Student-athletes prep for postseason

Camas boys are defending 4A state champs

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Camas senior Blake Derringer finishes strong in the 400 meters against Battle Ground on April 30. Derringer specializes in the 100 meters, but his talent in the 400 gives the Camas team more options as they defend the state track and field title.

With district meets set for this week, track and field athletes in Camas and Washougal are working to achieve their peak performances at the perfect time.

“We are the defending state champions, and we have a really strong team and think we can repeat. So we need to figure out what gives us the best chance of scoring the most points,” Camas’ head track and field coach, Jon Eagle, said during a home meet against Battle Ground on April 30.

The Camas boys beat Battle Ground 110-35 to remain undefeated in the 4A Greater St. Helens League, while the Camas girls beat the Tigers 132-13, moving to 3-1 on the season with the only loss to league rival Union.

A few days later, on May 3, Camas athletes competed against more than 100 of the best teams in the region at the Nike Jesuit Twilight in Beaverton, Oregon.

Camas distance runner Spencer Twyman, a junior, won the 3,000-meter with a personal record time of 8 minutes, 40.17 seconds. Camas junior Luc Utheza finished third in the 3,000-meter event. Camas sprinter Blake Derringer finished fifth in the 100-meter, but said he wasn’t sure if he would even compete because of an aching hamstring.

“I’m really taking it easy and making sure my hamstring heals up for districts,” Derringer said.

Washougal boys are 5-1 on the season with the only loss to the Ridgefield Spudders, another team that is 5-1 on the season.

Panther sprinter Ryan Davy, a senior, had a blistering personal record in the 100-meter of 10.94 on May 3 at the Spudder Classic in Ridgefield, which featured 14 area teams. Davy also won the 200-meter race and has already broken the school record two times this season in that event.

Washougal junior Caden Lowman won the 800-meter with a personal record time of 2:00.83. One week after breaking the all-time school record in the 4×100 relay, the Panthers team of Kenny Kanthak, Arcey Harton, Brig Griffin and Davy easily won at the Spudder Classic. The Panther girls team won the Spudder Classic with Washougal senior Amelia Pullen winning the 3,200-meter event and Washougal sophomore Katie Stevens breaking her personal record in the pole vault with a jump of 10 feet, 6 inches.

It’s been a track and field season that started with athletes bundled up and working out with snow flying that now has them churning out personal records in 70-degree sunshine as the postseason arrives.

The district meet for the Camas boys, the defending 4A state track and field champions, took place May 8 at Evergreen High School, after this newspaper’s print deadlines.

The Panthers will compete at subdistricts on Friday, May 10, and host the district meet at Fishback Stadium on May 17. Competing on the Panther home track will be a big comfort to Washougal sprinters like Kanthak.

“At some other schools it’s almost like you are running on concrete, or it’s very worn down,” Kanthak said. “Our surface is still pretty fresh. It feels good in your spikes.”