As he hit the finish line after winning a grueling 3200 race at the 4A state meet, Mount Si senior Joe Waskom shook his hands and stuck out his tongue.
The victory was surely sweet, but so were the thoughts of what the Wildcat wanted on his dinner plate that night.
“I’m gonna go get Buffalo hot wings,” he said with a laugh minutes after the race on May 25 at Mount Tahoma High in Tacoma. “I told myself at the beginning of the season, after this race I had to go get ‘em ‘cause I haven’t had ‘em since the summer and I’ve been craving them all season.”
Wings a-plenty were in store, but not before he reflected on what he’d experienced to boost his confidence and reel off a time of 8:56.02 to triumph over Luke Houser of Woodinville (8:57.38) and Jonas Price of Eisenhower (8:57.65) in the most mammoth of races.
After taking second to Daniel Maton of Camas in the 1600 on May 23 — Waskom ran a 4:06.64 and Maton notched a 4:06.07 — the Mount Si guy said his legs were hurting more than they ever have. Waskom knew he had a tough 3200 race ahead of him and he was sure he would overcome his 1600 finish.
“I was excited. I knew I was gonna win it when I stepped on the track,” he said of the 3200. “You gotta know that as a runner, you gotta be really confident with yourself. If doubt ever rolls in your mind, you’re gonna freak yourself out.”
Waskom was positioned in front for the first six laps, but when lap seven rolled around, Houser took the lead. When Waskom saw Houser move by, he knew he had to stick with the Falcon, draft off him and “throw it down with 500 meters to go.”
Waskom’s endurance paid off and he was soon back in the lead in lap eight and en route to victory.
“Coming into the last lap, I was like, ‘This is my last high school race ever in my uniform,’” Waskom said with a smile and shake of the head.
Mount Si coach Sean Sundwall noted that Waskom ran the fastest combined 1600 and 3200 times in state meet history at this meet.
* Also for Mount Si, Karlie Stewart placed eighth in the high jump with a mark of 5-0.