CHENEY - Regional champions Eric Hess of Bickleton and Trishi Williams of Mabton won medals at the State B track and field meet at Woodward Field on the campus of Eastern Washington University in Cheney this past weekend.
Hess, the Regional discus champ, won a fourth place medal and Williams, who picked up the javelin for the first time midway this season, snared a sixth place medal in a field of 16 competitors.
Williams' 112-foot effort, well over the 108-5 that put her first in Regionals, was her personal best and put her on the winner's podium among the top eight at State. She was the only Mabton Viking trackster who made it to State.
Although it was his first time competing at State, Hess was familiar with the State hype as he was among the crowd that saw his sister, Annie, break the state record in discus last year.
"Eric has been watching and hearing about his sister for the last four years, and now it was his turn to perform on the big stage," said Bickleton Coach Darrell Lang.
"Eric came in as the fourth seeded thrower, and held firm as his throw of 130-8 was just off his career best, gaining him the fourth place medal," said Lang.
"Nerves and pressure of the State meet can take a toll on first year competitors, as well as experienced ones, but that was not the case for Eric. Coach Tom Whitmore, who coaches our throwers, feels that, if Eric can improve as much as he did this year, we will be looking at another Hess State champion," Lang added.
Coach Lang also has expectations for Bickelton's Junior Hernandez, the only eighth grader at State this year, who placed second in the 3,200m race at Regionals.
"Junior was concerned that his qualifying time was just a second off the last place time and he might finish last," said Lang. "I was not concerned that would be the case, because I knew he was ready to run a best-ever time. He did start out near the last position, but ran a smart and gutsy race as he moved up into 10th for a time, and, after falling into 12th on the home stretch, he out-kicked a runner from LaSalle to earn an 11th place finish in a PR time of 10:44.31.
"If he keeps training hard, he will one day be a State champion," Lang predicted.
The third Pirate that went to State was Patrick Maeder, a pole vaulter who took to track for the first time this year and exceeded not only his, but also his coaches, expectations.
"Patrick vaulted near his PR, gaining a 12th place finish at 9-6, beating six other vaulters. We look forward to next year as he is bound to improve. His goals include breaking the school record of 12-6 and competing for a State title in the coming years," said Lang.
"Coach Whitmore and I both look forward to next year as we lose just two seniors, Corryn Raschko and Doni Franklin," Lang said.