CHENEY - Webster Lopez went to the State track and field championships already a winner last Saturday.
The Mabton Jr./Sr. High School junior had never competed in the strenuous 3200M run before this year. But during the past several months the young runner collected the times and places to put him on the road to State competition, amazing himself and his coach.
In a field of 16 top class B runners, Lopez came in ninth place at State, said Mabton Coach Rob Roettger.
"It wasn't as good as he wanted to do, but he is charged up to do better next year," said Roettger.
Lopez, who has never competed in track before this year, turned in time of 10:42 at State.
"He would have had to been in the top eight to place at State," explained Roettger.
The first place runner at State clocked a time of 9:59 and the runner just ahead of Lopez claimed eighth place honors with a time of 10:38.
"Lopez now knows what he has to do to be better next year," said Roettger.
Mabton's other contender at State, Cassandra Geertsma, was also a first time competitor in the high school track and field world this year.
She got bad breaks in her event, said Roettger. Geertsma, a senior, scratched all three times she went to the line in the long jump.
"She was really disappointed, but it still was a big achievement to step up and make it to State in on her first try," said Roettger.
"I'm really proud of all of my kids this year," said Roettger, who just finished his first year as Mabton's head track coach.
"We have a lot of kids coming back next year with a better idea of what they need to do to excel in the sport," he said.
"We all have some new goals for next year," he added.
. Julia Hart can be contacted at
(509) 837-4500, or you can e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org