Tonasket, Oroville track teams compete at Ephrata

Submitted photo - Oroville's Callie Barker hands off to Kaitlyn Grunst at Ephrata on March 24.

Submitted photo – Oroville’s Callie Barker hands off to Kaitlyn Grunst at Ephrata on March 24.

EPHRATA – Tonasket and Oroville both traveled to Ephrata on Saturday, March 24, for Ephrata’s Ray Cross Invitational, featuring more than 38 schools of all sizes, including a couple from Oregon and Alaska.

The home squad won the boys meet with 147 points to outdistance Class 4A Richland (91.5). Tonasket finished 12th overall with 21 points, fourth among 1A or 2B schools. Oroville didn’t score in the boys meet.

Cheney won the girls meet with 118 points to edge Richland (111), with Oroville finishing 10th (18.5) and Tonasket 21st (4). The Hornets were fourth among 1A and 2B schools.

Hornet state placers fare well

Oroville coach Harold Jensen noted that the size and quality of the Ephrata meet provided a challenge for the Hornets, particularly with it being their first competition of the season.

“The athletes were able to compete and get some times, distances and heights,” he said. “From there they will be able to work on PRs.

The Ray Cross is growing into a very large meet. About the only individuals that can place are previous state placers.”

That proved true on Saturday as none of the boys placed in the top eight. State qualifier Caleb Haney came the closest with a 10th place finish in the discus (114-6).

The Hornet girls had several break onto the medal stand, all returning state placers from last year.

Callie Barker took third place in the pole vault (8-6); Sierra Speiker finished fourth in the 1600 (5:31.03) and fourth in the 3200 (11:50.26); and Kaitlyn Grunst was sixth in the high jump (4-10).

The Hornets host their annual home meet, the Eagle Home Mortgage Invitational, on Saturday, March 31, with field events beginning at 11:30 a.m. and running events starting at noon. Tonasket and a dozen other 1A, 2B and 1B teams will be in attendance.

Breakout meet for Villalva

Tonasket got strong performances from where it expected on the boys side as seniors Damon Halvorsen and John Stedtfeld each had big days. Stedtfeld finished sixth in both the 100 (11.54) and 200 (23.88), while Halvorsen took third in the 1600 (4:45.66) and second in the 3200 with a PR of 10:08.33.

“Damon ran a couple very good races in a big meet, proving he can run with anyone,” said Tonasket coach Bob Thornton. “He is getting pace down and is running very well.

“John is a lot stronger this year and is running very well. He is a competitor that steps up and runs well in big meets. His hard work in practice the last few years is really starting to pay off.”

Sophomore Zach Villalva, made a big mark himself with a 12th place finish in the 100 (11.75, in a field of 63), 16th in the 200 (24.55) and 12th in the long jump (19-1).

“Zach is really coming on strong especially for his first year in track,” Thornton said. “As he gets more experience he is going to be a force to reckon with in many different events.”

The 4×100 relay team of Villalva, Stedtfeld, Smith Condon and Jake Hickman placed eighth out of 24 with a time of 47.01.

The Tonasket girls were led by Kylie Dellinger, who took seventh in the 1600 (5:48.30).

“Kylie is running smart races and her hard work is showing,” Thornton said. “She is coming on good and is going to be one the better distance runners in our league.”

Other top Tiger performers included the 4×100 relay team of Kelly Cruz, Kathryn Cleman, Karlie Henneman and Amber Kilpatrick (7th, 54.90); Kilpatrick, Henneman, Cassie Spear and Cruz in the 4×200 (9th, 1:59.20); Kylie Dellinger, Devan Utt, Kyndra Dellinger and Kilpatrick in the 4×400 (9th, 4:52.21); Utt in the 100 hurdles (10th, 18.01); and Spear in the 400 (12th, 1:07.97).

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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