YAKIMA - Walla Walla High School sent 11 boys and 12 girls to the GSL/CBBN Regional Track Meet here Friday and Saturday at Zaepfel Stadium in Yakima. After the dust settled Saturday evening, five Blue Devils individuals and one relay team remained in contention for state titles at this week's Class 4A State Meet in Tacoma.
Garrett Gerling ruled the eastern Washington regional meet, taking first place in both the 110 hurdles and 300 hurdles with times of 14.31 and 37.77 respectively.
Jamie Weisner turned in the best performance for Wa-Hi on the girls side, with a second place finish in the 300 hurdles (46.22) and fourth place finishes in both long jump (16-feet-3.5) and javelin (133-feet-2).
"Garrett became the Regional Champion by running a new state leading time of 14.31," Wa-Hi coach Eric Hisaw said. "He got a great start and ran stride-for-stride with the kid from Mead through seven hurdles, then he finished a little better to win by four one-hundredths of a second.
"Garrett also lit the track on fire by winning the 300 Hurdles and setting a new Regional Meet Record of 37.77 in the process," Hisaw said.
Weisner appeared set for a regional championship in the 300 hurdles, besting second place Martha Sanford of Richland in the preliminaries by over a quarter of a second, with a time of 45.97. Sanford shaved two-hundredths off her time in the finals, while Weisner finished a quarter of a second off her preliminary time, to lose by 18-hundredths.
Brandon Porter and Rachel Adkins both punched tickets to state with third place finishes in field events. Porter threw a 179-foot 7-inch toss in the javelin, and Adkins hop, skipped and jumped her way 35-feet, 7.25 inches in the triple jump.
Freshman Jonah Hoe also qualified for state with a 21-foot 3.5-inch long jump.
"(Hoe) barely snuck into finals, where he took off, literally," Hisaw said. "His first jump was a PR, his second jump was a PR, and his third jump was the second-best jump of his life. He is the first freshman to qualify for state for the boys' team in an individual event in over 12 years."
The final event of the day, the girls 4X400 relay, produced the final state entrants for the Wa-Hi track team.
Ashley Cornia ran the lead leg, Dominique Cox the second leg, and Kailee Davisson took the baton for the third leg. After 1200 meters, the Blue Devils were in fourth, the last spot for qualifying. But Eastmont's Taylor Reynolds passed Wa-Hi anchor Maggie Callan halfway round the track.
"As they rounded the last corner with 100 meters to go, Maggie put her head down and literally out-willed the girl who beat her last week," Hisaw said. "(Callan) passed her back to take over fourth place with 50 meters to go, and she never let it go.
"Three freshman and one junior, place fourth and qualified for state. They honestly have no idea the accomplishment they just achieved," Hisaw said.
"I can't honestly remember when we've taken this many kids in this many events over to state. It's a true testament to these kids' determination, drive, will and ability to focus and compete. They are just a thrill to be around and so fun to watch. Fortunately, we get one more weekend to do it."
The 4A State Meet starts Thurday at Mt. Tahoma High School in Tacoma.