Records are meant to be broken.
The Washougal High School track and field athletes were shattering them left and right Friday, during the Panther Twilight meet at Fishback Stadium.
“When you get schools and athletes of this caliber together for a track meet in good weather, great things are going to happen,” said head coach Dave Hajek. “We have a lot of pride here in Washougal, and that’s what it’s all about. Our kids want to be successful for their school and their community.”
Senior Dylan Croeni set his first two records on the Washougal track. He captured first place in the one-mile with a time of 4 minutes, 23.71 seconds. He then went out and won the two-mile in 9:25.7.
“Two school records and two meet records. What a day. What a day,” Croeni said. “That was a solid double. Best double of my life.”
Croeni’s last 12 laps around Fishback took him all the way back to his freshman year of track.
“This is where it all started, with me and my buddy Trevor Johnson,” Croeni said. “The first time I laid eyes on this track, I never imagined myself breaking these records. I thought, ‘who’s crazy enough to run that fast?’ And I just broke both of them.
“It just feels great to hold three school records,” he added. “It’s funny how a little effort can uncover so much potential.”
Using a pole to soar with the clouds, Brendan Casey howled like a Panther when he cleared the bar at 14 feet, 6 inches to set a new meet and a school record.
“It feels good to break the record for my senior year,” Casey said. “When I was in eighth grade, I came out to a meet and said I’m going to do [pole vault]. Freshman year, I saw the record and said I’m going to break it. Every day at school, I looked at that number and knew I was going to beat it. Today, I finally did.”
Casey also won the javelin Friday, with a personal best throw of 171-6. He is aiming for the school record, which is set at 184 feet. He would also like to clear the state meet pole vault record of 15 feet, 9 inches.
“There’s only four more meets until it’s all over,” Casey said. “I want to PR every meet from here on out, and keep working hard.”
Katie Wright felt “like a bird” flying over the bar in the high jump. She won with a new school record mark of 5 feet, 4 inches.
“Amazing is all I can say,” Wright said. “I could feel it as I cleared it.”
Wright also placed second in the long jump (16-0 1/2). Kelley Young clinched first in the 100-meter hurdles with a school record time of 15.53 seconds. Kendall Utter came from behind to win the 800 with a personal best time of 2:27.22.
“I never felt anything like it,” Utter said of her comeback effort. “I was thinking about the future, with districts and state coming up, and pushing myself to get better.”
The Union High School boys and girls both won the Panther Invitational. The Washougal boys grabbed second, and finished just two points shy of Union. The Panther girls placed third.
Kaidyn Campell captured second for the Washougal boys in the 300 hurdles (43.45) and the long jump (19-6 1/2). Sean Eustis earned second in the 800 (1:59.8) and fifth in the 3,200 (10:13.1). Joe Harris snatched second in the 110 hurdles (17.09), fifth in the discus (121 feet), eighth in the high jump (5-2) and 10th in the triple jump (33-5 1/2).
Kaitlyn Johnson, Kari Johnson, Young and Kelsey Lagerquist took second for the Panther girls in the 800 relay (1:50.89). Lagerquist also grabbed third in the 200 (28.71) and fourth in the 100 (13.97). The Johnson twins, Lagerquist and Megan Sharp finished fourth in the 400 relay (53.87). Kayla Lockard, Utter, Karly Murphy and Ashley Walker earned fifth in the 1,600 relay (4:36.29).
Isaac Stinchfield clinched third in the 1,600 (4:30.6) and fourth in the 800 (2:06.58). Isaac Bischoff earned third in the shot put (44-6).
Kari Johnson took third in the 300 hurdles (51.02), Kaitlyn Johnson leaped to third in the triple jump (31-8), Kristen Graham grabbed fourth in the long jump (14-4 1/4) and Michelle Greaar finished fifth in the discus (86-4).
“You’re happy to see the kids reaching their goals at the right time,” Hajek said. “You’re also thankful for all the people who come together and help make this meet what it is.
“What makes this meet successful is the athletes, coaches, parents, staff and the people who volunteer,” he added. “We couldn’t do this every year without them.”