Competing in front of friends and family members motivated the Panthers to go the extra mile for Washougal Friday.
“We’re not just some small town out here by the railroad tracks,” said junior sprinter Donald Holbert. “When you put in the effort and the hard work, you can become anything you want to become.”
Holbert, Josh Bischoff, Brian Connolly and Adam Thomas excelled in multiple events to help the Washougal boys track and field team win the Panther Invitational with 130 points.
Bischoff gained first place in the discus and shot put. Connolly claimed first place in the high jump and third place in the javelin. Holbert, Thomas, Michael Proudfoot and Christian Mishler snagged second place in the 400 relay. Thomas also took second place in the 100 dash and Holbert earned third place in the 200.
“Props to the team and the community for putting this together,” Connolly said. “They are just as much a part of the team as we are.”
Head coach Dave Hajek enjoyed reconnecting with the parents who volunteered during the meet. He hadn’t seen some of them since their kids had graduated from the high school.
“The weather was great, we had some good competition and the volunteers were awesome,” Hajek said. “This meet is all about people coming together for the betterment of the kids.”
Bischoff and Aubrey Kraft came through for Washougal inside the school’s new discus throwing pit. Bischoff clinched first place with a toss of 129 feet, 11 inches. Kraft took second place with a mark of 121-5.
“Getting two first places today feels really good,” Bischoff said. “I’ve still got two years to go. I want to see how much I improve.”
Connolly cleared 5-10 in the high jump to win the event. The senior took some time between his javelin throws to cheer for his teammates in the high jump.
Connolly put everything he had into his final javelin toss. It landed 134-7 away and awarded him third place.
“Just coming out to do your best doesn’t accomplish much for the team. You also support others as you go,” Connolly said. “I always want people to look at my performance and know I left it all on the track. That was my goal every time.”
Thomas Normandeau notched first place in the 1,600 with a time of 2 minutes, 2.15 seconds.
“It’s all about defending your home field,” Normandeau said. “You got to put everything out there.”
The Washougal boys will have to dig down deep again today to defeat Mark Morris, at Fishback Stadium. The Panthers are fighting for a third straight league championship.
The Panther girls collected 123 points to beat out Ridgefield for second place at the Panther Invitational. White Salmon won the meet with 141.5 points.
Michelle Greear (33-4.5) and Morgan Rodgers (31-10.5) earned second and third place in the shot put. Rodgers grabbed second place in the discus (108-10) and Greear followed in third (105-4). Mackenzie Pfeifer placed second in the javelin (116-4). Courtney Owens clinched second place in the 800 run (2:38.42).
Hannah Wright took third place in the 3,200 (12:52.43), Julia Vovna notched third in the high jump (4-8) and Hailey Howell claimed third in the 400 (1:08.80). Erin Locke (9-0) and Christina Murray (8-6) finished third and fourth in the pole vault.