TACOMA — Junior Katarina Tonhdavong carried the Wa-Hi banner here Thursday at Mount Tahoma Stadium during the first day of competition at the Washington Class 4A state track and field meet.
Tonhdavong flung the discus 129 feet, 8 inches on her second-to-last throw to finish second in the event, much to the enjoyment of a large gathering of family members, many of whom watched her compete for the very first time.
Sadie Nielsen of Moses Lake won the event with a throw of 136 feet while Tonhdavong edged Arlington’s Lyndsay Leatherman, who had a best throw of 126-4 for third place.
“What an absolutely fabulous day for Katarina,” Wa-Hi coach Eric Hisaw said. “She handled herself so well over here, and we are all so proud of her.”
Tonhdavong’s throw didn’t quite equal her career best mark of 131 feet at last weekend’s regional meet. But considering the weather conditions, it was more than commendable in Hisaw’s estimation.
“She was throwing in the rain and she handled herself very well mentally,” Hisaw said. “Her first throw kind of sailed on her and was only 94 feet, but her second was 120 feet. By her fifth throw she popped the second best throw of her life, 129-8, and she was 124 feet on her sixth throw. That’s a really good series in the finals.”
Tonhdavong was making her second consecutive appearance at state. Last year she finished in 10th place.
“There was a different expectation this year,” Hisaw said. “Katarina wasn’t in awe this year.”
Several other Blue Devils competed during Friday’s first day of competition.
Senior Logan Reardon placed ninth in the boys shot put with a mark of 49-10.25 and junior Ben Wolpert finished 11th in the 1,600 meters in a time of 4 minutes, 21.17 seconds. And a quartet of senior girls — Ashley Cornia, Dominique Cox, Brittany Gibbar and Maggie Callan — were clocked in 4:02.55 but failed to qualify for the finals of the 4x400 relay.
“I know they are all a little disappointed not to get to the medal stand,” Hisaw said. “But we are still very proud of them.
“For Logan and Ben, to finish ninth and 11th in a meet where there are 90-some schools and who knows how many kids in every event is very special. And those four girls came very close to matching their school-record time of 3:58.15 set last week at regionals. It’s still the second-best time in school history.”
A number of Blue Devils will be in action during today’s second-round of competition.
Hannah Burns is scheduled to throw the shot put, Cornia will run the 300 hurdles and Peter Sirmon will be in the pole vault. Wa-Hi’s boys and girls 400 relay teams are also up, with Robbie Miller, Stuart Gillin, Darnell Handcox and Eathan Gardner passing the baton for the boys and Hannah Moeller, Cox, Callan and Ally Gibbar for the girls.
Maddie Sirmon throws the javelin on Saturday.