To test his limits and find out how fast he can run, Cooper Quigley needs some competition.
Fortunately for him, it’s coming soon.
For the last two months, the Selah junior has dominated his cross country and track races, starting with a 7-for-7 winning romp through a chilly cross country season in February and March.
Transitioning directly into track, Quigley has basically time-trialed at each of the three distances, including a brisk 1:56.45 in the 800 that is the best in the state.
Hoping the wind behaves in Ellensburg on Saturday, he’ll take a crack at breaking 4:20 in the 1,600 in a CWAC dual with the Bulldogs.
But the real game comes next.
With our condensed and mostly league-only seasons, it’s rare for teams and athletes to get a wider opportunity to compete. But Olympia High School is hosting a special distance event Wednesday night, featuring a boys and girls distance medley followed by two elite 3,200 races.
Olympia has a vested interest since it has the state leader in Ethan Coleman, who has run 9:01.54, but word spread fast and the field is attracting the best runners from throughout the Northwest, including Quigley.
Two years ago, Shea Mattson broke a 41-year-old school record when he ran 9:17.24 for the Vikings. He, like Quigley, was a junior that year but lost his senior track season because of the pandemic.
The book isn’t completely closed on cross country season since the coaches association staged a virtual state meet, encouraging teams to conduct 5,000-meter time trials on the track at some point over a three-week period. Selah’s boys and Ellensburg’s girls are among those who participated and compiled results are expected by the end of the month.
GRIZZLIES ON THE RISE: Huge kudos to Sunnyside’s volleyball program, which swept the CBBN awards with senior Kaycee Hazzard earning player of the year honors. Erin Koerner was named coach of the year and the team also received the sportsmanship award.
The Grizzlies finished second in the league at 7-2, a game behind West Valley, and was 9-3 overall.
What makes that historically significant is that Sunnyside has been trying for decades to gain some traction in volleyball — not easy to do in tough leagues paced by established programs loaded with club-ball players.
Even with the reduced season, Sunnyside’s seven league wins is more the previous seven seasons combined (6-76). It was a quick elevation from Koerner’s first season in 2019 when the team was 0-12.
The Grizzlies will graduate Hazzard, the program’s first-ever player of the year, but they will return three first-team all-leaguers in Alyna Ramirez, Jansyn Carrizales and Mackenzie Chambers.
Hazzard is part of a promising recruiting class assembled by Yakima Valley College’s first-year coach Darci Dekker. She will join Naches Valley’s Allison Uecker, Prosser’s Grace Meirndorf, La Salle’s Courtney Standley, and Granger’s Nizhoni Tallman.
SCOTTIES A LEG UP: Highland’s boys soccer team is 5-0-1 while knocking in 35 goals, including a team-best 10 for Jose Gonzalez.
The Scotties tied Toppenish 1-1 last week and will conclude their season with a rematch at home on Wednesday.
It’s not surprising Highland, now in the EWAC, can handle itself well against SCAC teams. But with last year’s lost spring, the Scotties didn’t have much experience to lean on. Senior Jesus Silva and junior Salvador Ceja were the program’s only all-leaguers from 2019.
Silva, who has scored eight goals, showed off his leg strength in football with five field goals during the shortened six-game season. His 49-yard boot in a win over Kittitas tied for third-longest in Valley history.
HARD-HITTING SOFTBALL: Making the most of each day in these quick seasons is a must and Selah’s softball is certainly doing that.
Sydney Wells just received Class 2A girls state athlete of the week for her three-homer, 11-RBI production in a CWAC doubleheader last Saturday, the Vikings defeated rival Ellensburg 11-1 on Wednesday and they’ll face West Valley for their lone nonleague games on Friday.
The 6-0 Vikings are ranked fifth in the 2A state rankings produced this week by Scorebook Live.
Naches Valley, which is averaging nearly 14 runs a game during its 8-0 start in SCAC play, is ranked No. 4 in 1A with a 9-6, 11-10 sweep over No. 7 College Place.
Cle Elum and Granger are No. 8 and 9 in 2B but aren’t scheduled to play each other.
HONOR ROLL COMING: With our four local leagues all starting their fall seasons at different times, the stream of all-league teams as been spread out over the past few weeks and I've been posting them as they've come in.
We are hoping to have them all by next week with the fall honor roll tentatively set for Friday's edition.
AROUND THE VALLEY: West Valley track will host its annual relay meet on Saturday but befitting the times and limitations the event will have an interim title of the Not Quite Ram Relays. Just the four CBBN teams from the Yakima County will attend with events set to start at 11 a.m. ... Eisenhower will have its Holder Relays on April 24 and host seven teams. ... Former West Valley runner Brayden Packard, now a senior at American Fork in Utah, owns the nation's fifth-best 800 with his 1:51.23 on April 1.