YAKIMA – Sunnyside senior Elijah Pena turned in monster efforts this past Wednesday afternoon at a four-school Big Nine League track and field meet hosted by the Eisenhower Cadets.
Pena, competing against Ike, Moses Lake and Wenatchee, won both boys’ hurdles events.
The SHS senior also edged T.J. Harris of Wenatchee by a quarter of an inch to claim top honors in the long jump.
Pena, too, teamed with Ryan White, Mark Mortensen and Jesus Magallan to put up the second fastest time Wednesday in the boys’ 4x100 relay. The Grizzly quartet clocked a time of 44.80 seconds, approximately a half-second back of the winners from Wenatchee.
The Sunnyside girls’ track and field team received a pair of first-place performances from senior Brittney Broersma and freshman Jenelle Sanchez.
Broersma clipped Moses Lake sophomore Taylor Yamane by a tenth of a second for top honors in the girls’ 100-meter hurdles. Broersma’s winning time was 16.67 seconds, with Yamane second in 16.78.
Broersma also earned the Lady Grizzlies runner-up points in the 300-meter hurdles. She clocked a time of 48.17, bested only by Moses Lake junior Arlena Hannan (47.10).
The freshman Sanchez notched Sunnyside’s one other victory on the day, that coming in the girls’ javelin. She launched a throw of 82-2, more than four feet further than the next best toss, an effort of 78-0 set by runner-up Cierra Devine of Moses Lake. Sunnyside freshman Alexis Garcia was third in the event with a performance of 76-0.
The only other ‘Top 3’ finish the Sunnyside girls managed at Yakima’s Zaepfel Stadium came from sophomore Madison Marro. Competing in the girls’ shot put, she heaved the ball 30 feet, two and a quarter inches. Eisenhower junior Rachel Bush was first (32-3.5) and Wenatchee freshman Jalani Stevens was second (31-1.25).
Pena, in winning the boys’ 110m hurdles for the Sunnyside Grizzlies, was nearly a third of a second quicker to the finish line than the runner-up, Wenatchee junior Wyatt Long. Pena hit the tape in a time of 15.59 seconds.
The Grizzly trackster was even more dominant in the 300m hurdles. He posted a winning time of 40.73 seconds, a full second ahead of Melquisedec Lombera of Ike (41.72).
Sunnyside track coach Darren Mezger said Pena’s time in the 300m hurdles was a personal best, the senior’s first clocking in less than 41 seconds.
Pena was pressed by Harris of Wenatchee in the boys’ long jump, but emerged with his third victory on the day with a leap of 20-10. Harris was a close second with a jump of 20-9.75.
The one other highlight on the day for the SHS boys’ team was delivered by sophomore Fabian Gonzalez. Competing in the javelin, he flew the spear a distance of 149-11. There were only two performances that topped his…tosses of 171-10 and 153-10 by the Sugg brothers of Wenatchee.
In team scoring, Sunnyside’s boys defeated Moses Lake 76-65 and fell to Wenatchee by a score of 107-32.
The Lady Grizzlies were defeated by Moses Lake 108-41 and Wenatchee by a mark of 102-46.
Mezger said Wednesday’s track meet was a learning experience for his team in gearing up for warmer days and heated competition ahead. “The heat got to us a little bit, I don’t think the kids hydrated well,” the coach said.
Sunnyside now sets its sights on the Keith Jewett Invite in Ellensburg this coming Saturday.
“We’ll try and get a plaque at the invite (for first or second place),” said Mezger. “We have a shot.”
Besides team goals, Mezger says the Grizzlies have several track athletes on the bubble of nearly qualifying for the District track meet later this month. “We have a lot of kids on the edge,” he said. “But they need good marks.”