KINGSTON — Garrett Rouser was already one of the top 300-meter hurdlers in the state by the time he traveled to Mount Tahoma High School for the 2A State Track and Field Championships, May 31.
Rouser improved his time by more than 2 seconds between March 26 and May 24. He ran a 38.68 during the state prelims, then he did even better.
“I’ve just always been thinking about trying to win a state championship,” Rouser said. “No matter what sport it is … it’s always been something on my mind.”
When Rouser faced the opportunity to take home a state title during the 2A 300-meter finals, he ran a 37.97, placing first.
There was nothing bitter about this sweet victory.
Not only did Rouser finish first, he beat Lakewood’s Andrew Stitch. Stitch won the 300-meter event earlier in the season, which Rouser did not want to see happen again.
The title and the victory over Stitch are not all.
With the improved time, Rouser finished the season third in the state out of all high school runners. Rouser finished .07 seconds behind second place Ray Stark of Elma.
Rogers-Puyallup’s Eric Simpson’s fastest time was 37.78 seconds, enough for the top spot in the state.
Rouser is one of two juniors to have a top 10 300-meter hurdle time in the state.
Rouser began competing in hurdles in seventh grade. He stuck with it and trains in the offseason.
Training is the backbone of his success, but Rouser also feeds off of competition.
“I think competition drives me a lot,” he said.
During the Pasco Invite, which is a large competition, Rouser improved his time by about 1 second.
“The competition makes you run faster,” Rouser said.
Rouser improved his best hurdle time between 2012 and 2014 by 9.12 seconds.
Rouser isn’t done. He’ll be back next season and hopes to lower his 300-meter hurdle time further.
“If I got into the 36s, I would be happy,” he said.
Though Rouser said he has a reoccurring back issue — it started tightening up during state — he took one day off before heading back to sports. He was practicing for the 2014 football season June 2.
“I had Sunday off,” Rouser said, laughing.
How they finished
Jack Larson, 400-meter dash, 5, 50.41
Garrett Rouser, 300-meter hurdles, 1, 37.97
Annie Roberts, 800-meter run, 3, 2:18.12; 1,600-meter run, 5, 5:06.47
Jacob McCown, javelin, 13, 147-00
Taylor Stephens, high jump, 2, 6-06.00
Zachary Whittaker, long jump, 8, 20-09.50; triple jump, 2, 45-06.00
Clara Lund, 1,600-meter run, 11, 5:24.67; 3,200-meter run, 11, 12:06.91
Kathleen Ramsey, 1,600-meter run, 14, 5:32.16; 3,200-meter run, 6, 11:36.32
4x400 relay team (Annika Lee Krol, Samantha Ryan, Briann George, Sara Bigelow), 8, 4:10.82
Jordan Thomas, shot put, 7, 37-05.50
Rebecca Darrow, high jump, 8, 5-00.00
Maren Sedy, pole vault, 10, 9-00.00
Hannah Snyder, long jump, 12, 15-08.75; triple jump, 3, 37-00.50