The squall that blew over Roos Field late Friday afternoon was chilling enough.
But there was little relief for Whitman County high jumpers Darcy Stamper and Tyler Blakely even after the rain passed, sailing as they were onto a soggy mattress dotted with puddles.
“We look like wet dogs,” Stamper said at one point.
Still, their duel provided the most entertaining turn even on a first day dotted with three records, as the State 1A/2B/1B boys track and field meet returned to Eastern Washington University.
Pomeroy pole vaulter Kenny Carr, Mansfield jumper Macen McLean and Onalaska distance runner Stephen Bottoms were the athletes who wrote (or rewrote) themselves into the record book on a chilly, windy day. Valley Christian’s Grant Marchant came as close to making it a foursome as possible – missing the 1B 1,600-meter record by .01 of a second.
But Stamper cut it almost as close.
The LaCrosse junior, competing for the St. John-Endicott/LaCrosse-Washtucna co-op, had to snake over the bar at 6 feet, 4 inches on his third attempt to keep his season-long competition going with his 2B rival from Tekoa-Oakesdale/Rosalia, who moved ahead on the misses count with a first-try clearance.
This after a 15-minute delay while Blakely dashed off to run the heats of the 200 meters, and then the rain “that just made everything so much better,” Stamper laughed. The pair’s extended, full-sprint approach runs were a direct contrast to the more traditional bounders in the field, and seemed high risk on a slippery surface.
But then Stamper soared over 6-6 on his second try, and Blakely had three narrow misses to conclude their eighth meeting in the event this spring.
“Every meet,” Stamper laughed. “It’s me, it’s him. We’d tie, he’d beat me, he’d beat me again, then we’d tie.
“It’s so nice to get the last one.”
That was a sentiment shared by Carr, who missed this meet a year ago when his family moved to Clarkston. He’d been a placer at the 2B level in 2010 and was the 1B runner-up in 2011, and was happy when his mother found a job back in Pomeroy so he could finish school where he started 12 years ago. He capped his career by tacking 3 inches onto the meet record with a 13-0 clearance.
“I was hoping to do that, but I’d never been seeded first at anything in my life,” he said. “I think it was almost worse on my nerves. I’ve always been the underdog.”
That couldn’t be said of either of the other record-breakers.
McLean had won six State 1B championships in the high, long and triple jumps before adding a seventh Friday, adding a foot to his state triple jump record with a 44-10 1/2 bounce. The Mansfield junior pumped some drama into the event, though, fouling his first two attempts and taking off a foot behind the board on his “safety” to reach the finals.
A year ago, Bottoms ran just one race at state – winning the 1A 3,200 meters. With Onalaska now 2B, he’s adding the 800, 1,600 and 4x400 relay to his duties, but he hardly coasted in his opener – taking down a 24-year-old state record in the 1,600 by 5 seconds in 4 minutes, 13.24 seconds.
In the boys team races, defending 1A champ Hoquiam opened an early lead, helped by a 1-2-7 finish in the javelin paced by Cole Smith. Raymond holds a 21-20 edge over Asotin in the 2B events, while Trout Lake-Glenwood has a 23.5-20 lead on Taholah, which got throwing wins from Joseph Winn (discus) and Jon Jackson (javelin).