State girls 3A track and field championships - McRitchie secures pole-vault title

Briefly, at least, Mother Nature took over as the nemesis to Ella McRitchie’s pursuit of a WIAA state championship.

Just minutes after McRitchie took her first attempt of the 3A girls pole vault competition on Friday morning at Mount Tahoma High, easily clearing 12 feet, 6 inches to take the lead in the event, a light drizzle turned into hard enough rain to close the vaulting pit temporarily.

Some 45 minutes later, after the hardest rain of the day subsided, the only two remaining competitors – McRitchie and Shorewood’s Ava Enriquez – got back to the competition.

In the end, the Bainbridge senior finally stood atop the podium at the state meet with a vault of 14-3, a personal best. Enriquez cleared 12-6 to take second. McRitchie immediately had the bar raised to 14-8 in an attempt to set a new state meet record but she missed three times.

“It was really fun,” McRitchie said. “I was really excited to get back to it this season after kind of a rough start. It was really nice to be able show what I’ve been working on in state and do it with all my friends.”

The road to get to the title had its twists and turns for McRitchie. Her freshman season was robbed by Covid-19. As a sophomore, she finished third in the state behind Amanda and Hana Moll of Capital, both of whom now vault for the University of Washington.

Amanda Moll set the state record during that 2022 meet at 14-6. Hana Moll reset the record a year ago at 14-7, with Amanda finishing second. While she qualified to be in the field, McRitchie did not compete as a junior due to an injury she sustained just a few days before the meet last May.

“I ended up spraining my ankle a few days before the state meet last year,” McRitchie said. “And I didn’t get to compete. I couldn’t get my shoe on.”

Just weeks later, all healed up, McRitchie vaulted a then-personal record 14-2 at the Nike Outdoor Nationals.

Then on Friday morning, the rain delayed her just after she’d started. The weather, though, couldn’t stop McRitchie like the pandemic, the Molls and the injury did and she finally got to step to the top of the podium

“I’ve wanted to do that for a while now,” said McRitchie, who next year will be studying bio-chemistry and vaulting for Harvard in the Ivy League. “It’s great. I’m really excited.”

McRitchie wasn’t the only West Central District girls athlete who won a 3A or 2A state title on Friday.

Adrianna Tupolo threw the discus 121 feet, five inches to win the 2A title over R.A. Long’s Kamia Tootoosis-Didier (119-7).

“I’m pretty sure I’m like the first state champ since 2013 for North Mason,” Tupolo said. “So I’m pretty excited.”

Tupolo improved from an eighth-place finish in the event just a year ago.

“I just put in a lot more reps, imagining myself in the rain,” Tupolo said. “I just do what I do. It means a lot.”

In the 2A 100 hurdles, Foster’s Rochelle Jeffries went 15.29 seconds to beat White River’s Trista Turgeon (15.72). The pair were just two-one hundredths apart (15.40-15.42) after the prelims. Meanwhile, in 3A Savannah Hinton of Silas (15.72) finished second in the 100 hurdles to Mercer Island’s Eloise Newman (15.45).

And finally, Peninsula’s Emma Young tied for third, just two inches behind winner Maya Velasquez of Marysville-Pilchuck in the 3A high jump (5-4).