The trio of Elijah Pena, Eric Amaro and Kasi Prieto are the only high school athletes from Sunnyside, Grandview and Mabton who have qualified to compete at the State meet level.
Pena and Amaro, both from Sunnyside, earned their 3A State track and field meet berths at a Regional competition staged at Spokane Falls Community College last Friday and Saturday. The athletes there needed to finish either first or second in their respective events to qualify for State.
Prieto, a Grandview High School junior, qualified for the 2A State meet at a District meet held at Prosser's Art Fiker Stadium last Friday. A 'Top 4' finish at District was required to move on to State.
Mabton High School was one of 14 teams competing at the SCAC District meet in Toppenish last Friday. Athletes there were required to finish in the top three of their respective events to qualify for the 1A State meet. None of the Vikings met that threshold.
The closest Mabton came to advancing a Viking to the 1A State meet occurred in the boys javelin competition. Senior Adrian Gutierrez, from a field of 16 throwers, had the fourth best toss with an effort of 152-11. The third-place qualifier for the 1A State meet, senior Kyle Pruett of Connell, registered a throw of 157-4. Matt Wellner of LaSalle (168-11) and Josh Chronister of Highland (158-6) were first and second, respectively.
The next best finishes for Mabton at the SCAC District meet in Toppenish were seventh-place performances by Gutierrez in the discus (114-6) and freshman Michael Jaramillo in the 800-meter run (55.22).
Prieto will be representing Grandview at the 2A State meet at Mt. Tahoma High School in Tacoma later this week. She grabbed the fourth and final berth to State at Prosser last Friday in the girls 400-meter run. Prieto clocked a time of 1:01.19, which was 1.7 seconds faster than the girl who finished fifth. The winning 400m time was 58.26, set by Cheney's Janessa Day.
Prieto's Grandview teammate, sophomore Steven Razo, narrowly missed out on advancing to State. Competing in the boys 300-meter hurdles, he came up one spot short of moving on. Razo placed fifth with a clocking of 41.44 seconds. The fourth-place finisher, West Valley junior Braden Sunwold, edged Razo by 18 one-hundredths of a second for the fourth and final berth to State.
Grandview's Jose Castilleja, too, narrowly missed out on a trip to Tacoma. Competing in the boys 100-meter dash, he hit the finish line in 11.81 seconds, sixth best from the 17-sprinter field. Castilleja's clocking was just 15 one-hundredths of a second behind the final qualifier for State.
Pena and Amaro, the two Sunnyside athletes moving on to the 3A State meet at Mt. Tahoma High School, each garnered a runner-up finish at Regionals last weekend.
Pena, a junior, placed second in the boys 110-meter hurdles. He was approximately half a second behind the winner, Brenden Kelly of Southridge High School. Pena clocked a time of 15.65 seconds. Kelly's time was 15.17. The third-place finisher in the race who saw his season come to a close, Southridge senior Parker Floyd, crossed the finish line about four-tenths of a second behind Pena.
Amaro will be moving on to the 3A State meet in the boys discus. He recorded a toss of 150-9, second best only to Hanford senior Aaron Cunningham (154-1). Shadle Park's Nathan Clayton, the third-place finisher, was well back of both Cunningham and Amaro with a throw of 146-0.
Heading into the 3A Regional meet in Spokane, many thought Amaro's best chance at qualifying for State would be in the javelin. He came up one spot short of moving on, however, placing third with a throw of 165-0. Carlos Riojas of Mt. Spokane and Dylan Tennancourt of Kennewick were first and second, respectively, with efforts of 174-4 and 167-9.
Sunnyside had one other athlete who nearly earned a berth to State, that being junior Brittney Broersma. Competing in the girls 300-meter hurdles, she ended up third in the eight-athlete finals. Broersma clocked a time of 47.90 seconds. Deja Svastisalee of North Central High School was first (45.64) and Kamiakin freshman Heather Donais was the runner-up (47.04).