MOUNT VERNON — When Gabe Taylor began his career with the Mount Vernon Christian track and field team, he was a distance runner.
But coach Linda Gudmunson saw some of the same raw speed in Taylor that she saw in his sister, Jacki, a state 400-meter champion with the Hurricanes in 2009.
Pretty soon the distances of Taylor’s races grew shorter, and he started to turn in the times of a strong sprinter.
This year, there was one final tweak as the postseason arrived — and it may help the two-time defending champion Hurricanes at the upcoming Class 1B State Track and Field Championships at Eastern Washington University in Cheney.
Taylor, a senior, added the 100-meter dash to his arsenal late in the season, and he has the fastest time — 11.37 seconds — among 1B athletes expected to compete in the event.
Gudmunson said Taylor had competed with the Hurricanes 400 relay team for much of the season, but the coaching staff saw an opportunity for him to earn points with a high finish in the 100.
Since Taylor already ran the 200, adding the 100 seemed like a good fit.
“What points we’d gain in the 100 at state is more than what we’d lose if we don’t (have) him in 4x1,” Gudmunson said.
Taylor’s time in his first 100-meter race of the season left little doubt it was the correct strategy.
After the Northwest 2B/1B League Champions on May 1 — his first 100 of the season — he was the No. 2 performer in Class 1B in the state, so it was like, “Yeah, we’ve got to take a look at this,” Gudmunson said.
Taylor ran 11.52 at the league championships, and at the Northwest 2B/1B District meet the following week, he ran 11.37.
Only Andrew Carrington of Puget Sound Adventist has posted a better time (11.00) among Class 1B athletes, but Carrington is not expected to compete in the 100 at the state meet, as Seventh-Day Adventists don’t compete on Saturdays while they observe the Sabbath.
Taylor has qualified for four events at the state meet: the 100, 200, 400 and triple jump. He has the best Class 1B marks in the 200 (22.78), 400 (51.26) and triple jump (43 feet).
He has been a part of two state championship relay teams — the 1,600 in 2017 and the 400 in 2018 — but unlike his sister has yet to win a state title in an individual event.
The closest he came was last year, when he took second in both the triple jump and 400.
This will be Taylor’s fourth year at the state meet. He said his experience will likely help him do his best.
“I try to stay calm, because I’ve been there before. I know the atmosphere,” he said.