Seven Washougal High School track and field athletes qualified for the state meet by running, jumping and throwing in the friendly confines of Fishback Stadium Friday.
“Hosting a district meet is always special because you get to see the support from the community,” said head coach Dave Hajek. “I’m always proud of what the people in Washougal do for the kids.”
Michelle Greear grabbed first place in the discus with a throw of 109 feet, three-quarters of an inch. She also took third in the shot put with a toss of 32-8.5.
“I’m proud of my team,” Greear said. “There’s nothing better than being on your home turf and going to state.”
Mackenzie Pfeifer placed third in the girls javelin (114-11), fourth in the discus (97-6.75) and fifth in the shot put (31-3.5). Morgan Rodgers earned third in the girls discus (99-3) and Austin Toffel claimed third in the boys javelin (150-2).
“It’s nice to have districts at home and being in your own element,” Pfeifer said. “Our throwing really represented.”
Distance runner Sean Eustis, hurdler Joe Harris and pole vaulter Adam Thomas will join these Panthers in the state meet, Thursday through Saturday, at Mt. Tahoma High School, in Tacoma.
Thomas cleared 13 feet on the pole vault for the first time to finish in second place at the district meet.
“I’ve been trying to get to that height for the past five or six meets,” Thomas said. “I guess it was time. Putting in all that hard work got me over the bar.”
Harris snagged second place in the 110 hurdles. He crossed the finish line with a personal best time of 15.91 seconds.
Eustis earned second place in the 3,200 (9:32.57) and third in the 1,600 (4:22.15). His friend, Isaac Stinchfield, finished fourth in the 1,600 (4:25.93), fifth in the high jump (5-10), sixth in the 800 (2:00.95) and sixth as a member of the 1,600 relay (3:39.71). None of those places were high enough to get Stinchfield to state. Eustis said he will be giving a little extra effort for his buddy this weekend.
“I know he would kill to be at state with me,” Eustis said. “I’m definitely going to keep that in mind.”
Seniors Kaitlyn and Kari Johnson made an emotional final tour around Fishback Stadium. Kari snagged sixth place in the 100 hurdles (17.74) and the long jump (14-9.75).
“I knew senior year would be full of lasts, but it really hit home tonight,” she said. “This was our last track meet here. Our last hurdle, last jump and last race.”
Kaitlyn clinched fourth place in the triple jump (32-8.5), fifth place in the 200 (27.72) and sixth place in the 100 (13.52). She was so close to state, she could taste it.
“It feels like the end of an era,” Kailtyn said. “I’ve been looking forward to this since I was a little girl, and now it’s over.”
High school track ended with the Johnson twins handing off the baton to each other in the 1,600 relay. They finished sixth in 4:35.80.
“The closest bond in the world is the one between identical twins, but I’ve gotten real close with these girls and made lifelong friendships,” Kaitlyn said.
“I’ve had a really great time in these last four years of Washougal track,” Kari added. “I hope every one else has as much fun as we had.”