Friday’s sunshine brought out the best in the athletes at the 4A regional track meet at Fran Rish Stadium in Richland.
With the warm weather came top marks from local athletes, including Hanford High School, which saw two school records fall.
The Hanford boy’s 4x100 relay team broke the school record of 42.90 seconds (set in 2015), clocking a 42.79 and punching its ticket to the state track meet next weekend in Tacoma.
The Falcons finished second to Mead in the event, and just a step ahead of Mid-Columbia Conference rival Chiawana for the second week in a row.
The top two finishers in each event advance to the state meet, but relay teams or individuals hitting the state qualifying mark or time also moved on. The Riverhawks’ 4x100 relay time of 42.82 came in under the state provisional time of 43.13, earning them a state berth.
The Falcons said their first hand-off from Beau Franklin to Mateo Valadez was good, and from Valadez to Alex Izquierdo was solid. From Izquierdo to anchor man Joe Gauthier, not so much.
“I didn’t give Joe enough stick,” Izquierdo said. “Mead had good hand-offs all the way around.”
No worries. Gauthier took the hand-off and did what he does best — run 100 meters faster than anyone else in the state.
“The last couple of meets have been fun,” said Gauthier, who finished a step ahead of Chiawana anchor man Germain Barnes.
Franklin, the lone sophomore on a team of seniors, said he doesn’t get nervous before races.
“I have a good team to back me up,” he said.
And, he has no desire to run the final leg.
“The state leader in the 100 gets to be the anchor man,” Franklin said.
Gauthier also will run in Saturday’s 100 and 200 finals. He posted the top 200 prelim time of 22.09, and had the second-best time in the 100 (10.97), just behind Barnes (10.79), who was in the opposite heat.
Barnes also has the top prelim times for Saturday’s finals in the 110 hurdles (14.53) and the 300 hurdles (39.21).
Hanford’s Nyenuchi Okemgbo bettered her own school record in the 100 hurdles, clocking a 14.28 for the top time in the prelims. She also qualified for the finals in the 300 hurdles, as did teammate Lele Williams.
Kara Shibley came close to taking down another Hanford school record, this time in the shot put.
Shibley won her second consecutive regional title (last year at 3A) with a personal best throw of 41-7 1/2 — just 2 inches off the school record set by Natalie Long in 1984.
“It was a competitive day, for sure,” Shibley said. “We had three girls throw over 40 feet.”
Shibley credited her performance to pulling back on her workouts this week, and getting a good night’s sleep.
“I’ve been training through most of the meets and not taking time off,” Shibley said. “This week I took a little time off. I slept really well last night and I was rested today.”
While several of her classmates signed letters of intent to play sports in college a couple of days ago, Shibley said track will end with state next week.
“I was accepted into UW’s bioengineering program,” said. “That sealed the deal for me. I’m a nerd first.”
In the boys pole vault, Richland’s William Harshaw-McDonald finished second with a height of 13-10. Clay Somes of Ferris won at 15 feet.
There was a showdown in the boys javelin, where Josh Farr of Mead took top honors at 194 feet, with Central Valley’s Erik Fitzgerald not far behind at 192-2.
But in their wake was Richland’s Jax Lee (PR of 180-7) and Walla Walla sophomore Jahmal Mangarero (PR of 178-4), who finished third and fourth, but had state qualifying throws.
“The GSL brought the competition today,” Lee said. “I was looking to throw 177 to get a spot to state. This is a whole lot more than I thought it would be today.”
Mangarero said he didn’t even watch the best throw of his young career.
“My ankle buckled and I didn’t even see it,” he said. “That’s my best by 13 feet or so. It was a good day.”
Complete results from the first day were not available.