PASCO — The Walla Walla High School throwing trio of Madison Doepker, Madelyn Sirmon and Katarina Tonhdavong led the Blue Devils here at Edgar Brown Stadium in District 6 4A track and field action.
The trio led the girls to a fourth-place finish in the team standings with 94.5 points, as Central Valley took the district team title with 140 points.
On the boys side, the 4X100 relay team of Brennen Barberick, Stuart Gillin, Darnell Handcox and Ethan Gardner posted a 42.82 seconds run to win the 4X100 relay title.
“We’ve had guys hurt in freak accidents and they only ran one race since May 1,” Wa-Hi coach Eric Hisaw said. “We passed the stick so well. They handled the ups and downs (of the season). It’s a special accomplishment for them.”
The 4X100 relay paced the Blue Devils to a sixth-place finish behind Mead’s 129 points, as the Panthers took the boys team title.
The defending state girls javelin champion, Sirmon, took the first step in defending her title as she threw 138 feet, four inches to win the event. The regional only qualifies the top two in each event to the state final and Doepker took third with a 129-07 effort, and missed the state qualifying mark by 2.5 feet.
“Sirmon had a good series of throws,” Hisaw said of the javelin competition. “It’s always special to win a regional title. Doepker just couldn’t quite hit the mark.”
In the girls shot, Doepker bounced back to captured the title with a new Wa-Hi school record heave of 38-05.25 to edge Tonhdavong, who finished second at 37-10.5.
“Doepker was upset after the javelin because that is her favorite event,” Hisaw said. “She transitioned and didn’t let the disappointment in one event affect her in the next event. She uncorked a school record to earn her first state trip.”
Tonhdavong led the Blue Devils to a two, three, four finish in the discus. Richland’s Macey Weitz won the event at 131-06, but Wa-Hi claimed the next three spots. Tonhdavong took second with a 125-10 effort, Doepker was next at 124-05 and Sirmon finished fourth at 120-08.
“Tonhdavong was third (out of state qualifying) heading to her last throw,” Hisaw said. “She hit her 125-10 and got the second ticket.”
On the boys side, Gillin, in addition to his leg on the 4X100, placed third in the 100 meters, and Andrew Granchuckoff took third place in the boys javelin.
Gillin ran a 11.52 in the 100 to finish behind Pasco’s Christian Young who won the race in 11.32. Granchuckoff’s heave of 170-07 was good for third as Mead’s Luke Hilmes won the event with an 185-00 effort.
Distance stand out, Courtney Cox, ran both the 1600 and the 3200 for the Blue Devil girls. Cox finished third in 11:02.66 in the 3200 and ran to fourth in the 1600 in 5:12.66. Richland’s Lauren Perry completed the distance double with wins in both the 1600 (5:00.46) and the 3200 (10:48.92).
“The heartbreak of the meet was Courtney in the 3200,” Hisaw said. “The other two girls just had a little more speed at the end. She ran her best 1600 of the year. It breaks my heart (that she didn’t get a state spot).”
Colleen Gibbons ran to fifth and sixth in the girls 300 and 100 hurdles, respectively. Gibbons finished the 300 hurdles in 48.40 and the 100 in 17.10.
“Collen had the weekend of her life,” Hisaw said. “She ran lifetime bests.”
Hannah Hampson and the girls 4X100 relay team capped the Blue Devils race to the fourth place team finish. Hampson ran a 2:26.53 to finish sixth in 800. The relay team of Kendall Davis, Hannah Moeller, Gibbons and Miranda Doyle finished fifth in the 4X100 with a 51.14 run.
In the field, Kate Hogan cleared 4-10 in the high jump to earn Wa-Hi fourth place points.
On the boys side, Ethan Gardner finished fifth in the 100 (11.83) and then ran to fourth in the 200 with a run of 22.78.
Freshman Alex Iben ran both the 1600 (13th in 51.94) and the 3200 (8th in 9:55.63). Hisaw noted that Iben’s 3200 was the best freshman time in the event since 2000. Rob Thonney took sixth in the 300 hurdles in 41.6.
In the field, Nathan Brewer launched a 134-07 effort in the discus to finish fifth. Andrew Granchuckoff was third in the javelin with a throw of 170-07, missing second by seven inches. Freshman Mitchell Jacobson cleared 5-08 in the high jump to place seventh behind Central Valley’s Jakobe Ford. Ford won the event by clearing 6-07.
Sirmon in the javelin, Doepker in the shot, Tonhdavong in the shot and discus, and the boys 4X100 relay team of Barberick, Gillin, Handcox, and Gardner will advance as state qualifiers. The Blue Devils travel to Tacoma for the State 4A Meet on Thursday.
“It’s about more than just the state qualifiers,” Hisaw summarized. “I’m happy that the kids were not content just to get to the regional meet, but all 54 of them went and competed. The seniors go out on high notes. The kids left the meet feeling good about their efforts.”