pleased with her performance.
“Kaitlin had four throws over 120 feet,” he said. “Her final throw was a personal record. It was great to see that big smile on her face!”
Krouse went on to set a career-best distance in the shot put.
“I threw the 35-foot, 10-inch PR (personal record) on my very last throw of the finals in the shot put. I beat the eighth place girl by only a half-inch, so I took the medal away from her.”
Thus, Krouse made two appearances on the state awards stand as a sophomore. She earned seven team points all by herself. She now has two more years to add to her medal collection.
“I would really like to thank our coaches,” said Krouse, “and especially Greg Rainer. He’s the reason I’m throwing so well.”
By Geno Ludwig, The Independent Staff
In This Photo: Adam Collins medaled in three events at the State 1A Track and Field Championships while Kaitlin Krouse medaled in two. Pictured (l-r) are volunteer coach Greg Rainer, Krouse, Collins, and Coach Anthony Yeaw. Dan Krouse photo