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Gonzalez goes out a champion

PASCO - Isley Gonzalez finished off her prep high school track and field career as a champion.

The Washington State University bound senior won the 3,200-meter run this past Friday night at the 3A State track and field meet in Pasco.

Gonzalez staved off the challenge of Bellevue sophomore Kelsey Walker to win the 3,200 with a time of 10:58.69. Walker took runner-up honors with a clocking of 10:59.76.

Sunnyside Coach Robin Bryson said Gonzalez broke away from Walker in the last 100 meters by using a powerful kick down the stretch. Bryson said Gonzalez ran a very smart, conservative race and did what she had to when the time called. Bryson was very impressed with the quality of runners in the distance events this year. Bryson said she knew the race was going to turn out to be a good one when a group of about six runners in the lead pack finished the first mile with a 5:31 pace. Bryson said it wasn't until laps six and seven that the lead group started to break up into smaller packs.

Gonzalez didn't have much rest time, though. Mere hours after winning the 3,200-meter run, the Sunnyside senior had to come back and compete in the 1,600 on Saturday. Walker broke past Grandview freshman Britnee Sanchez to win the 1,600 crown with a time of 5:04.06. Sanchez was second with a time of 5:05.79. Gonzalez finished sixth with a clocking of 5:16.09. Bryson said Gonzalez started to fall from the pack about the third lap. Bryson added Gonzalez didn't seem to have much left in her legs. Bryson said Gonzalez was disappointed with her performance in the 1,600. But the Grizzly coach was anything but disappointed with Gonzalez. This marks the second year Gonzalez has won the 3,200 State title. She also won the long distance title her sophomore year. Gonzalez placed second in the 3,200 her freshman season and was sixth her junior year.

"That is quite an accomplishment," said Bryson.

Hilary Van de Graaf also represented the Lady Grizzlies at State, but failed to make it out of the preliminaries on Friday in the 300-meter low hurdles.

"She looked really nervous," said Bryson of Van de Graaf.

Van de Graaf ran a time of 48.37 in the preliminaries on Friday. Bryson said she felt it was just a matter of Van de Graaf having an off night.

Sunnyside's 4X100-meter relay team of Van de Graaf, Caity Robert, Daniela Rivera and Fatima Ruelas didn't make it out of preliminaries on Friday, either. The Lady Grizzlies tandem ran a 51.61 in the 100, beating two other schools.

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