Puyallup: Sports

Wind clips Heath’s record day in long jump, but junior still claims Class 4A state title

Rogers High’s Jelani Heath races in the 4A girls 100-meter dash event at Star Track XXXIV at Mount Tahoma High School on Friday, May 27.
Rogers High’s Jelani Heath races in the 4A girls 100-meter dash event at Star Track XXXIV at Mount Tahoma High School on Friday, May 27. jbessex@gateline.com

The sugar-toothed jackrabbit nearly hit the jackpot twice.

Rogers High’s Jelani Heath claimed the Class 4A state championship in girls long jump, but just missed out on a piece of history.

Heath didn’t need any extra incentive entering Friday, the second day of Star Track XXXIV at Mount Tahoma Stadium, but just for good measure, Rogers assistant coach Bailey Kappel gave a big one for the Rams’ star jumper: donuts.

“I really do (feel good). I get a chance with life. I get donuts, so I’m happy,” said Heath, who entered the meet with the state’s best jump of 19 feet, 5 1/2 inches.

She arguably deserved a baker’s dozen considering the performance the junior put on claiming the 4A title with a jump of 19-11 1/2 on her final jump.

“Yeah, donuts are life. Chocolate with sprinkles,” Heath joked.

Twice, the sugar-fueled Ram nearly snapped the 39-year-old record set by Patsy Walker of Yelm (19-9 1/2). But with a backwind reaching over 5.4 miles per hour, both of Heath’s best jumps were ruled to be aided too much.

In her second jump of the prelims, Heath took off in a flurry, and with one step in front of the plank, the Rams jumper let it all go as she sailed into the history books.

“Nothing was going through my mind, but as I was running and jumping, I just felt super high,” Heath said. “When I was going, I was like, ‘I’m still up here. Still up here.’ It felt good.”

When Heath landed, she had surpassed the previous mark, and set the new meet record with a distance of 19 feet, 10 3/4 inches.

Heath was not done yet.

Saving the best for last, the junior set flight on her best jump to date, the state-winning distance of 19-11 1/2, yet the wild wind at Mount Tahoma Stadium allowed the jump to stand in terms of placement. But not the record books as Heath’s jump was considered to be wind-aided, giving her two of the three titles she set forth coming into the meet.

“If they say they say the wind was really big (factor), then the wind was big. You don’t argue with the officials,” Heath said.

Even with her final jump not counting toward the books, coming out with the meet’s top jump and a 4A state championship is one heck of a sweetener.

Panther throw

The goal for Caleb Davis was simple entering the boys 3A shot put finals: Get to 55 feet.

“I was going for 55, but I’m a little disappointed I didn’t get there,” the Bonney Lake junior said.

Already placing in the discus (seventh, 160-2) in the morning, Davis had the chance to grab so much more in his event, the shot put.

Everett’s Nicholas Blair had just hit the event’s best, 55-1/2) with his second throw, setting Davis up with one final attempt to match his season-long goal.

Raising the shot gently above his head in his right hand before placing is squarely under his chin, Davis took one breath before releasing on a single hop.

The shot sailed center and nearly caught up to Blair’s mark, but his throw fell inches shorter than his competitor as Davis had to settle with 54-8 3/4, good for second place.

“Congrats to Nicholas, he did a great job,” Davis admitted. “I always have next year (and), 60 feet is next year’s (goal).”

Panther hurdles

The last leg of the track at Mount Tahoma Stadium was brutal on runners Saturday. It was no different for Bonney Lake High’s Cody Miller.

With Bonney Lake having a chance to place in the 3A boys teams standings, every race counted. It was no different for Miller in the 110-meter hurdles finals.

“I felt I could have gone fast. I should have had a faster time,” Miller said.

After starting a little slow, Miller began to gain his speed. But then a wall hit everyone in the race.

“Right down that part of the track, you’re running into a headwind that knocks you back,” Miller said. “You have to power through it.”

Despite the obstacle, Miller placed third (14.74 seconds) behind Shorewood’s Chris Diaz (first, 14.43) of and West Seattle’s Chaaka Trahan (second, 14.72).

Cougars in Cheney

A pair of Cascade Christian High juniors reached the podium at Eastern Washington on Saturday. Morgan Schepker placed twice: a fourth-place finish in the 400 (59.20 seconds) and sixth in the 200 (26.66) for the girls.

Leighton Lanier took home third in the boys triple jump with 44-5 1/4.

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