The Elma High School boys track team pulled out all of the stops to win the Ray Ryan Memorial Grays Harbor All-County Track Meet on Saturday.
Although the weather was more suited for ducks, the Eagles soared above the competition placing a competitor in the top three in all but three of the boys events. They used their depth to grab points in all but two of the events.
Elma won first place with a score of 160.5 with Hoquiam coming in second with 113.5 points. The Montesano boys finished third with 98 points. On the girls side, Hoquiam came away with the title with 152.5 points with Montesano in second with 140 points. Elma’s girls placed fifth with 60 points.
“We had some kids compete hard,” Elma sprints and hurdles coach Bryan Schneider said. “Normally, we wouldn’t have all those kids compete in those long distances, but we said ‘How do you feel about stepping up and trying to get a team title,’ and not one of them complained. They are going to be sore and tired, but I’m hoping they have a smile on their face tonight.”
Elma had six athletes in the boys 800-meter, 1,600-meter and 3,200-meter runs and the strategy paid off as the Eagles collected 55.5 of their points just in those three distances. Kevin Farr grabbed 10 points with his first place finish in the 1,600 with a time of 4 minutes and 59 seconds.
Senior Tyson Nauman had a day filled with personal bests winning the triple jump with a distance of 39 feet and 6.25 inches and jumping a height of six feet to win the high jump. Nauman hadn’t competed in track since his freshman year and he was excited to make up for the lost time.
“It felt great,” Nauman said of his high jump. “It was four inches higher than I’ve ever done. I may not have looked that excited, but I was.”
The other individual first place for the Elma boys came from Ray Stark with a time of 41.78 in the 300-meter hurdles.
Elma put an exclamation point on the competition with an extremely dominate performance in the 4x400-meter relay. The relay team of seniors Rashad Lorton, Nauman, Chance Bremer and Stark finished almost 10 seconds in front of their closest competition coming in at 3:40.99.
“That 4x400 team, they want to run it,” Schneider said. “Who wants to run the 4x400? Not many. Most at the end of the meet are saying, ‘No.’ They can’t wait. They absolutely ran as hard as they could. I saw so many things that was about the team and not individual. I am just a very proud coach. Many people stepped up and said I’m going to do this for the team and how could you be prouder.”
Montesano has struggled with injuries to some individuals and sickness early in the season, but coach Doug Schupbach was pleased with the effort by both the girls and boys teams.
“Overall, we had some pretty good performances, considering the weather, both boys and girls,” Schupbach said. “Each kid did a good job today.”
The strongest performance for Montesano came with a sweep of the three long distance races by Andrea Ostwald. The junior won the 800 in a time of 2:39, ran the 1600 in 5:51.59 and grabbed first place in the 3200 in 12:18.52.
“Weather-wise it wasn’t a perfect day for running,” Schupbach said. “She ran strong. It is pretty tough to come out and run three of those distance races and she won all three of them.”
Senior Gabrielle Rudolph, who swept the distance events last year, has been battling a foot injury, but fought through to finish second in the 3200 and 1600 despite also being sick with the flu.
Freshman Jordan Spradlin contributed the two other individual first-place finishes for the Montesano girls with a throw of 95 feet, 7 inches in the discus and a mark of 33 feet, 11 inches in the shot put.
On the boys side, Conner Lovell was the only Bulldog to place first with a win in the 800-meter with a time of 2:12.88. Lovell also finished second in the high jump and the 1,600-meter.
“Overall, I was pretty pleased with everybody’s effort today,” Schupbach said. “We have nowhere to go but up and to see the performances we have this early on, I’m pretty happy with them.”