TACOMA — Kaci Jones proved she has a bit of a flare for the dramatic.
The Stanwood senior discus thrower saved the best for last on Thursday afternoon, recording a throw of 131 feet, 10 inches on her final throw of the finals to win the 4A state championship.
“I can’t even explain it,” Jones said after the win. “I’m still in shock right now.”
Jones best throw of the final round before the winning toss was just more than 127 feet.
“It came from within,” she said, still looking as though she was in disbelief. “I just found some inspiration.”
When Jones released her final throw, the Stanwood coaches seemed to know that it was a good one. When the distance was announced they knew she was in first place. Two throwers later, the coaches embraced knowing that she had won the state championship.
“We all looked away,” Stanwood throwing coach James Deaver said of Jones’ final throw. “She had to save it till the end. That was suspenseful. It was great.”
“It feels pretty good, I’m really happy for her,” Deaver added. “That was really suspenseful and I’m really proud of her — great kid. She makes a coach’s job easy. She is just a dedicated athlete.”
Coming into Thursday’s events, Jones’ best throw of the year was 133-3. She may not have set a personal best in the finals, but more importantly she got the state championship.
Jones edged out Alyx Toeaina of Kentwood and Arlington’s Lexi Sarver, who finished third with a throw of 128-7. Sarver was one of the favorites coming into the event, having the best 4A throw of the year (135-6) and the fourth best throw in the state.
“I’ve definitely had better days, most definitely,” Sarver said. “But I think third at state is nothing to be too ashamed of.
Sarver might have been disappointed that she didn’t win it, but she was happy that the state champion came from the Wesco and exchanged an embrace with Jones after the event.
“I’m really happy for her,” Sarver said. “Kaci and I have been rivals since the sixth grade. “She’s a fantastic girl and I’m really happy for her.”
It was Sarver’s goal to win the state championship, and she had been training for the past 12 months to try to accomplish her goal, but never quite got the throw she needed on Thursday.
“I know she’s a little disappointed,” Arlington head coach and throwing coach Judd Hunter said. “It’s heavy on my heart because of it, because I want her to feel good. But she didn’t perform her best today — it’s too bad.”
Another Arlington thrower had his eyes set on a state championship on Thursday and also fell a bit short. Junior Dan Boyden was among the favorites coming into the 4A boys finals of the shot put, finishing in fifth place with a throw 54-8. Richland’s Dennis Christensen won the title with a throw of 60-4.
“I’m OK with where it ended, but you can always hope for more sort of thing,” Boyden said. “It’s momentum going into tomorrow for the disc.”
Lake Stevens’ Carey Campbell was all smiles after the shot put, finishing in third place with a 56-61/4. It was Campbell’s best throw of the year by nearly two feet.
“Going into the season, one of my goals was to throw 56 feet to be on track to beat our school record,” Campbell said. “I was expecting a 54 like last week (at districts), and then this — it was just great.
“State is a great time to PR.”
Lake Stevens throwing coach Josh Vail said that Campbell has been consistently improving throughout the season.
“That’s always the goal is to PR at state,” Vail said. “Just kind of all season, Carey has been chipping away and chipping away and working really hard at this.”
Lakewood’s Skylar Cannon recorded a third place finish in the 2A girls javelin. Cannon, who’s third-place throw was 118-10, had three of her top throws of the season on Thursday.
“I happy with how I did, but I should have done a little better,” Cannon said. “My PR is 120 and I didn’t reach that today.”
Clarkston’s Jamie Weisner won the event with a 146-9, nearly 27 feet better than her closest competition. It was the longest javelin throw in the state of Washington this season.
The best local finisher of the day in the distance running events was Glacier Peak’s Katie Bianchini. She finished in second place in the 3,200 with a time of 10:51:03. North Central’s Katie Knight won the race in 10:27:49.
Bianchini ran most of the race in third place before chasing down Bishop Blanchet’s Lily Engelbrekt in the final two laps. Engelbrekt finished in third place.
“I was just trying to run a really specific pace,” Bianchini said. “I didn’t want to go out too fast with the field because I knew Katie and I would take it out fast and everything like that. It was just tactical at the end kind of seeing who was going to be there for me to run with.”
Shot put—1. Dennis Christensen (Richland) 60-04.50; 3. Carey Campbell (Lake Stevens) 56-06; 5. Dan Boyden (Arlington) 54-08.
3,200—Andrew Gardner (Mead) 8:59.83; 10. Aaron Roe (Jackson) 9:28.89.
3,200—1. Joe Hardy (Seattle Prep) 8:55.22; 12. Matt Reith (Oak Harbor) 9:37.74; 16. John Rodeheffer (Oak Harbor) 9:53.51.
Pole Vault—1. Berlie Walker (Eastmont) 14-03; 10. Jordan Chase (Lynnwood) 13-00; 12. Joe Dexter (Shorecrest) 12-06.
Long jump—1. Cameron Braithwaite (Port Angeles) 22-05.50.
3,200—1. Patrick Gibson (Squalicum) 9:01.86; Sam Holeman (Archbishop Murphy) 9:26.02; 13. Mitchell Montgomery (Cedarcrest) 9:31.06; 14. Logan Orndorf (Cedarcrest) 9:49.55.
Triple Jump—1. Courtney Jost (Gig Harbor) 39-04.50; 6. Jessica Ludwig (Arlington) 36-00.50; 8. Adama Marenah (Mariner) 35-00.
Discus—1. Kaci Jones (Stanwood) 131-10; 3. Alexis Sarver (Arlington) 128-07.
3,200—1. Chandler Olson (Woodinville) 10:33.69; 9. Brooke Kingma (Jackson) 11:10.95.
High Jump—1. Molly Grager (Juanita) 5-04; t-9. Alaina Olson (Shorewood) 4-10.
3,200—1. Katie Knight (North Central) 10:27.49; 2. Katie Bianchini (Glacier Peak) 10:51.03. 16. Haley Suarez (Meadowdale) DNF.
Javelin—1. Jamie Weisner (Clarkston) 146-09; 3. Skyler Cannon (Lakewood) 118-10.
3,200—1. Sanne Holland (Cheney) 10:48.40.
Aaron Lommers covers prep sports for The Herald. Follow him on twitter @aaronlommers and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.