With the thrill of becoming league champions still fresh in the minds of the Washougal track and field athletes and coaches, the Panthers took center stage Friday by hosting the 2A sub-district meet.
“This was our most important meet so far,” said junior sprinter and jumper Kaitlyn Johnson. “I wanted the Panthers to come out and do well for the community, and to show everybody that Washougal is a track town.”
Fueled by the home-field advantage, Johnson set three new personal bests at the event. First, she won the 100-meter dash with a time of 12.67 seconds. Then Johnson and her sister Kari, Kelsey Lagerquist and Katie Wright took second in the 400 relay in 51.82 seconds. Johnson finished the day by leaping 33 feet, 7 inches to second place in the triple jump.
She dedicated her performance to seniors Katie Wright, Page Wade, Kayla Lockard and Sarah Brown for leading the girls to their fourth straight league title.
“We are carrying on a new tradition in Washougal, and I’m so grateful to be a part of it,” Johnson said. “It really shows what we can accomplish when we put our hearts and souls into it.”
Katie Wright flew around Fishback Stadium for the last time. As the last one standing in the high jump, the senior challenged her school record mark of 5-4 on three attempts and just came up short. Wright then anchored the 400 relay team to a new best time before exploding into the long jump pit. She leaped 16-6 to break her freshman record by a half an inch. On her final jump, she reached 16-10.
“It was my last jump. I could feel the springs ready to go,” Wright said. “It always feels good to finish off with a PR or a good jump. You just feel accomplished.”
Isaac Bischoff earned first in the discus and fourth in shot put, but he wasn’t satisfied with his throws. Bischoff started off with two scratches in the discus, but he buckled down and threw a 138-11. That turned out to be the best mark on a difficult day for the field.
Sean Eustis and Isaac Stinchfield tripled their efforts to get more of their teammates to districts. After running the mile and 2-mile, the juniors carried the 1,600 relay team to second place with a personal best time of 3:38.4. Eustis also earned second in the mile and fourth in the 2-mile, while Stinchfield grabbed third in the mile and fifth in the 2-mile.
Nathan Milojevic notched second in the pole vault and javelin. Karsen Short snagged second in the 100 and third in the 200.
Mackenzie Pfeifer placed second in the javelin, and fifth in the shot put and discus. Michelle Greear gained second in the shot put and third in the discus. Lockard collected second on the pole vault, and Lagerquist took third in the 200 and fourth in the 100.
The Panthers will participate in the 2A district championships Friday, at Centralia High School.
“You’ve worked with these kids all year long. At this point, it’s all about them hitting PRs and making improvement,” said head coach Dave Hajek. “As you get older, you always remember these district and state meets. For some of these kids, it will be the best competition they ever get to face. As long as they do their best, that’s all you can ask for.”