PASCO – For Rashad Toussaint, it was a matching set – a state championship and a state record, each with its own separate measurement.
Now it’s on to the matching set for which he really came here.
With a stunning performance in the boys State 3A long jump behind him, the West Valley senior takes aim at his true muse – the triple jump – when Star Track XXIII resumes today at Edgar Brown Stadium.
“My goal is 52 feet and I’ll have to stay with that,” said Toussaint, the national high school leader in the triple jump this spring with a 50-8 3/4 best. “I’d love to leave here with both records.”
A combination of Pasco’s unpredictable winds and his adrenaline nearly cost him a shot at any record in the long jump Friday, but calm prevailed on both fronts just in time.
Toussaint had jumped 23-11 – the state leader – earlier this season, but a heel injury suffered running the 100 meters in a dual at WV had limited his performances for more than a month, to the point that he advanced through regionals last week using just a five-step approach to the board.
He opened with a conservative 22- 1/4 and felt the heel act up again, then had two long fouls to finish the first flight and fell to fifth place heading into the finals. But that didn’t last long.
Rocketing down the runway, he found the board solidly and sailed 24-1 3/4 – 4 1/2 inches beyond the 3A meet record set 19 years ago by Bellingham’s Gareth Pooleon. Unfortunately, it was aided by a 3.87 meters-per-second wind, excessive for record purposes.
Still, it ended the competition – Shorecrest’s Jesse Hoffman would place second at 22-11 1/4 – for everyone but Toussaint.
“I knew I had another good one in me,” he said. “I wasn’t paying any attention to the wind. I was just thinking this was my last year and I don’t have anything to lose.”
But a lot to gain. With the wind-gauge showing just .01 mps, Toussaint’s final leap measured 24- 1/4 on the optical device used here. A plastic tape measure to make the record official shortened it to 23-10 3/4 .
However it goes into the books, it was a fulfilling moment for Toussaint, WV coach Jim McLachlan and Travis Howell, a Trinity Catholic School teacher who coaches WV’s jumpers.
“I don’t mind telling you we had some shaky moments the last month,” said McLachlan. “He just didn’t have any pop in his leg. But he’s such a competitor – his personality is about competition and rising to it.”
Echoed Howell: “He does it every year. He might have some rough jumps in prelims or some rough practices before the meet, but he gathers it together and competes.”
The same could be said for North Central’s Ashlee Michelson – easily the most consistent thrower in the 3A girls discus, with her four fair throws all beyond 120 feet and a long of 123-3. But her two longest efforts were nullified by subtle foot fouls, and Shorecrest’s Becky Scherer managed to sneak in a second-round throw of 125 feet to beat Michelson by 21 inches.
It was enough to draw a few tears from the NC senior “because the door was open to win,” she said.
State 3A leader Kimery Hern of South Whidbey, a 145-foot thrower, was 22 feet off that best. Eastern Region champ Devon Cresse of Ellensburg managed only 118-1.
“It’s disappointing – I knew I’d fouled (her first and third throws), but it wasn’t like I was flying out of the ring out of control,” Michelson said. “I was following through and my foot just scraped the edge. Those were both high 120s, low 130s and that’s what’s so frustrating – I really feel like I should have won.”
No other 3A athletes were so close.
East Valley’s Cody Irby got off a last-round best of 180-2 to take third in the boys javelin, with teammate Chris Shearer sixth.
Bob Wilske of Cheney and EV’s Dave Howard finished 5-6 in the boys shot put behind the spectacular 60-1 effort of Renton junior Korion Morris. NC’s Mark Simpson, sitting second on misses in the boys pole vault after clearing 14-3, wound up fifth as Newport’s Chris Williams topped 14-9.
EV girls long jumper Eleaya Schuerch battled board trouble – three of her jumps were fouls – before finishing fifth at 16-4 1/2 .
In the girls 3,200 meters, NC sophomore Mary Graesser finished seventh, but ran a 10-second lifetime best of 11 minutes, 21.10 seconds.