Halvorsen, relay just short of 1A track hardware

Brent Baker / staff photo — Tonasket's Damon Halvorsen broke the 10 minute barrier for the second straight meet and nearly matched his PR in finishing ninth in the 3200 at the 1A state finals on Saturday, May 26.

Brent Baker / staff photo — Tonasket’s Damon Halvorsen broke the 10 minute barrier for the second straight meet and nearly matched his PR in finishing ninth in the 3200 at the 1A state finals on Saturday, May 26.

CHENEY – Tonasket’s state 1A finals representatives ran the races they wanted to last weekend.

It wasn’t enough for Damon Halvorsen or the boys 4×100 relay team to bring home a medal, but both came close.

“In track, it is hard to peak three weeks in a row,” said Tonasket coach Bob Thornton. “With our district and regional meets being so tough, the athletes have to be at their best at both the district and regional meets to qualify and move on.

“By the time state gets here it is hard to be at your peak for the third meet in three weeks. That is why I am so impressed with how they did.”

Halvorsen finished one spot out of the medals, despite running a race that was nearly identical to his regional-winning performance a week ago. His time of 9:58.23 was a couple seconds off his PR.

Halvorsen said his main goal was to crack the 10 minute barrier again, though he admitted he might have changed things up a bit if he’d known he was one spot out of the medals.

“I wanted to break 10 again, but mostly I was just having fun with it,” he said. “I wanted to establish that last week wasn’t just a one-day wonder.

“I thought I was further back than I was. I might have picked up (my pace) a little to stick with the pack a little more.”

After making state in track as a sophomore but not returning as a junior, getting back there as a senior gave Halvorsen the chance to end his high school career the way he wanted.

“It was a very satisfying year,” he said. “Making it back to state in track was a big thing. It ended the way I wanted it to.”

The 4×100 relay team of Zach Villalva, Smith Condon, Jake Hickman and John Stedtfeld finished seventh in their preliminary heat 44.8) but 10th overall. The Tigers had the misfortune of being in what was by far the faster of the two heats. As Stedtfeld later pointed out, the Tigers would have been fourth in the other prelim and might have had a shot at breaking into the medals. The top three finishers, and next top two fastest times, advanced to Saturday’s final.

“They all represented the team, the school and the community very well,” Thornton said. “We are proud of them.”

Hoquiam won the boys title and Orting was the girls champion, but otherwise the rest of the state discovered what the Caribou Trail League did about the NEA, which dominated last week’s District 6/7 meet. On the boys side, NEA teams claimed four of the top eight team scores, and every conference team finished in the top 20. Cashmere led the CTL boys by finishing 13th. Newport’s Aaron Castle set a meet record with a shot put toss of 64-4.5.

For the girls, four NEA teams cracked the top 10 and five were in the top 15, and Riverside’s Anandae Clark set an all-class state finals record in the pole vault with a leap of 12-7. Cashmere led the CTL girls with a ninth place finish, and Okanogan’s Maddie Timm won the high jump state title with a leap of 5-5.

About Brent Baker

Brent is a reporter for the Gazette-Tribune. Prior to working at the G-T, he was the sports editor for Sunrise Publishing from 2000-2005 in Michigan. He subsequently owned and operated Buckland Media, a high school sports website, in Michigan until 2010. He and his wife Kim, who have an adult son, moved to Tonasket in 2010. Brent started work at the G-T in 2011.

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