State track and field: Gero-Holt claims hurdles title; Atkins three-peats in triple jump

Some runners, jumpers, and throwers alike channel anger before big-time performances – not JaiCieonna Gero-Holt.

The Emerald Ridge heptathlete and Olympic hopeful instead opts for the opposite. You may notice Gero-Holt bumping music before an event, even dancing. And when she’s running, the junior star is “floating on a cloud.”

“I try to focus more on the positive. … If I get too much in my head, I psych myself out,” she told reporters Friday.

It’s easy to say. But Gero-Holt does it.

The University of Illinois commit dashed to victory in the 4A girls 100-meter hurdles, her third straight year with a hurdles title at Friday’s WIAA state track and field championships in Tacoma. Her 14.84-second mark bested the field by more than half of a second.

Make it a three-peat for the Emerald Ridge phenom.

“It’s just me against me,” Gero-Holt said, still out of breath from her championship run. “At practice, I don’t have these girls [competitors], right? I just came out here to do my best and have fun with it.

“No need to put pressure (on myself). This is a fun meet. Something you make memories at, right? If I put pressure on myself, you lose the fun.”

Her positivity, her optimism, her care-free attitude? It’s no fluke. Even in a losing, runner-up effort in Thursday’s 4A girls long jump, Gero-Holt embraced Federal Way champion Cassandra Atkins and provided the exact response — no pressure, all fun.

Even more astounding: Gero-Holt could mark three straight titles in Saturday’s high jump, a separate and second three-peat. Her season-high of 5-11 clears that 4A girls field by seven inches.


Cassandra Atkins has her three-peat.

Federal Way’s star senior won her third consecutive 4A girls triple jump title Friday at Mount Tahoma Stadium (39-9.25), ahead of Kamiakin’s Aubrey Herrin by exactly one foot.

“This is my favorite event, so going for a three-peat in this one means the absolute world to me,” Atkins said.

The Oregon commit aimed for the state meet record of 43-6, set by Lexi Ellis of Curtis in 2018, though poor conditions Friday afternoon created headwinds for Atkins and the field. Her Federal Way teammate, Geron White, battled nasty rain earlier in the morning en route to the 4A boys high jump title.

“I pushed myself to (break the meet record) today,” Atkins said. “But with wind resistance this bad, I’ve got to work with what I get.

“It’s hard when you’re going through your phases, because you feel like you get pushed back a little bit. It’s harder for me to gauge how far I’m reaching, and if I’m on the marks I want to be on.”

Still, Atkins claimed the title. Her first triple jump of the day would have been enough to claim the championship on its own – 38-9.75 – before upping her own score in the final flight.

It’s her second championship this weekend. Atkins bested Gero-Holt in Friday’s 4A girls long jump at Mount Tahoma, setting an unofficial state meet record (19-9.75).

And she could mark three individual titles in a single weekend at Saturday’s 4A girls 200-meter dash.

“It’d be pretty cool, actually. I’d love to (win three titles),” Atkins said. “But that’s if the weather allows me to. With this head wind, I’m not sure.”


Two days, two state titles for Grace Degarimore.

South Kitsap’s field guru smashed the discus field on Thursday by roughly 28 feet, then followed up with a championship performance in Friday’s 4A girls javelin throw at Mount Tahoma.

Friday’s competition proved much closer – she took home the javelin title (136-3) by only a three-inch margin over Eastlake’s Addison Kapur (136-0).



Emerald Ridge (26)

South Kitsap (26)

Federal Way (20)


Mercer Island (32)

Walla Walla (26.5)

Silas (18)


East Valley of Spokane (20)

R.A. Long (18)

Bellingham (17)