It was a typical day at the State 1A/2B/1B boys track and field meet Saturday at Eastern Washington University’s Roos Field.
There were the expected performances, and the ones where athletes exceeded expectations. And there were the middle-of-the-road efforts.
The best thing for the athletes was the weather remained pleasant, and that made for some thrilling finishes.
They chased and they chased Chace Bell of Reardan, but nobody could head off the standout sprinter.
Bell captured state championships in the 2B 100 (11.18 seconds) and 200 meters (22.28) and anchored the winning 400 relay (44.99). In the relay, Bell teamed with Matt Hansen, Roy Walser and Johnny Kieffer for a personal best.
In his final race – the 200 – Bell raised one finger in the air as he crossed the finish line.
“It’s my favorite event because I love the corner,” said Bell, who will run at Carroll College next year. “That was the exclamation point of my career. It was a good note to end on.”
When Bell took the baton in the 400 relay, he was in fifth.
“I figured this was my last chance so I had to go out big,” said Bell, who took off like a rocket down the straightaway.
Northwest Christian (Lacey) won the team title with 82 points.
Gabriel Jones of Columbia broke through in the 200, winning in a time of 23.61.
Jones was nagged most of the season by a problematic left quadriceps muscle.
“It (a state title) means a lot to me,” Jones said. “It would have been nice to be healthy this year but I’ll take this.”
Freshman Grant Marchant of Valley Christian completed a double, winning the 3,200 (10:21.25) by 11 seconds after taking the 1,600 on Friday.
“It was hotter out today than anytime I’ve run this year,” an exhausted Marchant said. “That last lap was pretty hard. I’m very excited to be a freshman and take two state titles.”
James Coon of Lind-Ritzville/Sprague got a personal best by 10 feet as he won the javelin with a heave of 194-8.
“It was all in my head,” Coon said of winning a state title after finishing second last year. “It’s nice for once.”
His winning throw came on his first in the prelims. After that, a nagging elbow injury cropped up.
Mount Rainier Lutheran won the team title with 80 points. Valley Christian tied for third (49) and Columbia took fourth (48).
Newport senior Aric Walden made it three straight state titles in the 110 hurdles (14.78).
It could have been four consecutive state titles. But he fell flat on his face his freshman year at regionals when he was ranked No. 1 in the state.
His third title was special. He underwent ACL surgery six months ago and his doctor said he’d be out a year.
Walden put in as many as four hours of rehab a day to get back sooner.
“I had a lot of trouble getting over the last three hurdles,” Walden said. “My stride got messed up.”
Walden finished third in the 300 hurdles.
Quinn Robinson of Freeman captured gold in the 400 (49.59) – a personal best by three-tenths.
“It was a big PR,” Robinson said. “I couldn’t have run any better. I got out there and did what I had to do to win.”
Trevor Wood of Lakeside won the triple jump at 44-5¾ – a personal best by more than two feet.
“I definitely surprised myself,” Wood said. “I didn’t expect to make the finals, let alone win. I wasn’t jumping well all season. I’m actually still running on adrenaline. I’m shaking because I still can’t believe it.”
Aaron Castle of Newport won by more than 10 feet in the shot put (63-1), setting a classification record by nearly four feet.
“I knew I was going to get it,” Castle said of the record and state title. “My hand had been bothering me so I took a week off. I’m happy with what I did with a mild injury.”
King’s captured the team title with 74 points. Freeman took third (39) and Newport (34) was fourth.