by Scott Spruill Yakima Herald-Republic TACOMA -- Jonathan Buchanan was uneasy about stepping into the shot put ring for the first time Saturday morning. But later, when victory required his best throw on the final attempt, that was no problem. "I guess I was a little nervous about being the top seed," said the East Valley junior. "I didn't want to choke."
by Scott Spruill Yakima Herald-Republic TACOMA -- Kayla Standish got a great start out of the blocks and ran one of the best 100-meter hurdle races of her life. She was under 15 seconds again -- 14.91 to be exact -- and in the final performance of her illustrious high school career the Ellensburg senior was clearly pleased with the effort. Except, well, it was second place. Certainly no shame in that, but it was Standish's third runner-up finish in a bag full of nine state medals accumulated over years.
by Scott Spruill Yakima Herald-Republic TACOMA -- They had a third leg switched less than a month ago, a second leg nursing a strained hamstring and a first exchange that was nearly a train wreck. And yet Prosser's 400-meter relay team somehow managed to give anchorman Cade Wandling three feet. "In my mind, that's all I needed," Wandling said. "Give me that baton and let's go." And go Wandling did -- spurred by the onrush of rival Brett Blanshan of Selah -- to a whisker victory and successful defense of the Mustangs' 4x100 state title in Saturday's Class 2A track and field championships.
By SCOTT SPRUILL YAKIMA HERALD-REPUBLIC Sandra Martinez doesn't even consider the possibilities anymore, just expects it. Faster, tougher, better. Each time out. So it was with a certain measure of expected satisfaction that the Davis junior regarded her third-place finish in Saturday's Class 4A state cross country race.
By SCOTT SPRUILL YAKIMA HERALD-REPUBLIC Their pack was has tight as ever, but Eisenhower's boys could not parlay that into the prize they so eagerly sought on Saturday. Team leaders Cody VanDeBrake, Bryan Simison and Ryan Chapman were separated by a scant three seconds at the finish of the Class 4A state cross country meet, and Derrick Thomas and Craig Johnston were 30 seconds back of them. But at state there was no mercy in that tiny gap.
Sandra Martinez had it in mind to run fast on Saturday. So fast that no girl in Davis' history would have ever run faster in the Sunfair Invitational. That she came up a scant three seconds shy of that goal didn't turn out to be heartbreaking news for the junior cross country ace. Especially since she still contributed heavily to a piece of Pirates' history in the 34th annual meet at Franklin Park. With Martinez finishing fourth in a wickedly fast elite flight in a time of 18 minutes, 26 seconds — which would have won last year's race by nine seconds — Davis' girls earned the best team finish in school history with sixth place in the 100-team field.
Throughout the afternoon from one heated race to the next, three of the state's heavyweight boys cross country powers took their best swings at each other on Saturday. Nationally ranked Central Valley managed to survive the long day, but not without Gig Harbor and Eisenhower breathing down its neck every step of the way in the 34th annual Sunfair Invitational at Franklin Park.
Yakima Heraald Preview predictions for CBL,CWAL and SCAC XC 2007
By SCOTT SPRUILL YAKIMA HERALD-REPUBLIC Fast friends they are, but the fact is Nectaly Barbosa and Isak Bergman shouldn't know each other. They shouldn't even cross paths, odds insist, except for a brief encounter at a national track and field meet. That's what you would think, given the uncommon times these two high school kids are running for 800 meters. Over the last two decades the nation has averaged three performances a season of 1 minute, 50 seconds or better in the two-lap race. Most of those come from California and the eastern states. And yet here we have Barbosa and Bergman, from Prosser and Ellensburg, respectively, achieving these high feats in each other's Eastern Washington backyard.
Yakima Herald Republic covers Holder Relays When the afternoon rain squall passed over Zaepfel Stadium, Mike Vavricka got a little angry. So he finally did it. He grunted. \"My coaches, my dad -- everybody who watches me throw -- says I need to grunt,\" said La Salle\'s school-record holder in the shot. \"When the rain came through and there were puddles in the ring, I guess I got mad and finally let one out.\"
Whether it\'s the high-level of intense competition or the carnival atmosphere that pervades Franklin Park, inspiration can be found in abundance at the Sunfair Invitational. So much so that anxiously waiting for your race can be the toughest part of the day. But as West Valley\'s Stephanie Shuel and Davis\' Sandra Martinez warmed up for the featured event Saturday afternoon
She knows the twists, turns and terraces of Franklin Park like it was her own backyard. And that familiarity offers Stephanie Shuel an equal share of reluctance and delight whenever October closes in. \"I feel like I\'ve raced there all my life. It\'s like my home course,\" said the West Valley junior. But after a brief pause she added, \"It\'s like you dread going there at first because it\'s so tough, and then afterward it feels great.\" When the 33rd annual Sunfair Invitational cross country meet swarms over Yakima\'s midtown park on Saturday, Shuel will be a participant for the ninth straight year, a streak that dates back to her victory in the grade-school race as a third-grader.
CONFERENCE FORECAST 4A BOYS FAVORITE: Walla Walla. Close call with Eisenhower. The Blue Devils, last year\'s district runner-up and 10-0 in Big Nine duals, return four of their top five from a team that had a 44-second spread on its scoring team at district. Two of those four returnees were freshmen a year ago. AROUND THE LEAGUE: With six of its top seven back, Eisenhower should press Wa-Hi. Even though they graduated leader Stephen Englund, the Cadets have everyone else back from a team that was third at district and then trounced Walla Walla the next week at regionals. Junior Cody VanDeBrake and senior Joey Barela will lead a crew stocked with youthful talent. ... Expect Davis to be in the hunt also as five of its top six are back from a team that was sixth at district. Senior Graham Vaux is the top 4A returner behind reigning district champ Tyler Noland of Richland, and senior teammate Eric Silvers will give the Pirates a solid 1-2 at the front. ... Yakima\'s Franklin Park will host the 4A and 3A regional meets.
West Valley cross country coach Bob Allan gives instruction as his runner climb the hill behind West Valley Junior High School on Tuesday. It\'s a coaching r
Mike Vetter is too fast and too determined, apparently, for his own good. The La Salle junior, an undefeated sprinter who appeared to be a lock for a Class B state title or two later this month, blazed through 100 meters in 10.4 seconds at last week\'s Greater Columbia B League meet in Sunnyside.
Fiker Stadium should be filled with interesting story lines today for the Mid-Valley district track meet and most of them have to do with injuries. Prosser\'s Nectaly Barbosa has opted to not defend his 3A state title in the 1,600 and will concentrate on the 800 and 4x400 only. Barbosa has struggled with a patellar tendon strain below his right knee that bothers him in longer races.
SARA GETTYS/Yakima Herald-Republic Prosser\'s Nectaly Barbosa (right) and Ellensburg\'s Isak Bergman (left) share congratulations after the boys 800 meter run, which Barbosa won, at the Pasco Invite track meet in Pasco, Saturday, March 15 Pasco Invite