When the state championship banner was passed their way, the Bothell High boys’ eyes lit up like wildfire.
When a few of the guys raised it with their hands gripping the edges at a school ceremony on June 7, you didn’t think they’d ever let go.
Led by Da’Vicious Wilson’s first-place long jump of 23 feet, 7.75 inches, Bothell’s boys track and field team tied for first place at the 4A state meet on May 24-26 at Mount Tahoma High in Tacoma.
Bothell, Camas, Chiawana and Issaquah all amassed 37 points, sharing the title amongst the four programs.
Stellar performances for Bothell were from Matthew Howard (second in the 300 hurdles in 38.60), the 4×400 relay of Ryder Locknane, Ryan Witters, Brandon Simmons and Howard (second in 3:23.39), Dylan Singh (fifth in the javelin in 172-04) and Wilson, who also took fourth in the 110 hurdles in 14.85 and seventh in the triple jump in 44-06.
Wilson scored 17 of those teams points on his own, many of them on that school-record long jump. He admitted that at the beginning of the season, he didn’t expect to do so well.
“It was really heartwarming and cool to know that I’m a state champion,” he said. “I’ve never expected it, my coaches always expected it ‘cause they’re supposed to. So when it happened, I just didn’t really know what to do, I just was super hyped.”
The Cougar’s goal was to knock out a stellar jump in the first flight and put pressure on those in the second flight to try and top his mark. Mission: accomplished.
Notching the state title came down to the final race of the night — the 4×400 relay — and the Cougars rose to the occasion.
“Going into prelims, we were seeded seventh, and then we ended up getting fourth, and we’re like, ‘Oh, we got this. We just gotta put our foot to the ground and go — give it all we got,’” Simmons said. “Since it was our last race, we left everything out there and that got us second.”
Locknane said it was the relay’s group drive that placed the Cougars in the second-place spot. They had a goal in mind throughout the season to achieve a state title in the relay and that motivated them under the state spotlight.
“We thought that by coming together, being a close group of guys and just having the depth that we did to be able to interchange multiple people in the relay, everything just worked out great. We’re really proud of our accomplishment,” Locknane said.
Along with participating in the relay, Howard racked up a school record in the 300 hurdles. He was seeded 10th entering the state meet and notched a solid time in prelims to set him up for the final.
“I got to the finals on Saturday knowing that I had to show out if I wanted the team to be in contention for the state title,” he said. “I got a really good lane placement, I got to chase the fastest kid in my heat, which was really nice, that helps a lot.”
As Howard cleared each hurdle, he pushed himself harder to the finish line.
“Coming down, I think the second to last hurdle, is when I kind of separated myself from the rest of the pack into second place,” he said. “I was A, not expecting it, and B, when that happened, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m about to be second in state.’ I was super excited.”
Relayer Witters recalled his freshman year on track and field and watching the seniors score 10 points at state. He thought it would be an impossible feat to beat that total as his sophomore and junior years passed.
“When we started the year in the first practice, I saw all the depth of guys that we had,” he said of the 100-, 200- and 400-meter runs and the hurdles this year. “I just knew that this year would be something special.”
As everyone picked up points along the way at state, the Cougars inched closer to the title.
“It was kind of shocking when we (stood) up on that podium, and just looking around at everybody. I could still relive it, see every color, it’s awesome,” Witters said.
Completing the Bothell team are: Alex Ballard, Cameron Bellusci, Jace Boileau, Keaton Cox, Vikram Gill, Cooper Hayes, Orrin Harbol, Walker Hardan, Nolan Hendrickson, Gage Herriott, Gabe Johnson, Dylan Lennon, Caleb Lind, Mason Locknane, Jackson Milner, Andrew Nguyen, Brandon Schenck, Tyler Schenck, Dane Siegelman, Andrew Sirmon, Enoch Stevens, Jonathan Suh, Sean Witters and Jorge Zuniga.