Juanita High senior Ryan Greenwalt gets set in his running block during practice. Andy Nystrom / staff photo

Juanita High senior Ryan Greenwalt gets set in his running block during practice. Andy Nystrom / staff photo

Running and jumping his way to the state championships

Juanita’s Greenwalt wins four events at 3A KingCo meet, two at districts.

Blue socks and hash browns.

It’s not a Dr. Seuss book, but the superstitions of Juanita High senior track and field phenom Ryan Greenwalt.

On the mornings of meets, his mom will cook up that tasty meal, and prior to competing, the Rebel will pull on those special Nike socks. It’s a combination that launched Greenwalt to the top of the victory podium four times at the recent 3A KingCo championship meet.

Greenwalt first topped the long-jump field on May 8 and then returned to Lake Washington High two days later sporting running shoes and swift feet to triumph in the 100, 200 and 400 races. His marks were 10.92 in the 100, 22.31 in the 200, 49.51 in the 400 and 22-04 in the long jump. A fifth victory came in the form of a Washington Interscholastic Activities Association athlete-of-the-week honor for those accomplishments.

At districts a week later, he took first in the 400 (49.83) and long jump (22-06.25) and second in the 200 and third in the 100. He’ll complete his prep career with appearances at the state meet this weekend at Mount Tahoma High in Tacoma.

“It was crazy,” Greenwalt said of his KingCo bonanza. “I was feeling pretty good (after the long jump), and then on Friday it was just one after another. Each event was only an hour apart.”

Prior to this season, he had just one KingCo title to his name in the long jump two years ago. Solid training and constant competing — with Wednesday meets and then some Saturday invitationals — put him in an ideal position to unload his talent at the KingCo championships.

“Throughout the year, I’ve been doing lots of 200s, 400s with each meet to build up my stamina,” he said. With 80-degree weather beating down on the athletes, Greenwalt knocked off titles like falling dominoes in the 100, 400 and then finally the 200.

It’s a tough task to run all three, but it’s also fun to always be competing, said Greenwalt, adding with a smile that he gets bored sometimes sitting around waiting for his events to happen.

While evaluating all three runs, Greenwalt said he favors the 200 because when runners reach their top speeds, they lock in at that pace for the most of the race.

When his Juanita career comes to a close this weekend, Greenwalt will point his talent toward Western Washington University, where he’ll compete in his four events and major in electrical engineering. With a 3.97 grade-point average on tap, he’s winning in the classroom as well.

The Reporter asked Greenwalt a series of questions to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into his life:

What have you gotten out of the program here and competing at high levels?

Definitely some leadership skills. Not only vocal leadership, so just leading by example, showing people how to do things (from warmups to meets and supporting teammates).

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

If you have a bad jump one day, just forget about that. There’s always the next day, always the next competition. Move on to that, don’t linger in the past. (From jumps coach Tanner Williams.)

What’s your favorite movie of all time?

“Whiplash,” the drumming one. The story and how he just handles the pressure from his coach. He is so determined to be the best, and literally would go through anything.

What’s your favorite kind of music?

Hip-hop, but more low-key chill. Kind of hip-hop and pop fusion. Also some indie rock.

What special skill would you like to learn?

Learn to the play the guitar. I took Guitar 1 at the school, but if I could actually learn to play it super well, I think that would be a cool skill.

What super power would you like to have?

Teleportation, that would be very helpful.

What’s your favorite restaurant in the area?

Oto Sushi in Juanita Village.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I’d like to live somewhere around here, have some job in electrical engineering. ‘Cause this is such a big tech area, so somewhere Kirkland, Seattle, anywhere in the area.


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