TACOMA - Sunnyside High School senior Miguel Guzman wowed the field at the 3A State track meet in Tacoma last Saturday by earning third place honors in the javelin with an eye-popping mark of 179 feet.
It was a whopping 31 feet better than his mark at last year's State meet, when he placed 15th.
"He broke his PR by 11 feet," said Coach Darren Mezger. "All his mechanics came together on one throw: speed, power, he caught it at just the right time. He was mentally prepared and stepped up for us big time."
Guzman's success at State this year earned the Grizzlies six team points for 30th place overall in the team standings. Bellevue claimed the State 3A boys title with 65 points.
It was the best showing at State for Sunnyside's boys in more than a decade.
The top eight finishers in each event medaled and claimed team points for their respective schools.
Guzman was the only one of the four Grizzly athletes at State to medal. However, Guzman was almost joined on the medal stand in the javelin by teammate Eric Amaro.
Amaro and Guzman went one-two respectively in the Regional javelin competition a week earlier, and Amaro, a junior, just missed out of the medals at State this year with a ninth place mark of 166-11.
Mountlake Terrace's Beau Kennedy earned the final spot on the trophy stand with a javelin throw of 168-1 for eighth place honors. "It was heartbreaking, but Eric's going to have a monster year next year," said Mezger.
Though he missed out on a medal, Amaro also showed marked improvement over his State appearance a year ago, when he was 12th at 158-3.
A third Sunnyside athlete, Elijah Pena, recorded a time of 15.82 in the 110 hurdles at State last Saturday. That mark earned the sophomore a 12th place finish. "Elijah missed a medal by two-thousands of a second," said Mezger.
The fourth Grizzly competing at State this year was Eduardo Salmeron in the triple jump. Salmeron, a junior, leaped to a mark of 40-11 last Saturday to finish in 13th place.
Competing in a tightly competitive field, Salmeron overcame a knee injury to just miss an eighth place medal by less than 18 inches, as O'Dea's Johntye Jackson claimed the final podium berth at 42-3.
The overall team effort of the four SHS boys on Saturday secured the Sunnyside squad its most team points at State since at least 1999.
"The crazy thing is we'll score even more next year," says Mezger. "We've got three boys coming back next year who can medal at State. All three of those kids can do some serious damage for us points-wise next year. It's going to be an exciting year for us."