TACOMA - Wa-Hi's Blake Gerling won the 300-meter hurdles state championship at the Class 4A state track and field meet at Mount Tahoma High over the weekend.
Gerling outdistanced Auburn River's Andrey Zadneprovskiy for the Blue Devils' first track state champion since Seville Broussard in 1994, Wa-Hi coach Eric Hisaw said.
Gerling turned in a time of 37.99 for the title.
"Blake had just a phenomenal race," Hisaw said. "He had one small glitch, coming off of the third hurdle, but at that point he was just about a step behind the field. At this point he hit the afterburners. He just completely took off. He ran the leader down getting to the next hurdle, and then it was all over.
"The last 60 meters, it was all Blake," he said. "He just left people in his dust. He closed the last 150 (meters) of the race like a rocket. He ran the last 80 meters out in front. He stayed clean and continued to pull away.
"It was just a good old-fashioned tail kicking by Blake," Hisaw said. "He did it in style, running the fastest 4A time in the state, the best time of his life, in the biggest race of his life. It's a memory he'll never forget, as long as he lives.
"Blake won this race not only because he's talented and has some innate ablitities, but because of the time he put in in the off-season and in the weight room," he said. "He dedicated himself and set a goal, and he did everything he could do, within his power, to accomplish that goal. I'm so proud of him and happy for he and his family!"
Gerling and his Blue Devil teammate Kyle Jameson also ran the 110 high hurdles, finishing ninth and 10th. The top eight advanced to the finals.
"Kyle ran a lifetime best in the last high hurdle race of his life," Hisaw said. "He PR'd by almost a half a second. He did just a fantasic job.
"Blake was in second place going into the sixth hurdle and came off just a shade off balanace, and that was the race," he said.
Jameson also ran the 300 hurdles.
"This was a their weekend, neither Kyle or Blake disappointed us," Hisaw said. "Kyle had a really great race from start to finish. It was the best run race he's run in his life. The bad thing is, he just got beat. It was a hard pill to swallow for him, but he handled it very, very well.
"I was extremely proud of him all year," he said. "He worked so hard to get to the state meet, and he finished 10th and ninth. A lot of kids would have given anything to be at the state meet, so finishing in the top 10 in two events by yourself is still quite an accomplishment, and one he should be extremely proud of."
In the long jump, Jonah Hoe finished ninth.
"He did so on his second best jump series of the season," Hisaw said. "He jumped 20 feet, 7 inches, 20-10.25, 20-7. He was 2.5 inches from making the finals. He had a great year and really made a huge jump in his composure and leadership."
The Wa-Hi boys 4x400 relay just missed the finals.
"The boys again ran very well," Hisaw said. "They ran equal to their season best (3:25) and would've been ideal, except that they just got beat. Three-23 made the final eight, and they were so close. They've got nothing to be ashamed of, they ran their guts out."
On he girls side, Kat Tondhavong placed 12th in the discus at 108-10.
"Kat had a really solid day," Hisaw said. "She was really upset that she didn't place, but she had her first glance of the big-time this weekend and she did perform very well.
"Her 108 throw was her best throw of the year, other than her performance at the regional meet last week," he said. "She placed 12th, but did everyone proud. She will be back!"
And the girls 4x400 relay "had a tough night," Hisaw said.
"They ran hard, ran tough, but it just wasn't in the cardsb for whatever the reason," he said. "We ran four seconds slower than at regionals, not sure why either. The girls competed really hard, it just wasn't meant to be."
Overall, the Wa-Hi boys team finished tied for 23rd.
"It was a great weekend for us over in Tacoma," Hisaw said. "We'd always love to get more kids up on the award stand, but we had three kids finish ninth, and two other events where we placed 10th.
"It was a blast watching the kids compete and represent our high school and community!"