Basketball is Sienna Swannack’s first love, but track and field has a special place for the sophomore from Nine Mile Falls.
On Friday afternoon, that place was atop the podium, as Swannack won the 1A high jump title at the State 1A/2B/1B meet at Eastern Washington University.
“It feels so awesome, and I feel like I hit my peak right here,” said Swannack, who tied her personal best with a leap of 5 feet, 7 inches to edge Brooke Benner of Naches Valley.
Both girls cleared the winning height, but Swannack won the title because she cleared 5-7 on her first attempt while Benner needed three jumps. Neither athlete could clear 5-8.
Besides a state title, the state meet offered a break from club basketball, though Swannack didn’t see it that way.
“I still like basketball best,” said Swannack, who as a freshman played on Lakeside’s state runner-up team with her older sister, Shaye. This spring she’s traveled with her club team to to California, Arizona and Illinois.
“I like having teammates to talk to, someone to motivate me,” Swannack said.
Some of that motivation comes from her father, Bob, who coaches her club team but also was a standout high jumper. At St. John-Endicott in 1989, he cleared 6-9 for a mark that still stands as the 2B meet record.
“My dad and my coach (Paul Huffman), I just pay my dues to them,” said Swannack, who started high-jumping in the seventh grade with the encouragement of her father.
“I wanted to be like him, and now it’s happening,” Swannack said.
On a windblown day at Roos Field, the pole vault was a breeze for Scout Cai.
Urged on by the biggest cheers of the day, the senior from Colfax won her third straight title with a personal best of 12-4.
“That just gets my adrenaline going, and then they started clapping – that was great,” said Cai, who narrowly missed at 12-6 and finished almost 2 feet better than runner-up Alicia Smaciarz of Willapa Valley.
Cai also ran her 100-meter heat in 13.03 seconds, the same mark as her top rival in the sprints, Grace Hamre of Napavine.
“Tomorrow’s going to be interesting,” said Cai, who ranks first in the state in the pole vault, high jump and 200 meters, and second in the 100.
Colfax picked up more points thanks to senior Olivia Mellor’s third-place finish in the javelin.
Meanwhile, the Lind-Ritzville foursome of Holly Nygren, Felicia Ziemer, Samantha Asmussen and Rachel Schell finished third in their 400-meter relay heat with a time of 51.73 seconds to advance.
Based on prelimary heats, Anne Hockett could have a meet to remember.
The sophomore from Oakesdale won three prelims in impressive fashion, including a 45.39-second performance on Thursday in the 300-meter hurdles that broke the meet record set last year. That time also was three seconds better than No. 2 qualifier Gracie StrangeOwl of Cusick.
Hockett was just as dominant on Friday, turning in the only sub-minute time in the 400 prelims; her time of 58.73 was four seconds better than runner-up Mary Fudge of Thorp-Easton.
Hockett also posted the top time in the 100 meters, and will be a heavy favorite there as well.
Alaina Cooney of Hunters finished third in the shot put with a heave of 30 feet, 1¾ inches.