Big Blue Train hurtles past foes at MCC meet

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PASCO — Walla Walla High School track and field coach Eric Hisaw summed up the Blue Devils’ performance at the first Mid-Columbia Conference meet at Chiawana Thursday succinctly:

“To put it plain and simple, the Big Blue Train was rolling today,” Hisaw said.

Stuart Gillin won the boys 100 and 200 meters and was on Wa-Hi’s victorious 400 relay team, Logan Reardon won the shot put and javelin, and Ben Wolpert won the 800 and 1,600 meters to lead the Blue Devil boys to team wins over Chiawana (118-27), Hanford (100-45) and Kamiakin (98-47).

Gillin won the 100 in 11.63 seconds, the 200 in 22.80 and ran the second leg of the 400 relay, along with Robert Miller, Darnell Handcox and Ethan Gardner, to win in 43.65.

Reardon threw the shot 52 feet, 1.25 inches for the win, as well as the javelin 158-11. He was also second in the discus at 154-11.

Wolpert won the 800 in 1:58.50 and 1,600 in 4:24.77.

Peter Sirmon also won the pole vault at 14-06.00, to become the top-ranked Class 4A vaulter in the state.

On the girls side, Ashley Cornia won the 300 hurdles in 46.58, and was second in the long jump (16-03.00) and triple jump (34-01.00).

The Wa-Hi 1,600 relay team of Courtney Cox, Allyson Gibbar, Rachel Nelson and Hannah Moeller won in 4:22.65.

The Blue Devil girls defeated Chiawana (101-49) and Hanford (131-19), but fell to Kamiakin (111-39).

“Our kids were just fantastic,” Hisaw said. “They competed and focused extremely well today and I couldn’t count the number of PR’s set today.

“It’s always different when you start league meets, the intensity goes up, and so does the pressure and our kids just rise to the occasion,” he said. “They expect to perform well in big situations and they did that over and over tonight.

“Logan Reardon had a fantastic day, he really rose to the occasion today,” Hisaw said. “Hanford has some very good throwers, and Logan was a terrific competitor today.

“I was also really pleased with Darnell Handcox in the long jump with a lifetime best of 20-6, and Brian Seekamp and Alex Pickel to both clear 6-feet in the high jump. All three of these kids really performed well.”

Hisaw also praised the Blue Devils’ running performances.

“On the track, we were just outstanding,” he said. “There was a bit of a headwind, so times weren’t really fast, but our sprint and hurdle crew were super. Stuart Gillin was a double event winner and ran two very solid races in the 100 and 200.

“Ethan Gardner was right behind him and is getting better every week.

“Robbie Miller was a stud,” Hisaw said. “He’s really coming along well, and is becoming one of the better 400-meter runners in the league. He had a very nice day today.

“Robbie Thonney in the hurdles had a breakout day. He had a lifetime best in the 300 hurdles. He looked awesome. He ran controlled, composed and was very tough down the last 50 meters. I’m really proud of his effort.

“I can’t say enough about the boys’ distance crew today,” he said. “Sean Newcomb and Ben Wolpert were fantastic in the 1,600 going one and three, and then Ben had a phenomenal 800, dropping his PR by three seconds in running 1:58.5. He was just awesome.

“And, quite possibly the ‘event of the meet’ as far as performances are concerned was the boys 3,200-meter. Every single kid PR’d by over 30 seconds! Paul Gilmore, Micah Wilwand, Jacob Leinweber and Dan Butler. They were just awesome!”

For the Wa-Hi girls, “without a doubt, the highlight of the meet was our 4x200-meter relay team (Maggie Callan, Dominique Cox, Ashley Cornia, Brittany Gibbar) setting a new school record (1:46.72). It’s been around since 1980 and to do this in a dual meet, with less time between events is awesome. It’s No. 6 in the 4A state rankings right now.

“Just like the boys 3,200, the girls 800 was fantastic, too,” Hisaw said. “Every kid PR’d by over three seconds. Courtney Cox, Kassidy Willard, Emily Atkinson, and Perla Villegas. It was a really neat to see those girls all run so well.

“Ashley ran a conference-best time in the 300 hurdles and won the event, but is starting to really become consistent. Her best is yet to come, but looked strong tonight.

“Brittany Gibbar had a super day as well,” he said. “A season-best in the 100, 400 and 200. She’s a great competitor and really battled well today. I’m really proud of her and her effort today.

“In the field events we were very solid,” Hisaw said. “We have great depth, and talent and the girls are starting to throw really well. Maddie Doepker had a two-foot PR in the shot put and just missed winning the javelin. She’s as impressive as a first-year track kid as I’ve been around in 16 years. She had a great, great day.

“Overall, it was a super, super day by our kids and I couldn’t be more pleased right now,” Hisaw said. “We started league off exactly how we wanted to. The boys are 3-0 and girls 2-1. Kamiakin’s girls may very well have the best team the Big Nine and/or MCC has ever had, in its existence. No one will beat them.

“Our kids are tough and resilient, though,” he said. “Our boys are trying to repeat as league champs and step one has been completed. This is a special, special group of kids. They are on their way to a special year!”

The Blue Devils have their next MCC meet Thursday at Pasco’s Edgar Brown Stadium.

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