Wa-Hi performs right on track as postseason approaches

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PASCO — Walla Walla High School’s boys track team picked up victories over Pasco and Richland, and the girls handed the host Bulldogs a loss but fell to the Bombers in a league meet at Edgar Brown Stadium Thursday.

The Blue Devil boys manhandled Pasco, 114-31, and took the 92-53 decision over Richland.

The girls got a 104-37 win over the Bulldogs before taking the 99-45 loss to the Bombers.

“Tonight was a night where I am almost out of words to describe the effort our kids gave,” Wa-Hi coach Eric Hisaw wrote in an email. “On the girls’ side of the meet, the score was NOT indicative of how well our kids performed. Last week, we went against what may be the best team the conference has ever seen, and this week, we get a team (Richland) that may go contend for the 4A state title.

“Richland is incredibly deep and talented,” he said. “Our girls fought and scratched and competed like the champions they are. We had some outstanding marks and just got beat by a better team.”

Highlighting the girls’ effort were personal bests by Madison Doepker, who improved by two feet to finish second at 36 feet, two inches. She was followed by teammates Hannah Burns, who was third with a three-foot season best 25-03.75), Katarina Tonhdavong (fourth, 32-1.00) and Lauren Wardwell (fifth, 31-04.50), who PR’d by a foot and a half.

“They were just outstanding and I can’t say enough about their efforts today,” Hisaw said. “Just a super, super day.

“The javelin was not far behind as the girls made it a clean sweep by going 1-2-3!” he said. “Maddie Sirmon (first, 118-10), Marie Hallowell (second, 114-00) and Madison Doepker (third, 112-07) have established themselves as the best throwers in the league. They are great technicians and hate to lose to each other. They are a blast to watch, and we know their best is yet to come.”

Tonhdavong finished second in the discus at 112-05, followed by Sirmon (102-06) and Doepker (100-05), who both had personal best throws.

In the pole vault, Brenna Barnett has set new personal marks the last three meets and finished fifth at 8-feet even.

“She has become a really good vaulter for us,” Hisaw said. “I’m really proud of her and the work she’s put in.”

For the girls on the track, “there were a ton of super marks today,” he said. “We were a bit banged up with some injuries and missing six girls from our distance crew, who are competing in the State Future Business Leaders of America competition, and that’s difficult to overcome.

“Our girls really fought hard and had some super performances.”

Hope Snyder took third in the 100 hurdles in 17.70.

“She is starting to become a serious hurdler, Hisaw said. “The minute she decides to three-step two or three hurdles in a race, she may become a conference title contender. She’s really getting quick.”

Courtney Cox was second in the 1,600 meters.

“She ran a fantastic mile today,” Hisaw said. “She ran a lifetime best of 5:19.65. She’s so tough mentally and did a nice job of staying within herself and running her race today. Very neat for her to run that fast today.”

The 4x200m relay of Dominique Cox, Ally Gibbar, Maggie Callan and Ashley Cornia won in 1:47.60.

“They ran very well in their win,” Hisaw said. “They’ve been very consistent and ran on really tired legs today. They really rose to the occasion and performed fantastic!”

In the sprints, Ashley Cornia picked up second-place finishes in the 200 (27.09) and 400 (1:00.59).

“Ashley, Maggie Callan (fourth, 27.30) and Dominique (Cox, fifth, 27.49) all ran a season best in the 200 today. And in the 400, Ashley ran a superb race. It’s her first open 400 of the year and she almost beat the conference leader!”

On the boys’ side of things, “I just couldn’t be more proud,” Hisaw said. “Richland is very, very talented and it really scared me when I scored the meet during the week to give them an idea of what we’re up against.

“But, these boys continue to rise up to every challenge in their path,” he said. “They are just awesome.

“I wish I could talk about every kid, but I can’t. But we’ve got terrific leadership from our seniors and juniors. They are tremendous competitors and just refuse to get beaten.”

Stuart Gillin won the 100 in 11.29 and the 200 in 22.96, Ben Wolpert won the 800 in 1:59.96 and was second in the 1,600 in 4:37.12, and Sean Newcomb won the 1,600 in 4:37.10 and was second in the 3,200 in 10:22.81.

Ethan Gardner was fourth in the 100 and 200, Robert Miller was sixth in the 200 and second in the 400, and Jonah Hoe was third in the 400.

“Stuart Gillin, Ethan Gardner, Robbie Miller and Jonah Hoe were just

dominant today,” Hisaw said. “It’s a blast watching them compete.

“Robbie had a lifetime best in the 400 today. I’m so happy for him, he’s such a great worker and kid.

“Stu was a double winner as well, and looked really good after nursing a hamstring all week.

“Jonah has been hobbled for almost a month with a hamstring as well, and is about 90 percent, and is ready to break out. He looked awfully good today in his race.

“Ben Wolpert, Sean Newcomb and Paul Gilmore (third in the 3,200) were rock solid today,” Hisaw said. “They did exactly what we needed them to do. They were business-like and other than a close 800-meter run, they were dominant.”

The Wa-Hi boys’ 4x400 relay “was perhaps the race of the day,” Hisaw said of the 3:31.19 victory by Miller, Rob Thonney, Gardner and Wolpert.

“They ran toe-to-toe with Richland and Chiawana for the entire race. The kids run gutsy and smart. In the end, Ethan ran both teams down in the last 30 meters for the win. Just a fantastic way to end the meet on the

track!”

In field events, Logan Reardon won the shot put at 48-05.50 and the javelin at 166-06, and was fourth in discus in 138-06.

Sirmon won the pole vault at 14-06.00, beating teammate Garret Kenny by a foot.

“Pete cleared 14-6 on his first attempt and had three fantastic efforts at a school record of 15-1 — just barely knocking the bar off on his last two attempts,” Hisaw said. “It’s really cool for our kids to see the No. 1-ranked 4A vaulter in the state attempt heights like that.”

Sirmon was also second in the long jump at 21-03.50.

“He was awesome in the long jump,” Hisaw said. “He PR’d by a foot to get second and darn near won the event (won by Richland’s Payton Radliff at 21-09.00). He really rose to the occasion and performed at a very high level.

“In the javelin, Logan Reardon won it by two inches and Nik Miner also had a lifetime best to help us go first and third. It set a great tone to the rest of the kids that Walla Walla was not here to fool around.”

Darnell Handcox had a season best in the triple jump for second overall at 40-10.00, an inch off the winning jump.

“But he beat the Richland kids that had jumped farther than he had this season,” Hisaw said.

The Blue Devils host the third and final league meet at Martin Field at 4 p.m. on Thurday.

“We are outstanding because of our staff and our kids’ ability to trust and then compete,” he said. “We’ve got a great situation ahead of us as well. We end the regular season at home with a chance to finish third on the girls’ side and league champs on the boys’ side. It’ll be fun to have a chance to do that in front of our hometown on May 2nd!”

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