TACOMA – Sit back and watch Richland High's Larry Still compete in the pole vault and it is pretty obvious that he is easy going while he competes.
While standing at the start of the runway Friday, a fan yelled Still encouragement and he put his pole down, turned smiled and gave a wave.
That type of demeanor has served him well this season as he has soared to a school record and now a Class 4A state title.
“It is the fun of the meet, I guess,” Still said. “You get in the zone and have a really good time. Just putting on a smile, having a good time and enjoying pole vault.”
Still cleared 15 feet, 9 inches to win the title at Mt. Tahoma High in Tacoma. He wasn't overly pleased with the mark, though, as he cleared 16-0 at the regional meet a week ago.
“I would have been fine if I PR’d and lost the meet,” he said. “It feels good, but expected because of the hard work.”
He also plans on learning a few lessons from the state meet and has a message for the rest of his competitors.
“I'm coming back two times harder, working two times more,” he said, “and coming back next year.”
NO PAIN NO GAIN? Othello's Marco Pena was one of the most talked about athletes at Friday's meet, and that was not a good thing.
During the 300-meter hurdles preliminaries, the senior took a nasty fall, dislocating his right elbow. He was treated by the training staff and had his elbow wrapped up and then competed in the 110-meter hurdles finals.
“I insisted that the doctor give me permission to run, and he did,” Pena said.
“I was doing really well. It felt like a great run – was going to be a PR for sure. It was a split second decision that I made too late, so I clipped the hurdle instead of going over it. I landed on my arm wrong and dislocated it.”
Pena learned the how to three step late last year, helping him drop his times dramatically and go from a 17-second hurdler to a 15-second hurdler and get to the state berth. He was seeded third in the 110s finals, but took it easy to not risk hurting his arm further.
“I'm just happy to be here honestly,” he said. “I got to run. That's what I'm happy about.”
ON A SILVER PLATTER: Hanford's Dallon Grinder came to the 3A state meet planning on winning a gold medal in the boys discus, so when he finished second with a throw of 157-11, he was less than pleased.
“It's good points for the team, but not what I wanted for me personally,” said Grinder, whose season best throw in the event is 166-2. “I wanted to win that state title for the team.”
The throw came during the preliminaries, but he just couldn't put it all together in the finals, scratching on his final attempt. Nathan Hale's Winston Hallam-Eames won the title with a throw of 173-6. Grinder will compete in the shot put Saturday.
Later in the day Kennewick's Dylan Tennancour threw a 176-10 to grab third in the javelin. Hanford's Ben Kelly was fourth in the long jump with a 21-6.5.
BOUNCE BACK: Kamiakin's Lindsey Schauble finished a disappointing fifth in the Class 3A long jump Friday morning, but rather than let it eat her up, she went out and ran a personal best time to take third place in the 100-meter hurdles.
“I was so mad about this morning, I just wanted to get it out of my system and forget about it with a really nice run,” she said. “It makes me want to do better and better and get even higher next year.”
Southridge's Bree Lane also got some redemption Friday, qualifying for the finals in the 300 hurdles. On Thursday, she tripped on the second to last hurdle and fell in the 100 hurdles. She was in second at the time and would've been in the state title hunt Friday.
WATCH HER SOAR: Squalicum's Kirsten Webber became the first female pole vaulter to clear 13 feet in state history, winning the Class 2A title. The junior beat out teammate Madi Krussow, who cleared 12-6.