Turns out all Rainier High School’s Brayden Lasher needed was a new pole.
“I had a pole all season and it’s been too stiff for me to get on,” he said. “I’ve been working with it. This week in practice it’s been really hot, so I was able to bend it because they’re softer in the heat.
“And then, today, I figured I’d give it a shot even though the weather’s not as good as it has been, and it worked out for me.”
Lasher — who already had the Class 2B state best mark in the boys pole vault at 13 feet — raised the bar Saturday at the Chehalis Activators Invitational, when he cleared 13-06. He took first in the event, upsetting W.F. West’s Beau Stidham, the favorite.
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“I like competing with more people than I’m used to,” Lasher said. “It’s usually the same people at every meet, and it’s just cool to get new competition and meet new people. Pole vault’s not super competitive, you just do the best you can and see how it all comes out.”
Lasher was one of two Rainier athletes to pick up first-place finishes at the meet, which included 21 teams from the 2A, 1A, 2B and 1B classifications.
Rainier’s Peyton Dungan also took first in the girls shot put. Dungan is the reigning 2B state champion, and tossed 40-05 — 2 inches short of her state-best 40-07.
“I scratched a lot — I think four,” she said. “I couldn’t find the center. … I had a really tough time. … The one, I guess I figured myself out and relaxed and got it.”
▪ Rochester’s Josh Kennedy finished in the top three in all four events he competed in. He took first in the high jump at 5-10 — his personal-best mark of 6-5 is tied for fifth in the state in 2A — before scratching all three attempts at 6-2.
“I felt like I probably could have done better if I went 6-0 and then 6-2, but it is what it is,” Kennedy said. “I feel accomplished today.”
Kennedy took second in both the triple jump (42-08) and 300-meter hurdles (41.39 seconds), and third in the 110 hurdles (16.32). Both of his hurdles finishes were personal bests.
▪ Rochester’s Journey Fourtner won the boys javelin at 166-10. He is ranked second in the state in 2A.
▪ The Black Hills boys team took first overall with 108 points. W.F. West was a distant second with 80.
The Wolves’ Jason Underhill — who is ranked No. 2 in 2A — took first in the 400 at 50.97. He edged Tumwater’s Andrew Dellsite by 0.58 seconds. Dellsite broke into the top 10 in 2A with his second-place finish.
“To be honest, the kid from Tumwater next to me gave me a little bit of a scare,” Underhill said. “He hung in there and I wasn’t ready for that, but coming down the stretch I tried to be as big and strong as possible.”
Black Hills also won the 4x100 boys relay (44.22) and 4x400 relay (3:33.79). Both of those relay teams are ranked in the top 10 in 2A.
“Just get stronger, that’s all that we need to do, really,” said Kyler Nygren, who ran the first leg of the 4x100. “Get stronger, get faster. Just getting good handoffs, and I think we’ll be able to do really good.”
Dellsite also won the 800 at 2:04.67. Tumwater’s Evan Groat won the 1,600 at 4:34.42.
▪ After opening the track portion of the meet with a victory in the 4x200 relay, the Tumwater girls finished second in the team competition behind Canada’s Maple Ridge.
The relay combo of Sydney Smith, Codi Short, Peyton Russell and Bella Foos combined for a season-best time of 1:48.60 — that mark moves them up to seventh-best in 2A.
“Our handoffs were super strong, everyone ran a really strong leg,” said Foos, who anchored the race. “Our first and second leg was good to take the lead. Peyton Russell just took it away for us. She made our lead even bigger and it made it easy for me to get it and finish strong for us.”
Foos also took second in the 100 (13.37) and third in the 200 (26.5). Russell, a two-time 2A state champion in the triple jump, did not compete in that particular event.
Tiana Cole won the girls 300 hurdles at 48.61. Her personal-best time also cracked the top 10 in 2A.
“I just got out really fast and I remembered to keep my form and snap my arms down,” Cole said. “When I hit the corner, I just remembered attack, attack, attack. I just finished strong.”