Drizzle doesn’t hamper track performances

TACOMA — She may have been a bit wet but Aimee Carroll was all smiles as she sat on the upper edge of Lincoln Bowl with the rest of her teammates Saturday at the West Central District 3/Southwest Washington District 4 track and field meet.

“I threw my personal record (in the discus on Friday),” said Carroll, adding before she hit 120 feet, 5 inches, her best throw was 118-2. “I knew as soon as I let go this was my best.”

Her best was more than good enough to qualify her for her first trip to Star Track this Friday in Pasco with a third-place finish. The top eight qualifiers from the meet advanced to state. When she does step on to the field to compete, it’ll be her final competition in high school.

“I try not to think about it too much,” said Carroll, who plans to walk-on at Eastern Washington University.

She said she’s going to try to get up to the mid-120s for a chance to place at state.

One person not smiling after their finals race was Olympic’s Jonell Hodge, who placed third in the 100 despite leading much of the race before being passed up right before the finish line.

“That was the closest race I’ve been in all year,” said Hodge, who finished the 100 in 11.15 seconds.

Thomas Jefferson’s Coury McGinnis won in 11.12 and Kentwood’s Kenjamine Jackson was second in 11.14.

“I’m still happy because I can’t complain about going to state,” Hodge said. “I’m just going to go out and run and see what happens.”

Hodge was in another memorable race in the 400 relay finals as it came down to a sprint between him and CK’s Danny Van Datta for third place. Van Datta crossed the finish line first, bringing smiles to his relay mates Josh Perlow, Noel Gordon and Peter Tait. Along with Hodge, the defending state champion Trojans had Regan Logova, Ryan Benko and Byron Mosley on the relay squad.

The CK girls continued to make noise in the relay races where they’ve made a trip to state an annual occurrence since 2000.

Qualifying in both the 800 and 400 relays with third-place finishes were Crystal Lundahl, Shannon Gutierrez, Bethany Daniel and Brittany Rozier. Rozier, the team’s anchor, gave a gutsy performance in the 800 when she took the handoff from Daniel in seventh place and passed up four other runners down the final stretch.

“Everything went as expected,” CK coach Mark Ward said. “Just like we planned it.”

• After missing out on the district meet in 2003, Rozier was determined to get back to state as a senior.

She’s been dealing with a leg injury which bothers her on cool, overcast days. By qualifying for state in the prelims, Rozier said she used Saturday’s 200 finals to practice getting out of the blocks so she “didn’t re-injure herself.” She finished in fourth in 25.65 seconds.

• Two seconds were enough to make Olympic junior Katie Porter smile after taking fourth place in the 3,200 on Friday night and her second trip this school year to the Tri-Cities after getting to go to the state cross country meet last fall.

“I (set a personal record), so I was very happy,” Porter said.

Her time of 11:23.87 was two seconds faster than her previous best and a far cry from a disappointing performance at 2003’s district meet when she failed to reach state.

“I’m going to try to relax so I can enjoy myself,” Porter said. “I’d like to PR again and get down four more seconds to get to 11:19. It’d be cool if I could do that.”

• Shakira Dixon admits she was lucky to place fifth with a personally disappointing long jump of 16-3.75.

“It wasn’t too good,” Dixon said. “I got a lot of luck.”

The finish didn’t lessen her excitement about making it to the Tri-Cities, though.

“This is my first trip to state and I’m really excited,” she said.

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