King’s Smith wins two state championships | Track and field

Two Knights relays also finish first at 1A meet
By David Pan | May 30, 2019 Edmonds Beacon
King’s junior Naomi Smith captured the 1,600- and 3,200-meter titles at the 1A state track and field championships.
At the start of the track and field season, King’s Naomi Smith wasn’t really thinking about winning state titles.
The junior standout, who placed first at last fall’s state cross country meet, was more concerned about getting healthy.
Smith missed the Knights’ first two meets because of Illiotibal (IT) Band Syndrome, an overuse injury that causes pain in the knee and leg.
“I was not sure I was going to run at state,” Smith said.
But with a lot of help from her doctor and physical therapist, Smith recovered and finished out a memorable junior season by adding two more state titles to her already impressive running resume.
Smith outkicked Bear Creek’s Olivia Markezich to win the 1,600-meter race Thursday, May 23, at Eastern Washington University in Cheney. Two days later, Smith cruised to an easy victory in the 3,200, finishing more than 30 seconds ahead of Bear Creek’s Andrea Markezich.
“This whole season I’m so grateful,” Smith said. “Every PR. Every single accomplishment felt like just a gift. I’m so thankful for my coaches and my teammates. I didn’t know if I would be able to run. I’m just so thankful. It was better than I expected.”
A week earlier at the Bi-District meet, Olivia Markezich edged Smith by less than a second in the 1,600 by outkicking her in the final stretch.
After talking strategy with her coaches, Smith decided that she needed to start her kick earlier at the state championships. Instead of waiting to the final 250 or 300 meters, Smith started her sprint to the finish line with about 500 meters to go. The strategy paid off as Smith won the race in 5 minutes, .04 seconds. Olivia Markezich finished second in 5:04.18.
“It worked out,” Smith said. “It was important to get that gap.”
Smith then turned her attention to her favorite of the two races – the 3,200 and went into Saturday’s finals with confidence.
“It was a battle to stay focused and stay on your pace,” she said. “I really enjoyed that race.
The King’s standout placed first in 10:35.35, while Andrea Markezich took second in 11:05.97.
Smith said that having to overcome her injury made her a better runner.
“I’ve learned a lot about running, recovery, just being an athlete and having a better training cycle,” she said. “I definitely think that I had good training partners with some teammates – Anthony Hart and Nick LeBar. They were able to push me. That helps a lot.”
Smith plans to take some time off and then resume training for her senior season. Her goal is to stay healthy.
“I’d like to have a season that goes well,” Smith said.
As a team, the King’s girls team took second at the state cross country meet and finished third at the state track and field championships.
“Being a leader, I want to try to push everyone to be their best and just see what we can accomplish as a team as well,” Smith said.
RELAY WINNERS: The King’s boys and girls track and field teams both had relays that won state titles. The Knights’ 1,600 boys relay team of Michael Gabelein, Pierce Papke, Cooper Rolfs and Lincoln Going finished first in 3:28.69 just ahead of Columbia (White Salmon), which clocked in at 3:28.97. King’s 1,600 girls relay squad of Hannah Hawkins, Emma Culberson, Kat Kirkpatrick and Maci Hodgins won in 4:04.20 with Cascade (Leavenworth) placing second in 4:06.03.
Papke took second in the boys 300 hurdles and Anthony Hart finished fourth in the 3,200 and eighth in the 1,600. Nick LeBar place seventh in the 1,600. Culberson took fourth in the girls 100 hurdles and was seventh in the 300 hurdles. Hodgins finished fourth in the pole vault and Hawkins took sixth in the 400. The 400 relay team of Hawkins, Hodgins, Hannah Carrithers and Kirkpatrick took second.