Saving her best for last

CHENEY — Watching Lakiesha Nilles make history at the state 2B track and field championships, you’d have thought it was just another day at the office.

Nilles claimed the first state championship in King’s West school history with her last throw in the javelin event, then she calmly went back to sit on the bench to watch her final competitor’s last effort.

Nilles, a junior, just kept getting better throughout the day at the 2B WIAA State Track & Field Championships, starting by beating her own school record by 3 feet with a throw of 121-feet, 10-inches on her first attempt in the preliminaries. Nilles qualified in second for the finals behind Walla Walla Academy’s Brianne Bectal and just ahead of Cora Kellerman of LaConner.

Nilles uncharacteristically continued to improve, moving her mark up with her first throw in the finals, but still holding in second place. Her next throw was a bit shorter, as she slowed too much before her release.

Warriors coach Dan Dittmer, called out a reminder to keep her speed up, and Nilles put it all together with a 125-10, more than a foot ahead of Bectal.

“I said, ‘Where’d that come from,’” Dittmer said. “Usually that’s her worst throw of the day.”

Maybe it was Nilles’ experience in high-pressure basketball games, but she stayed cool under pressure.

“I always try to calm myself before a throw,” Nilles said. “It was the last throw of the season. I had to put it all out there.”

The win is even more impressive when the competition is considered. Bectal and Kellerman were both competing at the Class A level last year, where Kellerman was second in the javelin and Bectal was third in jav and first in the shot put.

Nilles remained constrained after Bectal’s last throw, knowing she’d won the title, until she finally got over by her teammates-turned-cheering section. The smile broke out right before the hugs started and continued long after ascending the winners stand.

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