Bickleton's Nic Venema takes first in pole vault

CHENEY - Eleven Bickleton athletes competed in 14 events at the 1B State track and field championships at Eastern Washington University last Saturday.

Competition was tough, coach Darrell Lang revealed, but the team overcame several obstacles and came away with some good results.

Bickleton 11th grader Nic Venema earned the team's only first place finish. He and teammates Peter Clinton and Justin Roberts competed against five other schools.

Roberts finished in ninth place with a nine-foot vault, but Clinton and Venema ended up battling it out for first with Kenny Carr from Pomeroy.

The pole vault came down to a jump off between the three athletes, with the pole starting off at 11-3.

Clinton missed the vault and landed a third place finish with an 11 foot vault.

Carr and Venema both completed the 11-3 vault and moved on to 11-6, which Venema nailed and Carr did not.

Venema also went on to finish the 300m hurdles in 42.77, which gave the 11th grader third place in the competition. Andrew Wolf from Mt. Rainer Lutheran earned first place in the event with a 41.48 time.

Venema finished fourth in the 110m hurdles. He ran 17.71 to earn the ranking. Wolf claimed the top spot in this event as well, finishing in 15.39.

The Bickleton 4x100 boys relay team finished fifth with a 46.66 time. The team included Venema, Clinton, Bobby Clinton and Justin Harvey.

The same team returned for the 4x100 relay, where they finished in seventh place (46.65).

Harvey also competed in the 100m and 200m races. He finished in seventh place in the 100m (12.24) and sixth place in the 200m (24.47).

Clinton finished ninth in the 800m (2:11.09), but earned a personal record for his effort.

Bickleton's Mitchell Powers competed in the high jump. He finished sixth in the competition with 5-04.

In the girls competition, the Venema family continued their pole vaulting success with 10th grader Jamie Venema. She finished in second place with an 8-09 vault. She landed behind Brielle Hocking from Pomeroy (9-06).

Venema was also on the girls 4x100 relay team that earned third place at State. The team, which also included Jenna Mount, Aymie Osborne and Katelynn Clinton, finished in 54.41.

Clinton, who was battling an illness over the weekend, competed in the discus, where she finished fourth with a 103-11 throw, withdrew from the 4x200 relay and was replaced with Fanny Schneider.

The team had the second best time coming into the competition, but Venema and Schneider failed to make the final hand off and were disqualified from the race.

Schneider, Bickleton's Switzerland foreign exchange student, also competed in the triple jump where she landed in eighth place with 29-03.50.

The Bickleton boys team earned 39 team points, placing them near seventh or eighth place near Seton Catholic, who also earned 39 points. Mt. Rainer Lutheran took first place with 80 points.

The Bickleton girls team had 20 points, placing them in 15th place. The Mt. Rainer Lutheran girls also took first place with 83 points.

Despite some of the obstacles the Bickleton team faced this year, including having no track at the school and losing a teammate from a broken leg, the athletes competed hard, Coach Lang revealed.

"All of our coaches are proud of our kids," he said. "They work hard and take a lot of pride in our school."

The Pirates will lose only two seniors this year, so many of its outstanding athletes will return to compete next year.


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