Class 2B tracksters punch state tickets

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CLARKSTON — District 9 Class 2B track and field athletes competed for the top two spots in each event to qualify for the state meet here on day one of the district championship Thursday.

Waitsburg-Prescott advanced four individual boys to the state tournament next Friday and Saturday at Eastern Washington University in Cheney.

Seth Deal placed second in the boys 1,600-meters in 4:26.47, Ben Shafer was second in the discus at 136 feet, 9.50 inches, and Owen Lanning was second in the triple jump at 39-04.50.

W-P’s Lanning and Brendan Donovan also wound up qualifying in the 300 hurdles. The event was actually won by Walla Walla Valley Academy’s Brandon Bissell in 41.75, with Knights teammate Wesley Hendrickson next at 44.44, but they can’t compete at the state tournament. So Lanning, with a third place in 44.60, and Donovan, at fourth in 45.03, advance.

“We had some very good efforts today and I was very proud of our kids,” W-P coach Jeff Bartlow said.

Walla Walla Valley Academy also had a qualifying performance by Abbie Underhill in the girls 300-meter hurdles in 48.80.

DeSales’ Brigit Lyons finished right behind Underhill in 50.29 to qualify for state, and Irish teammate Andrew Elmenhurst won the boys javelin at 147-05.

“Andrew is the district champion and Brigit is the No. 1 seed because (Abbie Underhill) isn’t going (to the state tournament), which is too bad,” DeSales coach Michael Scheel said.

“He’s (Elmenhurst) been throwing pretty consistently, but he needs to learn how to relax,” he said. “He’s a little tight when he throws, and if he relaxes he can get back into the 160s and 170s like we know he can do.”

Lyons’ performance gave Scheel a pause.

“She kind of scared us a little bit because she stuttereed over the first few hurdles, but she pulled it together and finished strong,” he said. “We just need to work with her a little bit in her foot work, because you can see just how fast she is in our relays.”

And Scheel has high hopes for today’s second round action, as Allison Wujek finished first in preliminaries in 100 hurdles, with finals today.

“We’re really looking forward to Allison doing her thing today,” he said. “We’ve got a big day today. We can’t take anything for granted, we just got to keep on doing what we’ve been doing.”

Dayton’s Kaitlyn Andrews was second in the girls javelin at 116-even.

“On the girls side, our best opportunity to go to state was Maddy Witt in the triple jump and she brought her “A” game as she PR’s by over a foot, but it was not enough as her 31-11 effort was seven inches short of second,” Bartlow said. “I was extremely proud of her as she battled hard and got three PR’s as she progressed through the finals.

“Beka Adams also placed fourth in the discus and she moved up one spot and picked up four points for our girls team. She will have a shot next year at state if she keeps improving.

“On the boys side, the big effort of the day was Seth Deal’s 1,600 time of 4:26.47 (which is a W-P record) as he really had a great race,” Bartlow said. “He placed second and that was a big mark for him.

“And, Tebo Martinelle also had a big night in the 1,600 and ran under five minutes for sixth and a point.

The other big mark came from Ben Shafer in the discus,” he said. “In sub-district, he struggled and came into the finals in fourth and jumped up to second on his last throw and PR’d at 136 feet. He was thrilled.”

In the 300 hurdles, “Owen (Lanning) had an especially good race with a PR of 44.6,” Bartlow said. “Then, on the triple jump Owen garnered second place with a 39-foot effort and Luke Alexenko got back in the top six with a fifth-place finish. I was proud of both triple jumpers. Owen was a bit worried about his 300 hurdles as they were right at the same time as the triple jump and he ended up going in both events, and that was huge for him.

“And, Luke has struggled as of late and he just let it all go and cracked into the point total, and those points are important this year,” he said.

“Dalton Lerue had a huge PR in the javelin and finished fourth.”

In the team points standings, Asotin leads both boys and girls competitions. The Panther boys have 91 points headed into today’s final day, followed by W-P at 41, WWVA 18, DeSales 16, Tekoa-Oakesdale-Rosalia 6 and St. John-Endicott 1.

On the girls side, Asotin is in the lead with 66 points, St. John-Endicott is next at 48, followed by T-O-R 34, DeSales 12, WWVA 12, W-P 10 and Dayton 8.

“Regarding the points, our boys are down by 50 points and that is a lot of ground to make up,” Bartlow said. “But, some of our events on Friday (100, 200, 400, 4x100 relay and 110 hurdles) have no Asotin competitors in them, and today they had a lot of depth and events that scored a lot of points for them. James Thompkins did not have an event today and he is our leader in points and can put up 30 points on any given track meet just on his own.

“So, I will not give up on it, even at 50 points down,” he said. “Our stronger events will be on Friday.

“Overall after day one, I am pleased with our kids,” Bartlow said. “They came to compete and they did. I am looking forward to Friday as we will hope to get a few more kids into the state track meet.”

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