EAST WENATCHEE – Nine Oroville track athletes will be heading to the Class 2B state track and field finals this weekend in 11 events.
It was very nearly a lot more than that.
The Hornets had four individuals and one relay that came one place away from qualifying for state in an additional eight events. Fortunately, most actually did qualify in other events.
“It was the most brutal qualifying meet I can remember,” said Oroville coach Harold Jensen. “It was so close with five fifth places for the boys and three fourth places for the girls just missing.
“And still our athletes kept their focus, concentration and pride and continued to compete and challenge themselves with their best efforts. They should be very proud of themselves.”
Jensen added that the Hornets set or tied personal bests in 20 events (including relay splits).
Two state finals veterans earned the Hornets two district titles. Caleb Haney won the discus title with a throw of 135-0, and Callie Barker claimed the pole vault with a jump of 8-0.
Overall, the boys finished fifth as Riverside Christian edged Kittitas 142-134. Liberty Bell (89) finished third, followed by Manson (68) and the Hornets (66) out of 11 teams.
Riverside Christian also won the girls meet, beating Kittitas 126-110. Entiat (38 was fourth, followed by Oroville (77) and Lake Roosevelt (72) out of 12 teams.
Sierra Speiker qualified in all three distance events, taking third in the 800 (2:35.29), second in the 1600 (5:32.62) and second in the 3200 (12:13.60). Lake Roosevelt’s Kim Barry swept all three, as well as winning the 400.
Also qualifying for the girls were Brittany Jewett in the javelin (3rd, 5-0); Breanna Ervin in the pole vault (2nd, 7-6); and Kaitlyn Grunst in the high jump (3rd, 5-0).
“Brittany and Breanna were clutch,” Jensen said. “They qualified for state on their last attempts.”
The top three girls and top four boys qualified for the state finals. A year ago, the top four girls headed to state, which had to be frustrating for Grunst, who took fourth in the triple jump (31-2) and long jump (15-3) and came one spot and one year’s rule change from matching Sierra as a three event qualifier.
For the boys, Zack Speiker took second in the 3200 (10:19.97), C.J. Mathews was second in the triple jump (41-9.5) and Tanner Smith was fourth in the 200 (24.39) to join Haney on the qualifying list.
Just missing the cut were Luke Kindred, who took fifth in the discus (114-2) and javelin (139-11), and Ruben Renfro, who was fifth in the pole vault (8-6 on tiebreak criteria). Mathews also took fifth in the long jump (20-1.25). Mathews, Smith, Kindred and Sean DeWitte were also on the fifth-place 4×100 relay team that missed state by one place.
First events at the two-day state finals meet begin at 10 a.m. on Friday, May 25.
“The coaches are so excited for them all,” Jensen said.