As a wrestler, Tanner Lees tries to keep his feet firmly planted on the mat.
But with a pole in his hands, the Washougal High School junior is reaching new heights.
In just his first spring on the runway, Lees has ascended from 10 feet at the first meet of the season to 12 feet, 6 inches at the Panther Twilight meet, April 28.
“It feels like you’re flying,” Lees said. “The higher you go, the longer you get that feeling.”
At the sub-district meet May 11, in Ridgefield, Lees cleared his first jump at 11 feet. Right after that, the rain came in and washed out the rest of the event.
He hopes for better weather at the district meet Friday, at Columbia River High School in Hazel Dell.
The top three placers advance to the state meet May 25 to 27, in Tacoma. Lees wants to be one of them.
“State would be incredible for me, especially since this is just my first year,” he said. “I know I can get higher, I just need the meet to allow it and get my adrenaline going.”
Hannah Swigert grabbed first place for the Panthers in the 800-meter run. The WHS senior also helped Bekah Shilling, Anna Kallie and Kiara Kallie win the 800 relay.
Sophomore Amelia Pullen earned first place in the 3,200 and second place in the 1,600.
Sophomore Kiersten De La Rocha clinched first place in the discus and second in the shot put.
Freshman Gracie Dolan grabbed second place in the long jump and the triple jump. She leaped a personal best 15 feet, 11.5 inches in the long jump.
Alexis Maniscalco claimed third place in the 400 and Kiara Kallie took third place in the 100 hurdles.
The Washougal girls also earned third place in the 400 and 1,600 relay races.
Anna Kallie finished fourth in the 200 and Laura Dills notched fourth in the 300 hurdles.
Aiden Pullen placed second for the Panther boys in the 1,600 and Troy Prince-Butterfield took second in the 800.
Kenny Kanthak claimed second in the 300 hurdles and third in the 110 hurdles. Ryan Davy earned second in the 100 dash and fourth in the 110 hurdles.
Kanthak, Davy, Cade Koons and Justin Snodgrass grabbed second place in the 400 relay.
Austin McLoughlin finished second in the 400 and fourth in the long jump. Nathan Tofell notched second in the javelin.
Kanthak, Pullen, Prince-Butterfield and McLoughlin helped the Panthers finish third in the 1,600 relay.
Gabriel Dinnel gained fourth place in the 3,200.
Swigert told the Panthers to give it their all at districts Friday, because state could be the reward.
Don’t quit now,” she said. “Just that last little bit, and we got it.”