Hoquiam boys win district 1A track title

RAINIER — Some 30 minutes after the last scheduled event, Hoquiam’s boys finally hoisted a district team trophy.

Devin Kelly and Nolan Hoiness placed 1-2 in a re-run of the 200 meters to give the reigning state champion Grizzlies team honors in the District IV Class 1A Track & Field Championships Friday night at Rainier.

The Grizzlies finished with 112 points, 15 more than runner-up Woodland. Kalama took the girls team title.

Grays Harbor athletes accounted for a dozen district titles in a meet that had a little bit of everything — sparkling performances, a late-meet rainstorm, at least four protests and a rare re-run. The Grizzlies won eight events, Elma three and Montesano one.

The automatic timing mechanism malfunctioned at the start of the boys 200, prompting meet officials to sound a horn several times in an effort to bring the runners back to the starting blocks.

Most of the field completed the race. Hoiness, who had been running second to Kelly in the 200 for much of the season, edged his teammate this time with an unofficial season-best time of 22.1.

Two runners, however, pulled up when they heard the horn. After extensive consultation meet officials elected to re-run the race 30 minutes after the completion of what was to be the girls 4x400-meter relay.

Hoquiam coach Tim Pelan was originally far from pleased with this development, fearing injuries to key members of his state sprint corps. As it turned out, Kelly won the rematch in 22.43. Hoiness caused some brief concern when he pulled up hobbling after the finish, but it was quickly determined to be only cramping.

The Grizzlies actually entered the re-run trailing Woodland, 95-94, in the boys team standings. But with Kelly and Hoiness expected to sweep the top two places, the eventual outcome was no surprise.

“Everything was going really well, then the wheels came off the bus,” Pelan said, in reference to the re-run and a slew of late-meet protests. “The kids stepped up, we had so many (good) performances.”

Kelly, Hoiness and Cole Smith were double winners for the Grizzlies.

Hoiness won the 100 meters handily in 11.01 and he and Kelly joined Paul Girts and Tyler White on a sprint relay team that barely missed lowering its own meet record, flying home in 43.35.

Smith continued his impressive performances in the boys javelin, winning with a mark of 177-0. Teammates Evan Erickson and Andrew Goodman made it an HHS sweep of the top-three places in that event.

Not yet able to recapture his late-season form from a year ago in the high jump, Smith nevertheless earned a crack at his third successive state title by winning the event with a jump of 6-2.

Pelan, however, pointed to Kenny Huffman’s victory in the boys discus (with a personal-best throw of 135-8) and White’s unexpected fourth-place finish (and a resulting state berth) in the long jump as keys to the team triumph.

“Those are the things you hope for but not necessarily expect to happen,” the Grizzly coach said.

The top four in each event advance to state next week in Cheney.

Hoquiam’s Natalie Rose bounded 34-10 to win the girls long jump and teamed with Sarah Chapin, Tiffani Dhooghe and Lindsay Leonard to take the sprint relay in 52.64

Elma also had its share of fine performances.

Ray Stark became the third member of his family to win a district hurdles championship, outdueling Kalama’s previously unbeaten Jared Neiman in the 300 hurdles after one of the meet’s most exciting races. The pair came off the final hurdle only inches apart, but Stark (also a standout sprinter) outleaned Neiman at the tape to win in 39.52.

Elma sophomore Natalie Grant broke the school record in the girls 200 by running 26.23. She also took the 100 in 12.8.

Eagle coach Dave Beeler was ecstatic with the efforts of a number of his state qualifiers. Wesley Allen became the first freshman boy in school history to earn a state berth with a second-place finish in the 3,200 meters.

Senior Emily Gibson earned her first-ever trip to state by taking second in the girls javelin and fourth in the shot, with PRs in both events. Bethany Lipska, second to Rose in the triple jump, established a PR by almost a foot with a 34-9 mark in that event.

“We don’t come here to win (team titles), we come here to get kids to state,” Beeler said.

Montesano, which went 6-0 in distance races at subdistrict last week, won only one of those events Friday.

Gabrielle Rudolph handily won the girls 3,200 meters in 11:43.98. Encountering stiff competition from Trico League runners, she wound up second in the 1,600 and fourth in the 800, qualifying for state in both events.

Monte’s Tyson Lovell, a three-time winner at subdistrict, was plagued by the effects of a lingering cold. Leading the boys 1,600 with barely 25 meters remaining, he faltered and placed third, then barely failed to catch La Center’s Kyle De Graaf in the 800.

A persistent cough forced him to drop out in the final laps of the 3,200, but he recovered to run an impressive leg of the 4x400 relay moments later and helped the Bulldogs earn a trip to state. His participation in the relay after failing to finish another event was protested by another coach, but the protest was denied.

Bulldog boys coach Brian Hollatz cited the performances of Myranda Floch in the girls 400 and triple jump and the boys sprint relay team of Tanner Birdsall, Anthony Louthan, Tristan Darst and Reed Hughes.

“This is one of the meets that could go either way,” Hollatz said, “and I thought our kids did really well.”

Summaries will appear in Sunday’s edition.