It’s the longest-running prep track and field meet in Washington, and today will kick off its 113th year.

The Skagit County Track and Field Championships begin today in La Conner, with every high school in the county set to participate in a meet that gives athletes from schools big and small a chance to compete against one another.

This year’s meet will be held over three days. Most of the action will be held today and Friday, while the pole vault is slated for Thursday at Burlington-Edison High School.

“It’ll be a great meet. It’s always a great meet,” Burlington-Edison coach Kevin Gudgel said.

Sedro-Woolley is the defending boys’ team champion; Burlington-Edison is the defending girls’ team champion.

The Tigers will likely face a challenge from Anacortes in the girls’ meet.

Just six points separated the teams in last week’s Northwest Conference Championships, which Anacortes won.

Anacortes’ Skye Hopper, the defending Class 2A state champion in the triple jump, may face a stiff challenge against a field that includes Sedro-Woolley’s Payton Simpson.

Simpson, like Hopper, has jumped a season-best 34 feet, 10 inches.

Also in the field is La Conner’s Matty Lagerwey, who is the defending Class 2B state champion in the event.

While the participating athletes undoubtedly hope to set records that will stand well into the future, this year’s event will also honor the past.

Former Burlington-Edison coach Don Erickson, a Washington State Track & Field Coaches Hall of Fame member, and longtime Mount Vernon coach Darrell Pearson will be honored at the meet.

Erickson coached various sports at Burlington-Edison for 42 years. While he was head track and field coach his teams won 14 county championships.

Pearson coached cross country and track and field for the Bulldogs, including a state championship cross country team in 1969.

Both died earlier this year.

A moment of silence for both coaches will be observed Friday.

Reporter Trevor Pyle: 360-416-2156, tpyle@skagitpublishing.com, Twitter: @Sports_SVH, Facebook.com/bytrevorpyle

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