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Bickleton's Venema, Molina come up big at 1B State meet

CHENEY - Nic Venema of Bickleton didn't reach his personal best of 12-0 in the pole vault this past Friday at the 1B State track meet in Cheney, but he did well enough to come away with top honors, vaulting 11-0.

Teammate Edgar Molina also came away from the State meet with hardware. He threw 44-10.25 in the shot put for runner-up honors.

The Bickleton boys team had much to be proud of as the team earned eighth place honors overall.

Venema, according to Coach Darrell Lang, was the team leader with his victory in the pole vault. He defeated league rival Brian Langfield of Trout Lake/Glenwood.

"They both went 11 feet, with Nic winning by having no misses at that height," shared the coach.

"This is the first time he has beaten Brian this year, and both have cleared 12 feet this year, so this was a showdown of nerves as both were jumping for the first time at State."

Langfield graduates later this week, but Venema has two more years of prep competition ahead of him. "Thus, Nic has a bright future," shared Lang.

The coach was especially proud because Venema is the youngest State champion he has coached at Bickleton.

Venema's State success didn't end with the one medal around his neck. He also earned sixth place honors in the 300m hurdles, clocking a time of 45.9.

Molina, too, picked up another piece of hardware with fourth place honors in the discus, throwing 132-0.

Molina's second place performance in the shot put was described by the coach as a "clutch put" because the senior moved himself up from third place standings to runner-up on his last effort.

One of Bickleton's top athletes also included Henrik Heldahl, who earned third place honors in the high jump, leaping a height of 5-8. His personal best was 5-11 at Districts.

"Considering the fact that this was his first year in track, that (Heldahl's performance at State) was quite an accomplishment," shared Lang.

Heldahl, an exchange student from Norway, will not be part of the team next season.

Another Pirate earning some hardware at the 1B State meet was Taylor Brown. The freshman finished fifth from the eight-runner finals field, clocking 19.22 in the 110m hurdles.

The BHS coach believes Brown will also be a great competitor next year in the high jump.

The Lady Pirates also had some great results at State this past Friday.

The girls 4x100 relay squad earned sixth place honors, clocking 55.15.

"Our girls 4x100 relay team had to run a prelim on Friday to qualify for the finals and they posted a 55.15 time in qualifying with a new school record," Lang recalled.

Jenna Mount, Haley Goodnight, Jamie Venema and Katelynn Clinton moved into the finals to win the hardware for Bickleton.

Clinton also stepped up big for Bickleton in the discus.

"Katelynn, who struggles with an elbow injury, has come on late in the year to throw the discus," Lang continued.

Clinton, in spite of the injury, earned fifth place honors, throwing the discus 98-7.

"The coaches can hardly wait until next year to start it all over again," shared Lang.

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