‘Get the next one’: Puyallup’s Justin Temple Jr. claims 4A boys triple jump title

Adjacent to the scoreboard displaying his winning mark of 45-5.5, Justin Temple Jr. posed for photos with coaches, then family. Swarmed by supporters, the state’s top seed entering Saturday’s 4A boys triple jump lived up to the lofty billing and officially had his title.

The winning margin was well too close for comfort – Mariner’s Stephen Anderson came one-quarter of an inch shy, at 45-5.25 – but Temple Jr. outlasted the field for the gold medal at Mount Tahoma Stadium in Tacoma. Puyallup’s junior jumper added 10 points to the Vikings team score, helping lift them to a third-place overall finish at the WIAA state track and field championships.

“It made it so much better, (having) fans to support me,” Temple Jr. told The News Tribune. “I go over (to them) after a bad jump, and they’re all, ‘Let’s get the next one.’ It makes me feel better.”

“I was coming in as the number-one (seed), so I was thinking, I’m going to win state. I had no other thoughts on my mind other than, ‘I’m going to win state.’”

Temple Jr. aimed for the 46-foot mark, but considerable headwinds again made personal or state meet records tough to attain.

“I jump… and feel (the wind) start to push me,” he said. “I’ve got to run a little harder, and when I get in the air, then it starts slowing me down in the air. It plays a big role.”

Anderson was the brief leader after his third and best jump, but Temple Jr. won the event with his third of six tries and the field failed to catch him.

“I’m super proud of (Stephen),” Temple Jr. said. He jumped really (well).

“(Winning) feels great. I didn’t really put up what I wanted to put up, I wanted 46 (feet), but with a 3.0 headwind? I did what I wanted to do.”

Temple Jr.’s Puyallup teammate, Noah Balzarini, tacked on extra hardware. The Vikings junior seized a third-place finish in Saturday’s 4A boys 300-meter hurdles (39.26), behind Eastlake champion Matthew Secrist. That finish added six points to Puyallup’s total.

And it was another event ravaged by wind.

“During indoor season, I got a lot faster,” Balzarini said. “Last year, I was running 39 (seconds), this year I was 38 all season. I feel like I’ve improved a lot.”


Competitors know Nikko Alexander by his full name, but those at Gonzaga Prep High School know the junior runner as “Lightning.”

A fitting nickname born when he broke his school’s 200-meter record, Alexander lived up to it Saturday. Wearing a lightning-bolt necklace, he dashed to victory in the 4A boys 400 meters (48.89 seconds), besting runner-ups Kajon Babcock (Emerald Ridge) and Cameron Trichel (Newport of Bellevue) by less than one second.

“I wanted to do this forever,” Alexander said. “I came here last year and didn’t do what I needed to do. I’m excited to win the 400 for my team and my family. Just really excited.”

It was anyone’s race until Alexander turned on the jets in the final 100 meters.

What flashed through his mind?

“I’m not going to lose,” he recalled. “I’m this close to winning. I had to go through it no matter what. Through the pain, through everything.”

Alexander’s 48.89-second title dash marked a personal record, he said, even on a windy afternoon that caused fits meet-wide.

It arrived at the perfect time.

“That just shows what state does to people,” Alexander said. “It makes people want it way more.”


Tahoma’s Cooper Boyle finished runner-up in the 4A boys 3200-meter dash (9:08.36), a close second to Redmond’s Zachary Leader (9:06.80).

Olympia’s Cameron Downing grabbed a third-place finish in the 4A boys javelin (183-5). The program’s 4x400 relay was the runner-up among 4A boys (3:21.69).

Federal Way’s Geron White, Friday’s 4A high jump champion, finished third in the triple jump (44-1).

Emerald Ridge’s Benjamin Sauer (1:56.49) won the bronze medal with a third-place finish in the 4A boys 800-meter run.

Kentridge junior Jordan Miller (11.24) finished sixth in the 4A boys 100-meter dash, behind Skyline champion Cameron Weir (11.00).



Eastlake (46)


Mead (62)


Anacortes (65)

Columbia River (65)