The Pasco Invite is a tough beast to tackle. Perhaps that’s a part of its growing reputation as one of the nation’s top track meets.
While the state meet is spread out over three days, the Pasco Invite squishes 18 events into a 10-hour period — no small feat for even the best-conditioned athletes.
But for Chiawana junior Roman Ruiz, a seasoned decathlete, it’s a walk in the park.
Ruiz, who won the age 15-16 men’s decathlon at the National Junior Olympics last summer, took on three events during Saturday’s festivities and posted a personal best in the pole vault at 15 feet even to finish second. He also clocked 15.06 seconds in the 110-meter high hurdles and ran a leg on the Riverhawks’ 4x400-meter relay team that finished eighth.
“It’s definitely a long day. I got here at 8 a.m. After starting the pole vault (at 9:30 a.m.), I went straight to the hurdles (10:50 a.m.) and then back to the pole vault,” Ruiz said.
Compared to the decathlon — a 10-event competition held over two days — Ruiz had a rather easy day Saturday.
“Doing the decathlon, you get 30 minutes between each event,” he said. “Today was super long, but I like the competition.”
Pasco senior Christian Young didn’t have it so easy. The talented sprinter, who finished second at last year’s Class 4A 400-meters, ran six races in all, including preliminary heats in the 100- and 200-meters. His best performance came in the 400, where he was edged by Bothell senior Ryan Croson by just under half a second.
“I’m happy with my effort. I’m not happy with the result. I’m hard on myself when I don’t win,” Young said.
He shouldn’t feel too bad about finishing second to Croson, though.
The Bothell standout won the 400 and ran legs on the Cougars’ 4x100 (first) and 4x400 (fourth) relay teams but was shocked to learn he was chosen as the meet’s top boys competitor.
“I had no idea this was coming. It’s surreal,” Croson said. “Christian Young ran four events, and (Chiawana’s Dre) Dorton in the 100 and 200, he moved.”
Dorton was a busy man, too, running five races, including prelims and finals in the 100 and 200 plus a 4x100 relay leg, but he validated himself as one of the state’s top sprinters. The Riverhawks senior took fourth in the 100 with a time of 10.85 and finished his day with a second-place finish in the 200 in 21.94, just one-hundredth of a second behind Jonah Mathews of Fife (21.93).
Posting a much easier win in the 100 was Eastmont senior Phillip Moore, who obliterated the field with a top time of 10.45, three-tenths ahead of Mathews. Moore’s time was .01 seconds off the Pasco Invite record of 10.44 shared by Ja’Warren Hooker of Ellensburg and Anthony Buchanan of University.
“Perfect weather. Fast track,” Moore said after his win in the 100. “This is all practice for state.”
Southridge senior Austin Beyer enjoyed a second-place finish in the javelin, twice posting a personal best in finishing the day with a top mark of 186-10, well behind Central Kitsap’s Hudson Keffer (207-5).
“Having Hudson here really pushed me to get close to 200 (feet),” Beyer said. “I don’t think blowing people out of the water (in local meets) helps that much.”
Ryan Best of Pasco recorded a personal best in the triple jump, going 44-0 3/4 inches to take third, and Kamiakin’s Darreon Moore finished fourth in the long jump with a mark of 20-10 1/4.
Daniel Pfaff of Hanford tied a personal best in the high jump at 6-2, taking fifth behind Jakobe Ford of Shadle Park, who cleared 6-10.
Mac Graff of Chiawana won three events, taking the wheelchair shot put (14-10 1/2), the wheelchair discus (49-9) and the wheelchair javelin (52-4).