Seven Wa-Hi athletes at state track meet


TACOMA — The Walla Walla High School track and field team sent seven competitors to the Washington state Championships at Mt. Tahoma High School on Saturday.

Wa-Hi’s Maddy Sirmon led the Blue Devil contingent as she finished fourth in the javelin with a throw of 136 feet, 11 inches. Sirmon, who won the event at state last year, finished less than a foot away from the third-place finisher.

“She threw well and just got beat,” Wa-Hi coach Eric Hisaw said. “Still, you’re the fourth best kid in the state of Washington and it’s still a tremendous accomplishment. I’m really happy for her and anytime you end up on the podium, it’s always a tremendous accomplishment.”

Fellow Blue Devil Madi Doepker finished seventh in the shot put with a heave of 37 feet. Teammate Katarina Tonhdavong finished 11th with a mark of 35 feet, eight inches.

Doepker, in her first state meet, reached the final on her final throw of the preliminary round.

“That throw put her into the finals pretty safely,” Hisaw said. “Sometimes that first year is tough on the nerves and she handled it really, really well. She should be really happy about things.”

Tonhdavong also competed in the discus, where she finished ninth. Her throw of 111 feet, seven inches wasn’t her best, Hisaw said, but Tonhdavong made Wa-Hi history by competing in two throwing events.

“She just had a tough day,” Hisaw said. “She was second here last year. She just couldn’t get in the right groove. She fought, but she couldn’t get in a groove. It’s a tremendous field.

“She’s the first girl in the 17 years I’ve been here to qualify in two throws at the state track meet,” Hisaw said.

The boys 4x100 relay team of Brennen Barberich, Stuart Gillin, Darnell Handcox and Ethan Gardner missed the finals by just .05 seconds.

“We just didn’t run great,” Hisaw said. “We were fourth in our heat. We’re proud of them nonetheless. You get one time to do it and that’s it. Ninth is still better than tenth.”

The meet marks the end of the season for the Blue Devils and Hisaw credited his outgoing seniors for their tremendous work throughout their Wa-Hi careers.

“This group of seniors have been such leaders for us and such ambassadors for our sport,” he said. “Their work ethic and the way they do things right have been huge for us. We hope the kids behind them see how they did it and carry on their tradition.

“They were so influential in what we’ve done and we’ll miss them,” Hisaw added. “It’s been a great year for us. A lot of great things for us. We’re awfully young — it’s a bright, bright future for us. We welcome a lot of kids back next year. We’re in a great spot to be in right now.”


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