YAKIMA - With 13 of their 22 athletes sidelined with the flu, the Bickleton High School Pirates yesterday sent nine tracksters to the Davis JV Invite, garnering eight first place finishes at Kumler Field in Yakima.
Bickleton Coach Darrell Lang said all nine of his athletes placed at the event.
Standing head and shoulders above everyone else was Bickleton's Andrew Venema, who grabbed three first-place finishes in his events.
"He had a great day," Lang said. "He three-stepped the high hurdles all the way. That's the way you can run fast. He was real impressive."
He took first place in the 110m hurdles with a time of 16.64 seconds. He then took first again in the 300m hurdles with a time of 43.98 seconds, a personal best for Venema. He shaved nearly a second off his previous best time of 44.24 seconds.
"He works hard," Lang added.
Venema also took first place in the high jump by clearing a height of 5-10.
Edgar Molina gave the Pirates another first place finish in the shotput event. He threw the shot 40-7.5 for the win. He took third in the discus throw with a distance of 111-05.
Nic Venema placed first in the pole vault, clearing 9-6. It was a good win for the freshman Pirate. Patrick Maeder usually is Bickleton's top pole vaulter but was out sick.
"I think Nic will really improve this year," Lang added.
Teammate Edgar Alcantar finished sixth in the event, clearing 6 feet.
The younger Venema also placed sixth in the 110m hurdles with a time of 20.97.
Rounding out the boys scoring was Virgil Sampson, who finished seventh in the 1600m run with a time of 5:28.25.
The Bickleton girls were led by Danielle Raschko, Katelynn Clinton and Star Kibby.
Raschko took first in the 3200m run with a time of 13:51.78. She also placed 13th in the long jump with a distance of 10-5.5.
Clinton took first in the discus with a distance of 105 feet.
"That was a personal record for her," Lang said. "Last year her best was 96.5."
This is Clinton's first year in the shotput event and she placed second at the invite with a throw of 29-9.5. Teammate Nakai Kibby placed fourth with a throw of 26-8.5.
Nakai Kibby also placed second in the discus throw behind Clinton with a distance of 83-11.
Clinton also finished third in the high jump, clearing 4-6.
Star Kibby took first place in the pole vault for the Pirates with a height of 8-0. She also took second place in the triple jump with a distance of 30-8.5.
Lang said he believes Kibby will continue to improve in the pole vault after she overcomes some technical issues. He added that if she stays healthy she will be a force in the triple jump as well.
All in all Lang said he was happy with his team's effort. Bickleton will compete at the Simcoe Invite on Saturday, March 21, at 11 a.m. in Goldendale.