GOLDENDALE - Led by senior Noe Gutierrez's District title leap of 41-8.5 in the triple jump, the Mabton boys track team placed eighth at this past Saturday's SCAC District meet in Goldendale.
Mabton earned a total of 32 points in the 14-team field. Connell won the boys team scoring with 148 points.
Gutierrez was the only one of Mabton's 10 athletes at Districts to advance to the State 1A track meet this Saturday at Cheney. His winning mark in the triple jump was a personal best.
"He's worked hard for us all four years and never gives up," said Coach Scott Sexton. "It finally paid off for him. With that mark he's got a shot at a medal over there (at State)."
The Vikings had other athletes who just missed out on punching their tickets to State.
The top three boys finishing in each event qualified for State. The top four girls in each event also advanced.
That meant Mabton's Jesus Huecias just missed the qualifying mark in the 400 as he clocked a fourth-place time of 53.87. Michael Newman of Cle Elum took the third and final State berth in the 800 with a time of 53.63.
Likewise, Emilio Mireles just missed out in the 800 for Mabton, as he was fourth with a personal best time of 2:10.25. LaSalle's Matt Schwittay claimed third place honors and the final State berth in that event with a time of 2:08.3.
Mireles also scored for Mabton in the 1,600 with a fifth place time of 4:57.85.
The Mabton 4x400 relay team earned fifth-place honors for the Vikings in a time of 3:46.88. Jose Lopez, Emilio Mireles, Vicente Mireles and Jesus Huecias ran the four legs of the relay.
Also scoring at Districts for the Viking boys were Noe Gutierrez (sixth in the long jump, 18-9.5) and Adrian Gutierrez (eighth in the javelin, 134-4).
Mabton's only female competitor, Cassandra Madrigal, just missed out qualifying for State in the triple jump.
Madrigal earned fifth place honors with a leap of 29-8, just back of Goldendale's Andrea Keffeler, who grabbed the fourth and final triple jump berth to State with a mark of 30-11.25.
"It was a highly competitive day," Sexton said of his team's near misses. "The kids were feeling good, but it was a strong field and somebody had to be left home."
Connell took top team honors at Districts in girls competition with 115 points. Mabton was 14th with four points.
Gutierrez's competition at State will begin at 3:10 p.m. this Saturday in the second flight of the 1A boys triple jump.