The Class 2A long jump competition in southwestern Washington is, apparently, quite stiff.
Of the eight jumpers to reach the podium on the opening day of Star Track XXXIV, seven of them seven hailed from schools that compete in the 2A South Puget Sound League, or a league farther south.
“Our district (Southwest District IV) is one of the toughest districts, I think,” Black Hills junior Kyler Nygren said. “The No. 1 and 2 guys were from my district.”
Hockinson’s Kendrick Johnson (23 feet) and R.A. Long’s Ethan Sterkel (22-8) finished 1-2. Franklin Pierce’s Emmanuel Thornton took fourth (22-0).
Johnson — who had already locked up first place — set his best mark on his final jump. He also dislocated his right shoulder.
“I hit the board, everything felt great going in the air, and when I started to bring my arm back, I could feel it tighten up a little bit,” Johnson said. “When I started bringing it forward I started feeling it more.
“It didn’t really pop out until I brought it all the way forward and landed it in the sand.”
Johnson said any shoulder pain was quickly dismissed. The on-site medical crew at Mount Tahoma High School eventually popped it back in.
“I looked up and asked, ‘Did I jump to 23?’ That’s the first thing I said,” Johnson said.
Nygren was the top local finisher in the event. His rapid, stutter-step approach before launching off the board landed him a 21-7 1/4 for fifth place.
“It just gives me more pop when I jump,” he said. “At the beginning of the season I was doing just a normal step. … It made me jump farther. I was jumping, on average, mid 21s or higher, so I stuck with that.”
River Ridge’s trio of Josh Braverman (sixth, 21-7), DJ Smith (seventh, 21- 1/4) and Jordan Skipper-Brown (eighth, 20-10 1/2) rounded out the local placers.
All three bolted for the donut truck on the concourse after they stepped down from the podium.
“We got on the podium, so it’s a little reward,” Smith laughed, clutching a paper bag with a bacon maple donut inside.
Each of the three thought the event could have unfolded better, but the general consensus was the same.
“I’m happy I placed, and I hope it carries into tomorrow,” Smith said.
“Same thing,” Skipper-Brown said.
“It’s extra motivation for tomorrow to leave no mercy on the track and get first in everything else,” Braverman said.
Braverman, the top-ranked 2A hurdler in the state, breezed by the rest of the field in his 110-meter hurdles preliminary heat on Thursday. His time of 14.58 seconds gives him the No. 2 seed into Friday’s final behind Bellingham’s Benjamin Doucette (14.42).
With the 4A girls triple jump final missing Curtis’ Alexis Ellis — the sixth-ranked triple jumper in the nation, who scratched out of the 4A West Central/Southwest bi-district meet last weekend — the field opened a bit.
Enough for Timberline sophomore Keshara Romain to swoop into fourth place.
“I was so nervous,” she said.
Mostly because her best jump was her first. Her mark of 37- 1/2 held up through the finals — it was more than a foot farther than the four jumpers that placed behind her.
Rochester’s Journey Fortner — the 2A Southwest District champion in the javelin — placed sixth with a toss of 140-11.
Black Hills’ four-runner combo of Josh Brandon, Jewell Day, Edward Afeiche and Jason Underhill will be the No. 4 seed in Saturday’s 2A boys 4x400 relay finals.
The group ran a season-best time of 3:28.74 to finish third in its preliminary.
“I had one thing on my mind — make finals,” Underhill said. “I ran as fast as I could, passed three or four dudes (on the corner). … We are not done yet, we’ve still got a whole lot to do.”
Black Hills’ Madi Frampton qualified for the 2A girls 100 hurdles finals. She is the No. 8 seed with a time of 16.05.
The Tumwater girls 4x200 relay team started the day on the wrong foot — or, with a pair of feet out of place, really. A handoff snafu between Peyton Russell and Bella Foos resulted in a disqualification.
Tumwater finished its heat in third place and likely would have qualified for Saturday’s finals.
“It’s completely on me — just on our lack of knowledge on where our stagger should have been,” Foos said. “We got past it, it was really hard to deal with, but there’s always next year. … We qualified in the 4x400, so we’re just focusing on that now.”
The 4x400 relay team (Tiana Cole, Sydney Smith, Codi Short and Foos) ended the day by advancing to Saturday’s finals. The squad is seeded eighth, with a preliminary time of 4:09.71.
1A/2B/1B state track and field championships
Northwest Christian put five distance runners on the podium on Thursday at Eastern Washington University in Cheney.
Eliana Summers was the top placer for the Navigators. She took second in the 2B girls 3,200 final (11:39.19). Four runners — Jack Ammon (third, 4:27.11), Luke Bredeson (fourth, 4:27.51), Luke Schilter (fifth, 4:29.81) and Colton Buster (eighth, 4:38.81) — made the podium for Northwest Christian in the 2B boys 1,600 final.
Three hurdlers also qualified for Saturday’s finals.
Northwest Christian’s Megan McSheffrey will be the No. 2 seed in the 2B girls 300 hurdles final (46.75). Heidi Sowers is the No. 4 seed (47.38). Austin Teigen will be the No. 7 seed in the 2B boys 300 hurdles final (42.62).