Hanford’s Joe Gauthier swept the sprints Saturday, helping the Falcons to the team title at the inaugural Clay Lewis Invitational at Hanford High School.
The Falcons piled up 149 points, Kennewick (120.5) and Chiawana (119.5).
While Gauthier turned in a respectable time of 11.13 seconds in the 100 meters, his time of 22.03 in the 200 meters was a personal best, and just a half-second off Ben Kelly’s school record of 21.50.
“I’ll be breaking his record soon,” Gauthier said of Kelly’s mark. “My hundred needs to be faster — sooner than later. I’m definitely happy with my 200. I just have to not die the last 5 meters of the race.”
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Fast is the key word for Gauthier, who is hoping to land a track and field scholarship and win a state title.
“I want to be the best,” he said. “It’s hard, but you have to do it.”
Gauthier, who also ran on the 4x100 relay team that finished third, was named co-male athlete of the meet with Chiawana’s Germain Barnes, who won the 110 hurdles (15.57) and the 300 hurdles (40.46).
Gauthier had company on the podium Saturday, with teammate Caleb Olson winning the 800 (2:05.72).
“I’m not normally a good 800 runner,” said Olson, who is a sophomore. “This is the first time this season I have run it, and the first time I have won. On any given day, anyone can have a good race. I had a good day.”
Chiawana’s Dominic Lee finally uncorked a mighty leap in the triple jump, soaring 46-0 1/4 on his final attempt of the meet to win the event. He has the second-best mark in the state this season.
In the boys 4x400 relay, Kennewick rallied from fifth place after two laps to win the event in 3:32.03 — the second-best 3A time in the state this spring.
The Lions were fifth when Cedric Riel handed the baton off to Johan Correa. Correa picked off runners around the track, and had a one-step lead when he gave the baton to anchor man Austin Albertin.
Albertin took off and held off the competition, finishing two steps ahead of Deer Park’s Connor O’Dea.
“We came into the meet with the fastest time, but they had us with no time, so we got the slow lane,” Albertin said of the Lions being on the far outside lane of the track. “We just fought for each other. We were fifth or sixth and Johan took us to first. It was incredible. I just ran. I didn’t think. I knew I couldn’t slow down and get caught and let my team down. The last 100 meters, all you see is people cheering you on, pushing you to that one last step to win the race.”
Correa also won the 1,600 in a time of 4:32.42, while Albertin was third in the 400 (52.61).
On the girls side, Hanford ran away with the team title, rolling up 203 points. Southridge was second with 91.
The Falcons won six events, led by senior Kara Shibley, who threw personal bests in the shot put (40-3) and discus (115-6). Sophomore Nyenuchi Okemgbo ran past the competition in the 100 hurdles, winning in 15:30.
Okemgbo’s time was below her school-record run of 14.89, which she set earlier in the week, and still is trying to grasp that she broke a record that is older than she is (15).
Millicent Shaw (1986) and Shay Nielson (1995) shared the record of 15.1 before this week.
“I still don’t believe it at all,” Okemgbo said. “It still seems unreal. I don’t know when I will believe it.”
Okemgbo’s time Saturday was off her record, but for good reason.
“My start was pretty bad,” she said. “I stumbled out of the blocks and it was windy.”
Almira/Coulee-Hartline’s Berlyn Hunt was named the female athlete of the meet. She won the javelin with a toss of 130-5, and the long jump with a mark of 16-11 1/2 .
Kennewick freshman Geraldin Correa-Cambino destroyed the competition in the 800, clocking a personal best 2:29.37 to win by nearly 5 seconds.
Pasco junior Jaidyn Alexander swept the sprints, winning the 100 in 12.9 and the 200 in a personal best time of 25.92.
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Teams scores: Hanford 149, Kennewick 120.5, Chiawana 119.5, Deer Park 79, Southridge 72, Moses Lake 43, Richland 43, Sunnyside 38, Pasco 32, Walla Walla 30, Highland 5, Columbia-Burbank 1. 100: Joe Gauthier (Han) 11.13; 200: Joe Gauthier (Han), 22.03; 400: Nathan Maltos (Sun), 50.40; 800: Caleb Olson (Han), 2:05.72; 1,600: Johan Correa (Ken), 4:32.42; 3,200: Cody Westerman (DP), 10:34.54; 110H: Germain Barnes (Chi), 15.57; 300H: Germain Barnes (Chi), 40.46; 4x100 relay: Kennewick, 43.88; 4x400 relay: Kennewick, 3:32.03; Distance relay: Pasco, 11:42.14; Shot: Brendon Villasenor (Ken), 45-2 3/4; Discus: Jared Boswell (DP), 149-6; Jav: Draven Nevarez (ML), 173-1; HJ: Mike Soma (Chi), 5-10; PV: Kyle Graves (DP), 12-3; LJ: Emmanuel Kuku (Ken), 21-0; TJ: Dominic Lee (Chi), 46-0 1/4.
Team scores: Hanford 203, Southridge 91, Moses Lake 78, Chiawana 75, Kennewick 73, Deer Park 72.5, Pasco 37.5, Sunnyside 35, Almira/Coulee-Hartline 21, Highland 20, Walla Walla 18, Richland 15, Columbia-Burbank 8. 100: Jaidyn Alexander (P), 12.9; 200: Jaidyn Alexander (P) 25.92; 400: Amanda Fraga (Han), 1:02.07; 800: Geraldin Correa-Cambino (Ken), 2:29.37; 1,600: Moriah Duenich (DP), 5:19.72; 3,200: Moriah Duenich (DP), 11:37.93; 100H: Nyenuchi Okemgbo (Han), 15.30; 300H: Jessica Linde (Sun), 46.52; 4x100 relay: Southridge, 50.92; 4x200 relay: Deer Park, 1:51.57; 4x400 relay: Hanford, 4:13.46; Distance relay: Hanford, 13:53.48; Shot: Kara Shibley (Han), 40-3; Discus: Kara Shibley (Han), 115-6; Jav: Berlyn Hunt (ACH), 130-5; HJ: Monica Kaylor (Ken), 4-10; PV: Reegan Moll (Sou), 9-6; LJ: Berlyn Hunt (ACH), 16-11 1/2; TJ: Sadie Search (Chi), 33-3 3/4.