Repeat Performance

Camas track and field star Daniel Maton defends state championship titles

State track and field champion Daniel Maton (right) mentally prepares for his 800-meter event on May 25, at Mount Tahoma Stadium in Tacoma.

Camas distance runner Daniel Maton has done it again. The Camas junior defended his “best in the state” titles in the 1,600-meter and 800-meter events at the 4A state championship meet, held at Mount Tahoma Stadium in Tacoma, May 24-26.

The state track star also helped his Camas boys track team win state for the first time in school history (see related story on page A6).

“This year there’s been more pressure on me than last year, when all I had to do was run,” Maton said. “But this year, people expected so much more from me.”

During the 1,600-meter final race, Maton showed his mental toughness.

“He’s shoulder to shoulder with the kid from Issaquah with one lap to go, and he just looked super strong all the way and won the race by 10 meters,” Camas head track coach Jon Eagle said. “I thought it was truly fantastic.”

A team sacrifice

The 800-meter prelims, held early in the day on May 25, created a challenging situation for Maton, who was set to anchor his team’s 4×400 relay the previous evening.

Coach Eagle asked someone to make a sacrifice to help Maton and the team.

“He’s the defending champ in the 800 meter, so we wanted him to be strong,” Eagle said of Maton.

Instead of Maton wearing himself out before his big race on May 25, the team’s top sprinter, Blake Deringer, agreed to replace Maton in the 4×400 relay during the preliminary race.

Eagle said that was tough on Deringer, and not something he really wanted to do since he had to run the 100-meter race the next morning, but that the sacrifice paid off in a big way for the team, which made it to the finals and won the No. 1 spot in a four-way tie with the Bothell, Chiawana and Issaquah teams.

The decision also allowed a rested Maton to cruise to victory in the 800-meter event, repeating as the state champion.

“It was just awesome that Blake (Deringer) was OK with doing that,” Maton said of his teammate’s sacrifice.