CHENEY — La Salle’s Lauren Desmarais and Goldendale’s Tiana Watson pushed each other all season to become the Yakima Valley’s best female javelin throwers in all classifications.
At the Class 1A state meet, they pushed each other again — this time to a 2-3 finish — in performances that proved a highlight of local athletes Saturday in the Class 1A/2B/1B state track and field meet.
The final day of events at Eastern Washington University also saw strong runner-up finishes by Cle Elum’s Grace Jackson in the girls 1A 200, Goldendale’s Ellie Rising in the girls 1A 800 and Riverside Christian’s Diallo Nolan in the boys 1B 100. La Salle’s Brian Buchanan came away with a pair of thirds in the 1A boys 200 and long jump.
Desmarais’ throw of 129 feet, 3 inches edged Watson’s 128-7 — both personal records — and concluded a season of spirited competition between the district rivals. Desmarais is a senior and Watson a sophomore.
“She usually beats me,” confessed Desmarais of Watson. “It pushed me to be better,” though the roles reversed a bit after Desmarais’ top throw Saturday. “I saw Lauren get a PR,” said Watson, “so I had to PR, too.”
For the third consecutive year, Jackson claimed medals in four events — this year her silver in the 200 along with fourth-place awards in the 100 and long jump and a sixth in the 300 hurdles. But a gold medal remains elusive for the Cle Elum junior. “I really want a first,” she said. “Maybe next year.” Her 200 came with a season-best time of 25.58.
Goldendale’s Rising PR’d in the 800 with an excellent 2:18.38, which blew through her season goal time. “I really wanted to break 2:21 — that was the old school record that has been around 20 or 30 years,” she said. The junior nailed that with a 2:19.25, then lowered it on Saturday. She placed fifth in Thursday’s 1,600.
In boys 1B, Riverside Christian’s Nolan brought the second-fastest 100 qualifying time into the finals, then backed that up with a runner-up finish in his first state appearance. “All those eyes on me, I feel a lot of pressure,” the Crusader junior said after clocking 11.79 seconds into a slight headwind. “But second is good.”
La Salle senior Buchanan, dogged all season by a quadricep injury, finished strong with a PR of 22.36 in the boys 1A 200, good for third. He matched that place with a long jump of 21-3.5, just over an inch off his season’s best. He also added an eighth-place medal in the 100 with a time of 11.65.
Zillah’s boys totaled 21 points, eighth in the 1A team race. Riverside Christian’s boys also finished eighth with 22 points.