Bothell High track and field head coach Shelby Schenck took a quick break from a recent workout with his athletes and smiled while gathering four of his hard-working seniors who are a big part of the successful program. At press time, the boys and girls Cougars had amassed identical 3-0 records in 4A KingCo and 4-0 overall marks.
Liza Yusem, Samantha Crumbaugh, Mason Locknane and Jackson Milner have unleashed their running and jumping abilities for the past four years and will be finishing their Cougar careers in the next month.
The foursome finds the Bothell track to be an ideal place to spend their afternoons.
“I’m just not taking anything for granted, I’m just enjoying every moment. I love how social track is. Not only are you out here pushing it, but you’re pushing it with your best friends,” said Locknane, who runs the 200, 400 and 4×400 relay.
The relay, which also features Gage Herriott, Garrett Lowe and Cooper Hayes, stood first in 4A KingCo and District 2 at press time with a 3:31.08 mark. Locknane’s personal records in the 200 and 400 are 23.99 and 52.52, respectively.
Locknane releases his competitive fire on the track and likes both the individual races and the challenge of the relay, where everyone’s cheering and teammates are depending on each other during the last race of the meet.
Sticking with the 4×400 relay, this time on the girls’ side, Yusem joins Devon Lipkin, Kerstin Ly and Estera Levinte as part of 4A KingCo and District 2’s top team with a mark of 4:08.74. Yusem holds the sixth-place spot in the 4A KingCo 800 at 2:24.23, and she also runs the 1,600.
Yusem qualified for state in cross country last fall and hopes the relay can reach the promised land of state next month.
“We’re gonna have to work on having really good transitions from one runner to the next and just kind of be efficient, especially in the last 100 to 200 meters of the race,” said Yusem, adding about what it takes to succeed on the individual front: “I think that you have to stay focused because it’s really easy to get psyched out when there’s really good competition. You just have to keep your head in the game and just give it all you’ve got.”
Over at the hurdles, Milner specializes in the 110 and 300 races. He’s ranked fifth in 4A KingCo in the 110 with a PR of 16.07 and holds a PR of 42.84 in the 300. He also high jumps and has reached his highest point of 5-4.
Milner follows in his mom’s footsteps by competing in track and field.
On the hurdles, he noted: “You have to get in the mentality that you’re running a race, not just jumping over an obstacle every few steps.”
He hopes to qualify for state in the 110 and gave some insight into what it will take to achieve that goal: “I just gotta focus on staying healthy and trying to PR every week or at least improve my form.”
Long-distance runner Crumbaugh started taking track seriously when she hit the high-school scene and has notched PRs in the 1,600 (5:52.15) and 3,200 (13:30.73).
“It’s really all about the pacing. What I think about is picking off the next runners in front of me and just kind of trying to get up with someone that’s a good speed,” said Crumbaugh, adding that she enjoys the team atmosphere and putting in the effort during training, which often includes 10-mile runs.
“You have to have drive and you have to be motivated ‘cause long distance is a really hard distance to be doing,” she said.
The Reporter asked Yusem, Crumbaugh, Locknane and Milner a series of questions to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into their lives:
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Yusem: Just to give it my all. I’ve heard it from my coaches throughout high school — as long as you’re always giving your best effort, then that’s all that counts.
Crumbaugh: A while ago, Shelby told us, don’t let the bad races get you down, don’t be upset about it, you can use it as a lesson and just learn from it and do better next time.
Locknane: What you put into something, you get out. If you don’t put in the work, you’re not gonna get the results.
Milner: Never give up. Sometimes during a race, you fall behind or you make a mistake and you kind of just wanna give in, but you just gotta finish it.
If you could go to dinner with one person, who would that be?
Yusem: Nathan Adrian, he’s my favorite Olympic swimmer.
Crumbaugh: Desi Linden ‘cause she’s a really good marathoner.
Locknane: Taylor Swift. She’s pretty and she’s also worth like 250 million dollars — she probably could cover the dinner expenses.
Milner: Sommer Ray. She’s just a beautiful girl, she’s my favorite Instagram model.
If you could have any super power, what would that be?
Yusem: Freeze time. So that way, I could get my homework done and still be able to get enough sleep to recover every night.
Crumbaugh: To travel back in time, ‘cause I think it would be cool to go back and just see cool events.
Locknane: Super speed, ‘cause then track’s pretty dang easy.
Milner: I’d like the power of flight, ‘cause then I could just go on vacation whenever.