YAKIMA, Wash. — Demitrius Alford and Kara Mickelson know all too well the heartbreak of a winner-take-all race, which is what the CBBN district track and field championships were all about.
During Thursday’s rainy opening day at Eastmont, the Eisenhower teammates both finished second at 400 meters, missing out on the league’s single berth to state by fractions. Alford, a senior, had his disappointment measured by less than a half second at .48. For Mickleson, a freshman, the margin was even less at .45.
But on Saturday, with afternoon sun warming their home track at Zaepfel Stadium, everything changed.
Moments after Jonas Price and Madi Oliva swept the 3,200 races for Eisenhower, Alford and Mickelson anchored their teams to thrilling victories in the 4x400 and made sure the Cadets’ bus will be full for next week’s trip to Tacoma.
“That race Thursday really motivated me today,” said Alford, who rededicated himself in his final season and shaved over three seconds off his 400 best. “It’s my senior year but it wasn’t about myself, it was all about my teammates and doing something good for the program. It’s given me a lot over the years and this was my chance to give back.”
Drew Reyes, Isaiah Lopez, Price and Alford cut over seven seconds off Ike’s previous season best at 3 minutes, 23.97 seconds. And this came not long after Price’s 3,200 and Alford’s second-place finish in the 200.
“We thought we had a shot at winning,” Alford said, “but we didn’t expect 3:23.”
Mickelson was already enjoying a great day, having won the 800 with a five-second personal best, but she brought the Cadets home in high-drama style in the 4x400. With a slick pass on the outside from Ciera Reyes, she slipped in front of Wenatchee for the final circuit and stayed there for a half-stride victory in 4:03.48.
Mickelson’s determined anchor held off Wenatchee’s Lily Gyde, who edged the Ike ninth-grader in Thursday’s 400.
“I was so nervous I almost cried, plus I had a blister on my foot from the 800,” said Mickelson, who was joined by Haven Nutting, Sophia Rodriquez and Reyes. “Most of us are distance runners so this is quick for us. The 800 was surprising to me, but this (relay) is really exciting for all of us.”
With Oliva’s win, Ike’s girls swept the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 and finished second with 119 points a year after scoring just 34.
The intense battle for the lone state berths had some interesting twists and turns for West Valley, which got a victory Saturday from sophomore Brayden Packard in the 800.
Packard finished second behind Price in Thursday’s 1,600 and ran 4:17.14, which just missed the state’s automatic qualifying standard. But on Saturday the Rams cashed in on those tough standards twice as Will Koenig took second in the pole vault at 14-0, hitting the extra-qualifier mark exactly, and the 4x400 team — with Packard on anchor — ran second behind the Cadets but clocked 3:25.72, clipping the mark by a half second.
Sunnyside’s Mike Rivera was the fastest football player in the CBBN last fall and he’s been the fastest on the track all spring. The junior speedster won Thursday’s 100 with room to spare and it was the same in Saturday’s 200, which he won in a career-best 22.55.
“What I get from football is just wanting to be the guy who outworks everybody,” said Rivera, who already has nearly 2,000 receiving yards with a season to go. “This is my off-season from football and a great time to focus on strength and speed. I’m so excited about state because I know those guys are going to push me to the edge. I’d love to get 10.8 or 10.9 in the 100 and low 22s.”
Two Davis athletes repeated their district titles from a year ago — senior Jesus De La Torre in the 300 hurdles and junior Kahlani Schloss in the discus.
In a reversal of Thursday’s tight 110 hurdles finish, De La Torre outleaned Eastmont’s Logan Easley to win the 300s in 40.69. While he scored 30 points with top-three finishes in four events, the Valley leader in the pole vault missed out on a trip to state in his speciality.
Schloss staged a tense dual with Eisenhower junior Kathaleen Croffut in the discus and earned the victory with a throw of 124-6. The competition helped Croffut, whose second-place effort of 123-11 topped the automatic-qualifying standard by two inches.
Wenatchee won both team titles, and West Valley was the top local team in boys with 101.5 points.
The CBBN can breathe a little easier next year when it returns to two state berths.
Team scores: Wenatchee 137.5, Eastmont 128, West Valley 101.5, Davis 94, Eisenhower 93.5, Sunnyside 56.5, Moses Lake 45.
Winners, local placers
200: 1, Mike Rivera (S) 22.55; 2, Demitrius Alford (Ike) 23.18; 3, Myles Newhouse (S) 23.45; 5, Damarion Carter (D) 23.49; 6, Dimitri Rodriguez (D) 23.64.
800: 1, Brayden Packard (WV) 1:59.92; 3, Nathan Valenzuela (Ike) 2:01.40; 5, Ben Connell (WV) 2:04.23.
3200: 1, Jonas Price (Ike) 9:36.73; 3, Alfonso Cuevas (Ike) 9:55.97; 4, Anthony Carlascio (WV) 9:59.04; 5, Quentin Rickey (WV) 10:08.92; 7, Isaac Fillmore (WV) 10:13.58; 8, Amha Alemeneh (Ike) 10:15.25.
300H: 1, Jesus De La Torre (D) 40.69; 4, Stephen Farris (WV) 41.42; 5, Damian Corbray (D) 42.54; 7, Jose Salazar-Suarez (S) 44.00.
4x400: 1, Eisenhower (Reyes, Lopez, Price, Alford) 3:23.97; 2, West Valley 3:25.72; 3, Sunnyside 3:28.16; 7, Davis 3:44.44.
Shot: 1, Nolan Such (Wen) 51-3; 2, Cristian Soberanes (Ike) 48-5; 8, Cole Philp (WV) 43-0.5.
Jav: 1, Jordan Vanassche (Wen) 183-3; 3, Dylan Greene (WV) 168-9; 4, Mason Smith (WV) 160-9; 7, Miguel Ceija (D) 152-7.
PV: 1, Carter McGinnis (Wen) 14-0; 2, Will Koenig (WV) 14-0; 2, De La Torre (D) 13-0; 4, Eric Rojias (D) 13-0; 6, Chase Tomisser (Ike) 11-6.
TJ: 1, Yaw Ferrell (Wen) 42-7.75; 2, Jonathan Rivas (D) 41-9.5; 3, Reggie Harris (WV) 41-4.25; 4, Francisco Mercado (D) 41-0.25; 6, Amadeus Garcia (WV) 38-9; 7, Benjamin Oswalt (S) 38-2.25.
Team scores: Wenatchee 260, Eisenhower 119, Moses Lake 91, West Valley 79, Eastmont 78, Davis 42, Sunnyside 20.
Winners, local placers
200: 1, Skyler Walton (Wen) 25.40; 2, Carli Short (WV) 26.68; 5, Janessa Frank (S) 27.74.
800: 1, Kara Mickelson (Ike) 2:25.94; 3, Sophia Rodriquez (Ike) 2:27.29; 4, Ciera Reyes (Ike) 2:27.39; 5, Lilly Fetzer (WV) 2:27.87.
3200: 1, Madi Oliva (Ike) 12:03.13; 4, Rachel Argento (WV) 12:34.14; 5, Renelle Christensen (D) 12:35.05; 6, Hannah Hilton (Ike) 12:42.55.
300H: 1, Claira Kelso (Wen) 47.22; 5, Magali Guzman (Ike) 48.46; 6, Alaina Morgan (S) 49.86.
4x200: 1, Wenatchee 1:44.39; 2, West Valley 1:44.52; 5, Sunnyside 1:51.94; 6, Eisenhower 1:53.99.
4x400: 1, Eisenhower (Nutting, Rodriquez, Reyes, Mickelson) 4:03.48; 4, West Valley 4:10.99.
Disc: 1, Kalhani Schloss (D) 124-6; 2, Kathaleen Croffut (Ike) 123-11; 3, Makenna Helseth (Ike) 114-10.
HJ: 1, Haven Ploch (Wen) 5-0; 5, Aisha Awan (WV) 4-6; 7, Tashaila Villa (D) 4-4.
TJ: 1, Ellen Ferrell (Wen) 34-11.75; 6, Emma Bremerman (WV) 32-0.75; 8, Madison Pierone (Ike) 31-7.75.