Competing with courage

Washougal enters Gorge Invitational Saturday

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Brian Connolly didn’t let a flesh wound keep him from flying through the air.

“My steps were a little off [in the long jump], so I tried to make up for it with my form,” he said. “The moment I threw my feet forward, I knew I had cut my wrist.”

The Washougal High School senior stopped the bleeding with his other hand. Stitches could wait until after the meet. All he needed was tape and courage to keep competing.

“If we lost by just a couple of points, I knew I’d kick myself for not going back out there,” Connolly said. “I want to show what it takes to be a Washougal track and field athlete. There’s a lot of prestige out here.”

The Panthers put up points in bunches Thursday, at Longview Memorial Stadium. The Washougal boys won 92-51 and the girls soared to a 92-57 victory.

Coaches informed Connolly the meet was well in hand, but that didn’t stop the Panther from jumping back into the competition. He tried to get back into the long jump, but the event was over and he had to settle for a fourth-place finish. Connolly made up for it on his one triple jump attempt. He placed second with a leap of 33 feet, 6 inches. He also clinched first place in the high jump (5-8) and the javelin throw (131-4).

“I gutted it out and got us a few more points,” Connolly said. “Our diversity really shined through today. We all pitched in places we never had before to get points.”

Donald Holbert and Thomas Normandeau pushed themselves around the track as fast as they could in the 400. Holbert finished in 53.16 seconds and Normandeau followed in 53.56 seconds. Normandeau also notched first in the 1,600 (4:55) and second in the 800 (2:04). Holbert took second in the 200 (23.7).

Connolly enjoyed watching Holbert and Normandeau chase each other around the track. He was also proud to see Adam Thomas clinch first place on the pole vault (13-6), and second place in the 200 (11.23) and long jump (19-9.25).

“It’s more than just about your events. You also cheer for your teammates,” Connolly said. “It might just be the kick they need.”

Jacob Bowen finished first in the 110 hurdles (17.19) and the 300 hurdles (48.28). Evan Hoff, Luke Belzer, Caleb Bischoff and Gabe Groom earned first in the 400 relay (55.87). Matt Rotundo took first in the triple jump (37-1.75).

Courtney Owens and Hannah Wright went for broke in the 1,600 and the 3,200. Owens won both events with times of 6:00 and 13:22. Wright followed in 6:01 and 13:28.

Michelle Greear, Morgan Rodgers and Mackenzie Pfeifer grabbed the top three places in the shot put and discus. Pfeifer, Emily Picard and Greear finished top three in the javelin.

Ashley Walker (1:12) and Hannah Lintala (1:13.58) finished in first and second place in the 400. Kristen Graham clinched first in the triple jump (31-5). Graham, Erin Locke, Ellie Schmid and Hailey Howell claimed first in the 400 relay (56.08). Brooklyn Bailey, Lindsay Thomas, Danielle Alder and Schmid earned first in the 800 relay (2:10.48).

Washougal competes in the Gorge Invitational Saturday, at Stevenson High School.