Just a handful of Hood River Valley track athletes traveled to Hermiston last Saturday for a 14-team invitational.
But those who did make the trip performed exceptionally well, giving coach Shawn Meyle plenty to gloat about as the team gears up for three meets in 10 days.
“I was proud of our performance overall,” said Meyle, who could bring only varsity athletes because of the volume of competitors. “The kids keep improving with every week, and we’re starting to see what we may be up against at districts.”
HRV travels to Mountain View today for another district primer, and then heads to Centennial on May 7 before hosting the only home meet of the year on May 10.
Meyle said Saturday’s performances were moderately affected by the weather, but he still saw some kids exceed expectations.
One such athlete was junior Suni Davis, who ran a one-minute-flat in the 400 meters for second place overall.
More importantly, she beat one of the IMC’s best mid-distance runners from Hermiston (name not available) and established herself as one of the top district seeds. Davis also ran well in the 200, taking fourth place in 26.43.
Junior Anna Hidle, who qualified for state in the 400 last year, was not at Hermiston because she chose to compete at another invitational at Centennial the same day.
Other standouts for the girls were Christy Paul (5th, 1,500 meters, 5:05.00), Kristen Hedges (10th, 100 meters, 13.42), Meghan Flink (7th, pole vault, 8 feet), and the 4 x 100 relay team of Davis, Hedges, Markee Cox and Emily Meyer, which ran to a fifth-place finish in a time of 53.00 seconds.
Meyle praised the efforts of his sprinters as well as his pole vault prodigy, Flink, who is hoping to crack the 10-foot barrier at districts.
Placing in the top 10 for the boys were Mike Weber (1st, pole vault, 13 feet), Mitchell Bohn (8th, 800 meters, 2:08.46), and Jeff Fisher, who placed eighth in the steeplechase with a school-record time of 12:01.20.
Meanwhile, the 4 x 100 meter relay team of Weber, Adam Mack, Adam Brown and Ben Albright finished ninth at 46.56.
Additional boys highlights included Alex Jimenez taking 11th in the 1,500 meters (4:30.33); Albright taking 11th in the 200 (24.04) and 14th in the 100 (11.90); and Mack placing 14th in the 200 (24.36) and 15th in the 400 (55.73).
Bohn added a 14th place finish in the 1,500 at 4:35.21, Brown placed 16th in the 100 meters (11.99) and 16th in the 200 (24.62); Jon Wherry placed 18th in the 3,000 (10:59.82); and Weber took 20th in the javelin (114 feet, 11 inches).
Additional boys varsity athletes competing at Hermiston were Fernando Ochoa, Salvador Ledezma, Matt McDougal, Jacob Thornton and Travis Moore. For the girls, Allison Byers (1,500 meters, 14th, 5:37.62) and Danielle Bohn rounded out the results.
“We’re getting primed for districts,” Meyle said. “Our schedule is a bit inconsistent right now, but it’s coming together for us.”