While the Washougal High School boys track and field team inched closer to another league championship, the girls ended up sharing the glory in two meets that went down to the wire.
Several top three finishes helped the Panther girls force a 75-75 tie with Mark Morris April 23, in Longview. If the Washougal girls can beat Ridgefield today, they will stand on the top of the 2A Greater St. Helens League with Mark Morris. And that would be five league titles in a row.
“We have girls who are willing to do an extra event, or whatever it takes, to win the meet,” said head coach Dave Hajek. “I expect nothing less out of them today. These girls want to prove it on the track and in the field.”
The Washougal girls got the best of Mark Morris in the Panther Twilight meet Friday, at Fishback Stadium. Washougal and Battle Ground tied for first place with 125.5 points. Mark Morris came in third place with 120.5 points and Estacada, Ore., earned fourth place with 110.5 points.
“It speaks volumes for how our kids compete,” Hajek said. “They look at a 4A school like Battle Ground and they are not intimidated. They are willing to pay the price in order to be successful.”
Mackenzie Pfeifer clinched first place in the javelin with a toss of 110 feet, 7 inches. She also won the discus (93-10) and took third in the shot put (31 feet).
Kari Johnson finished first in the 100 hurdles (17.88 seconds) and the long jump (14-8.5). Kaitlyn Johnson earned second in the triple jump (32-6.25), third in the 100 (13.59) and fourth in the 200 (27.78). Kari and Kaitlyn Johnson, Rae Allen and Paige Roberts placed third in the 800 relay (1:54.73).
Karina Miller claimed second in the 1,600 (5:35.36) and Meredith Collins took third in the 3,200 (12:57.34). Sydney Neimi notched second in the javelin (97-8) and Morgan Rodgers grabbed third in the discus (90-6).
The Washougal boys were shorthanded Friday, but they still battled to a fourth place tie with Hockinson. Both teams scored 88 points.
Sean Eustis set a new meet record time of 4:20.76 in the 1,600. He crossed the finish line first, followed by teammate Isaac Stinchfield (4:24.34). Eustis also won the 800 (2:00.75) and Stinchfield clinched first in the 3,200 (10:02.53).
“If we can get those guys together at districts, there’s going to be some fun races to watch,” Hajek said. “They definitely push each other.”
Adam Thomas launched himself to first place on the pole vault (12-6.25). Austin Tofell took second in the javelin (140-7). Randy Gubser grabbed fourth in the 100 (12.03).
Hajek has enjoyed seeing Washougal graduates Brendan Casey, Dylan Croeni, Jordin Seekins and Katie Wright come back to help the Panthers run fast, jump high and throw far.
“For them to want to come back after they graduate tells me they valued their time here, and they still want to help Washougal be successful,” Hajek said. “It’s more than just the winning and the losing. The people in Washougal are so unselfish. That’s why I love what I do here.”
The Washougal boys defeated Mark Morris 83-64 April 23, in Longview. If the Panther boys can beat Ridgefield, they will become league champions for the second straight year.
“It’s not just the winners, but the seconds and thirds that win the meets,” Hajek said. “All of those components add up to the team score.”