By Aaron Lommers Herald Writer
TACOMA — In a matter of just 15 minutes, Marysville Pilchuck junior Austin Joyner experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows on Friday, the second day of the 2A, 3A and 4A state track meet.
First, Joyner overtook Bellevue’s Budda Baker to win the 3A boys long-jump championship with a final jump of 23 feet, 51/2 inches — a personal best and a Marysville Pilchuck school record.
Just a few moments later, Joyner, who had qualified with the best 3A 100-meter preliminary time earlier in the day, pulled up lame halfway through the 200 prelims, failing to qualify.
Joyner stopped on the track and took a moment to collect himself before hopping on one leg for the final 100 meters of the race finishing in 49.45 seconds, more than 26 seconds behind any other competitor.
Joyner said it is unlikely he will race in the 100-meter final today, but said he wouldn’t make his decision until before the race.
The injury left Joyner thinking of what might have been.
“I can’t say it’s a good day,” Joyner said. “It’s not a terrible day, but it definitely could have been better.
“I’m going to be happy, but not happy because I know what I could’ve achieved. I don’t frown upon that too much because I know next year I’m going to be back — I hope.”
Joyner’s victory in the long jump wasn’t the only local championship on Friday. Lakewood’s Andrew Stich claimed first place in the 2A boys 110-meter hurdles with a time of 14.74 seconds.
“This race in particular, I feel like I got off to a better start than I usually do,” Stich said. “I just kind of kept it one speed. It was fast and it worked for me.”
It was quite the day for Stich, who finished second in the boys javelin despite coming in with just the sixth best throw in his classification this season.
“I feel like the wind probably helped a little bit, it wasn’t a huge factor,” Stich said of his throw that clinched second place in the javelin finals.
He also qualified first for today’s final in the 300-meter hurdles.
“I couldn’t be more excited about (today),” Stich said. “I feel like (my chances) are pretty good (in the 300), but it’s going to be a close race. I’ve got a lot of tight competition.”
Lakewood is in first place among 2A boys teams with 23 points going into the final day, just behind are Sehome and Capital, each with 21.
While Stich was excited to have a chance to cap off a great weekend today, Joyner’s status remained uncertain. He injured his hamstring while attempting to qualify for the 100 at last year’s state meet and he said it took him nearly four months to fully recover.
The junior already has committed to play football at Washington State University and said he would be cautious with the injury.
“We’ll see, there’s a slim chance,” Joyner said of his chances of running the 100 today.
For as frustrated as Joyner was after the injury, he couldn’t help but smile when asked about his victory in the long jump.
Joyner was in third place behind Baker and Lincoln’s Ahmaad Rorie going into his final jump, but he said he had a feeling when he landed that he had taken the lead.
“I did,” Joyner said. “I was like, ‘that was a good jump.’ And then I saw them pulling out the tape and I saw the 23 and I was like, ‘Let’s go!’”
Marysville Pilchuck jump coach Mike Cull was all smiles as well.
“He’s just clutch,” he said. “It doesn’t surprise me. The guy is a competitor, which is just incredible. It was incredible to see that.”
It wasn’t much of a surprise that the battle for first place came down to Joyner, Baker and Rorie, who placed second and third respectively. All three are standouts in their primary sports, Joyner and Baker in football and Rorie in basketball.
“That’s kind of what you expect those guys to do,” Cull said. “They get down here and inevitably they start hitting their biggest jumps in the finals on their last jumps.”
Despite needing a big jump to win, Joyner insists he remained calm.
“I don’t think about it too much,” Joyner said. “Some guys, they get real nervous. I didn’t have any tension. I was just like, ‘I’m going to go out there and I’m going to jump.’” There’s nothing else I can really do.”
Cascade’s Kaleb Dobson finished second in the 4A boys 110-meter final in 14.28 seconds, .12 seconds behind Rogers-Puyallup’s Eric Simpson.
Dobson led the race through the first seven hurdles, but Simpson came from behind at the end to edge the Bruins’ senior.
“It felt good up until about the seventh or eighth (hurdle),” Dobson said. “I feel like I got a little too excited and lost it because I was focusing so hard on one through seven, but that’s just a learning experience for me is to control what you have throughout your race.”
Dobson was disappointed he didn’t win, but said he will apply what he learned in the future.
“It’ll never, ever feel good to not win because you don’t win unless you get the first-place medal,” Dobson said. “I put in a lot of work to get that first-place medal, but sometimes that’s not how it works. I’ll say that’s one of my failures, but I know this race, in my life, will make me succeed in the end because you’ve got to treat your failures like you treat your successes.”
Sultan’s Giovanni Williams picked up a third-place finish in the 2A boys high jump with a final jump of 6-4, which tied a personal record.
It wasn’t a bad finish for the senior, who had never high jumped before this season.
“It feels good, but I was hoping to do better,” Williams said. “To be able tie (my PR) and get third, I still think it’s pretty good for a first-timer.”
Shorewood’s Taz Frazier finished fifth in the 3A boys javelin and Jackson’s Travante Robinson finished tied for seventh in the boys 4A high jump to round out local medalists in the field events.
Shorewood’s Chris Diaz placed third in the 3A 110 hurdles and Arlington’s Jared Alskog placed sixth in the 4A 110 hurdles.
Aaron Lommers covers prep sports for The Herald. Follow him on Twitter at @aaronlommers and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
4A Boys State Meet
At Mt. Tahoma H.S.
110 hurdles—1. Eric Simpson (Rogers-Puyallup) 14.16; 2. Kaleb Dobson (Cascade) 14.28; 6. Jared Alskog (Arlington) 14.86. High jump—1. Tyson Penn (Federal Way) 6-9; 7. Travante Robinson (Jackson) 6-2. 15 Discus—1. Nolan VanAmen (South Kitsap) 160-10; 9. Theo Lebesis (Edmonds-Woodway) 146-10; 14. Andrew Katzenberger (Lynnwood) 132-1 . Pole vault—1. Larry Still (Richland) 15-9; 6. Chase Reid (Lake Stevens) 13-0; 11. Jared Alskog (Arlington) 12-6; 14. Gabe Ohlsen (Snohomish) 12-6.
3A Boys State Meet
At Mt. Tahoma H.S.
110 hurdles—1. Sam Richmond (Bellevue) 3. Chris Diaz (Shorewood) 14.75. Long jump—1. Austin Joyner (Marysville Pilchuck) 23-5.50; 12. Michael Liddel (Mountlake Terrace) 20-2.25; 14. Dante Fields (Marysville Pilchuck) 19-10.25. Discus—1. Winston Hall-Eames (Nathan Hale) 173-6; 9. Brett Potter (Mountlake Terrace) 143-9. Javelin—1. Carlos Riojas (Mount Spokane) 185-0; 5. Taz Fraiser (Shorewood) 171-6; 14. Griffey Lytle (Everett) 151-7.
2A Boys State Meet
At Mt. Tahoma H.S.
110 hurdles—1. Andrew Stich (Lakewood) 14.74. High jump—1. Jaysen Yoro (Orting) 6-8; 3. Giovanni Williams (Sultan) 6-4. Triple jump—1. Ryan Chase (Capital) 46-7.75; 13. Brett Bustad (Lakewood) 40-2.75. Shot put—1. Mitch Moe (R.A. Long) 52-10.25. Javelin—1. Jensen Lillquist (Ellensburg) 198-0; 2. Andrew Stich (Lakewood) 185-7; 11. Michael Poyner (Granite Falls) 154-0; 12. Dylan Daviscourt (Archbishop Murphy) 151-5. Pole vault—1. Blaise Black (Sehome) 15-6; 12. Tysen Campbell (Granite Falls) 13-0.