EUGENE, Ore. – A baton isn’t something Jack Yearian is particularly used to having in his hand.
Not that the extra bit of added weight made much of a difference to the Bellarmine Prep senior on Friday at Hayward Field. Trailing two runners when he began his leg of the boys distance medley relay, Yearian passed both 800 meters in.
“It’s just like any other race, except there’s a baton in your hand,” he said. “Besides that, nothing different. You’ve just got to run with the pack and finish hard.”
Grinning, he left Henry Jackson’s Matthew Watkins about 25 meters behind him by the time he reached the finish line.
“I was pretty confident that I could run with those guys,” Yearian said. “My coach told me right before I went out – remember, you have four laps to catch this guy, so don’t freak out in the first two laps.
“I kind of slowly reeled him in and once I got 800 into the race, I still felt pretty smooth and I just wanted to finish hard.”
Cameron Wyman, John DeVita and Spencer Fisher ran the first three legs. Bellarmine finished with a meet-record time of 10:16.33. It beat its own meet record from last year by more than two seconds – Yearian anchored that team, too.
The relay consists of four legs – 1,200 meters, 400, 800 and 1,600. Yearian said Bellarmine runs the race once a year.
“When you stay consistent and focus, the job gets done,” he said. “It’s just easy to come out on a night like this and look back at the work you’ve done, and it really just gives you a lot of confidence going into races like this.”
Jelani Heath, a Rogers junior, took first in the girls long jump with a personal best, meet-record mark of 19-01.5. And she had the fifth-best qualifying time in a 52-runner field for Saturday’s 100-meter dash finals.
“I performed here last year and I had a lot of nerves,” she said. “I just went out there and just kind of chilled a little bit. It's fun. I love it here.”
But, more importantly, she gets donuts for Friday’s accomplishments – chocolate with sprinkles if she has her choice.
“I looked up at my coach (after my first jump) and she was like, ‘I'm buying you donuts!’ Because it's like a motivation,” Heath said.
Gig Harbor’s Connor Jost took first in the shot put by nine inches, recording a 54-11.25. He was the top-seeded competitor coming into the event and is currently ranked No. 3 in Washington state in any classification.
Ryan Gregory, a Gig Harbor senior, took sixth in the 3,000-meter run in his fourth trip to Hayward at a personal-best time of 8:39.08.
“This is one of my favorite races of the year,” he said. “It’s really exciting to be at such a historic place where I can watch other really good runners run. It’s just exciting to be out there with them.”
Mason Sallee figures he’ll get Grant’s (Portland) Harrison Schrage in the triple jump on Saturday. Schrage set a meet record in the long jump on Friday to beat Sallee’s personal-best mark of 23-0.5.
“I knew the competition was pretty good this year,” said Sallee, a Federal Way senior. “For me to come out second, I honestly did better than I thought. I’m happy with it.”
River Ridge’s Josh Braverman took fourth at a personal-best 22-05.
Kent Meridian had a pair of third-place finishers in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Anthony Raftis, a senior, finished the boys race with a time of 10:00.25. Junior Olivia Baerny posted a 12:09.2 in the girls race.
Kent Meridian’s girls 4x200 relay combo of Jaleesa Taylor, Keely Phommathirath, Caila Tongco and Olivia Carter finished fifth. Its time of 1:46.24 was the best of any school from Washington.
Foss product Marcus Chambers – now a junior at the University of Oregon – ran a personal best 20.94 to finish second in the men’s 200-meter dash. He lost to Devon Allen by 0.26, who is also a wide receiver for the Ducks.