WALLA WALLA — The goal at Martin Field on a hot Tuesday afternoon was to finish in the top eight in District 9 sub-district track and field action and earn a spot at the district meet in Clarkston next Thursday.
The top two in each event at district qualify for state berths.
Waitsburg-Prescott’s James Thompkins did more, as the W-P junior won the 100-, 200- and 400-meters, and anchored W-P’s winning 4x100 relay team.
“It was a good day,” Thompkins said. “I’m a little tired. It was hot.”
Thompkins ran to a season-best 11.16 seconds in winning the 100.
“I got a PR in the 100,” Thompkins said. “It was good.”
Thompkins ran to victory in the 400 in 51.87.
“Sadly to say, the 400 (is my favorite race),” Thompkins continued. “I hated it in the beginning and now I love it because I know I can get better.”
W-P’s 4x100 relay team — D.J. Leroue, Brendan Donovan, Alex Dill and Thompkins — ran to a 1.5-second PR to edge Walla Walla Valley Academy by .33 seconds as W-P, anchored by Thompkins, won in 44.79.
Thompkins iced his meet with a 23.33 win in the 200.
Thompkins advances in all four events to the district, with hopes of landing state berths in all four events.
“I’m going to try and get firsts in all of them,” Thompkins concluded. “I’m more concerned with the 100 and 200. I don’t want to underestimate them, but make sure I go there with my head on and make sure I’m going to beat them at the end.”
As Thompkins dominated the sprints, Walla Walla Valley Academy’s Brandon Bissell dominated the hurdles. Bissell won the 110 hurdles in 16.22, and won the 300 hurdles in 43.86.
“The 110 is my favorite event,” Bissell said. “(In the 300), I felt really slow, but I got a pretty good time.”
Bissell also went 20-feet, 1.5 inches to win the long jump.
“Last week, I jumped 18 feet but wasn’t having good jumps,” Bissell said. “This time, I got way better with different technique.”
Bissell, whose 4x100 relay team of Alex Aamodt, Caleb Atkins, Wesley Hendrickson and Bissell, came in with the state’s No. 2 Class B time of 45.54, was edged by W-P.
“Our handoffs weren’t as good as they could’ve been,” Bissell said of the relay. “We’ll get it next week.”
The Knights maintained their success in the hurdles as freshman Abbie Underhill turned a 49.53 to capture the girls 300 hurdles.
“It was a good race, but it is really hot,” Underhill said. “I got kind of off-balance as I took too many steps between a couple of the hurdles. That (300 hurdles) is my forte.”
Underhill set a personal best, by a foot, in winning the long jump as she leaped 17-feet even. The leap moved her from No. 6 in the state 2B ranks to No. 2.
“I’m pretty excited about that,” Underhill said. “I hope that I can do the same thing in districts.”
DeSales qualified 18 of its 19 athletes to district meet.
“We had good performances all around,” Irish coach Michael Scheel said. “Most of the girls just got it down, made sure they qualified as they’re battling injuries.”
DeSales’ Allison Wujek defended her favorite’s role in the girls 100 hurdles.
Wujek, who has the second fastest time of 15.94 in the state B rankings, won in 16.10.
Wujek, in the field, tied for first in the high jump at 4-6.
“I should’ve done better,” Wujek said. “I messed up my patella last week, and am hoping to come back strong at district. My goal is to get down in the 15s. Today, I just wanted to qualify in my events. The high jump and the hurdles are my main focus.”
Scheel highlighted the performances of Pablo Rodriguez, who “had a huge PR” in the shot put at 35 feet, and Isaiah Scheel, a staple on the DeSales relays this season who turned in an 11.4 in the 100 to put him in the top four in school history.
On the field side for W-P, Ben Shafer had the second-best shot put throw in the state B rankings at 47-04.00, and on his first throw of the day, Shafer got off a 45-02.5 heave and it stood up as he qualified No. 1 to the district meet.
“It wasn’t the best day that I’ve had,” Shafer said. “It is pretty hot. This is the event I’m hoping to go win at state. I placed fifth last year. My last three throws (today) weren’t very good at all. I’m still working on my form. It’s never going to be perfect, but it’s getting better.”
Dayton sophomore Kaitlyn Andrews has the state’s Class B fourth-best girls javelin throw at 122-10.
The heat, placing in the 100, and St. John-Endicott’s Annie Bailey, cost the Bulldog on this day. Bailey got off a 115-7 throw, and although Andrews continually improved after a DQ throw on her first attempt, her third attempt came up 113-4, good enough for a second spot to district.
“I’ve been pushing it sideways,” Andrews said of her first throw. “I also had a bad day with shot (third place) as I hurt my elbow. I ran over here after doing the 100 and started throwing. I started to do better toward the end as I started to get rested up again.”
Bailey and Andrews would appear the javelin favorites heading to district, as no one else here has gone over 104 feet this season.
“I honestly should’ve gone (to state last year),” Andrews said. “I had a meltdown at districts. This year I have to go.”
In the boys javelin, Andrew Elmenhurst earned first place for DeSales. Elmenhurst didn’t come close to his state leading 161-0, but got off a 149-11 toss to win the event.
“That (149-11) was my first throw of the day,” Elmenhurst said. “The day I threw my PR (161-0), everything clicked. My form was good. I tweaked my shoulder last week, and was going to lay low today.”
Elmenhurst will look to earn his first state javelin ticket at district.
“I started this (javelin) the second meet of the year,” Elmenhurst said. “I hadn’t thrown before. It is fun.”
As the sun set, W-P looked to be in good shape to challenge for numerous state berths at district.
“It was a hot day,” W-P coach Jeff Bartlow said. “The heat affected our jumpers and throwers as they had to jump in the heat of the day. I was pretty excited about a lot of things that took place. It’ll be tough at district as Asotin has a bunch of talented kids.”
Complete results were not available this morning.