It was intense and amazing all in one.
Those were the feelings that overcame Mercer Island High School (MIHS) sophomore Owen Powell at the finish line and after he won the 3A state 1,600-meter run in 4:07.75 on May 25 at Mt. Tahoma High School.
“For a little bit, I was just kind of in shock. It didn’t quite register what had happened. It was a couple minutes later that the realization set in and I was just super happy,” said Powell, who notched the school’s first-ever 1,600 state title with the fastest mark among all classifications. Powell also took fifth in the 3,200 in a school-record 9:01.33 at the state track and field championships on May 27.
During the 1,600, Powell settled into the second-place spot for the initial three laps before things started heating up with 500 meters to go when runners began kicking up their speeds. With 250 meters to go, Powell and Walla Walla’s Brody Hartley and Bishop Blanchet’s Vincent Recupero together engaged in a final sprint to the end.
It was a close outcome, with Powell outrunning Hartley (4:07.97) and Recupero (4:08.04).
“I think this year the training went really well, (I) had a couple good races coming in and was feeling pretty confident. Then when the day came, I knew I was just going to try to go for it and see what happened,” said Powell, who also set a new school record in the 1,600 this season with a time of 4:06.5.
Powell and his dad, Andy, who coaches the University of Washington track and field team, shared a convivial ride home from Tacoma the night of the 1,600 race.
“I think he might have been even more excited than I was,” Owen said with a laugh.
Still buzzing with delight, Owen got some sleep that night and arose the following morning remaining in shock of what he accomplished in the 1,600.
The Islander sophomore will continue his running journey at the Portland Track Festival on June 4 at Mt. Hood Community College and at the Brooks PR Invitational on June 14 at Renton Memorial Stadium. He’ll then take a break from competitions during the summer before gearing up for the MIHS cross country season in the fall.
Also for the Islander boys at state, Azad Khan placed third in the boys triple jump (46-07).
On the MIHS girls’ side, Arianna Nguyen took second in the 100-meter hurdles (15.29) and second in the 300-meter hurdles(43.89); the 4×200 meter relay team of Nguyen, Eloise Newman, Mackenzie Monen and Aaliyah Khan placed seventh in 1:45.81; Khan placed eighth in the long jump (16-09.25); and Sophia Fan placed 20th in the 3,200 meters (12:07.56).
In the team standings, the girls took eighth and the boys placed 11th.