Pena powers Grizzlies to runner-up finish at invite

GHS boys eighth at Ellensburg meet


ELLENSBURG – Three first-place finishes by senior Elijah Pena, as well as a pair of runner-up performances by Grizzly teammate Bernaldo Madrigal, lifted the Sunnyside High School boys’ track and field team to a second-place finish at last Saturday’s Keith Jewett Invitational.

The host Ellensburg Bulldogs won the boys’ team title by tallying 183 points. Sunnyside’s boys were second at the 12-team invite with 84 points.

Grandview’s boys, led by junior Steven Razo’s third-place finish in the 300-meter hurdles, accumulated 22 team points to tie Prosser for eighth in the boys’ standings.

In securing the second most team points in the 12-school competition last Saturday, Sunnyside Coach Darren Mezger couldn’t have hardly been more pleased with his Grizzlies.

“That’s the highest placing we’ve had in a long while,” Mezger said. “And, we were actually missing a couple of guys.”

As has been the case all season long, it was the senior Pena who led the Sunnyside charge on Saturday. He won both boys’ hurdles events – the 110 and 300-meter sprints – and came away the victor in the long jump.

In the longer of the two hurdles races, Pena set a new meet record while also establishing a personal best clocking. He sped to a time of 39.97 seconds, which he pretty much needed to do to get the victory, considering Ellensburg senior Trent Walker was nipping on his heels with a clocking of 40.03.

The Grandview junior Razo was right there within the blink of an eye, as well, placing third with a standout time of 40.17 seconds.

In winning the shorter of the two hurdles races, Pena had his way with the 13-sprinter field. He clocked a time of 15.37 seconds. Ellensburg junior Allyn Burvee, the 110m hurdles runner-up, was a distant second in a time of 16.07.

Grandview’s Miguel Moreno, only a sophomore, managed a sixth-place showing in the 110m hurdles (18.93).

Pena’s third win of the day came in the long jump. Again, he was the class of the 18-athlete field, putting up a mark of 21-5.5. The next best effort was 20 feet, three-quarters of an inch, set by Monroe High School senior Josiah Steele. Pena’s teammate, sophomore Julian Naranjo, placed fourth with an effort of 18-11.75.

Pena rounded out Saturday’s stalwart performances by setting a new personal best in the boys’ 200-meter dash. He raced to the finish line in a time of 23.44 seconds, good for third-place honors. Madrigal, his teammate, also established a PR, placing second at 22.99 seconds, with Ellensburg sophomore Nathan Fitzpatrick the winner in 22.57.

Madrigal, too, got a runner-up finish in the 100-meter dash, speeding to a clocking of 11.62 seconds. Ellensburg’s Fitzpatrick, as in the 200m, emerged the winner with a clocking of 11.39. Sunnyside freshman Mark Mortensen also performed well for the Grizzlies in the 100, putting up the sixth fastest time on the day from the 25-sprinter field (12.11).

Sunnyside’s boys came away with two other ‘Top 6’ finishes at the Ellensburg meet.

In the javelin, sophomore Fabian Gonzalez was bested only by Ellensburg senior Jensen Lillquist. The Bulldog recorded the longest toss, a throw of 178-1. Gonzalez was second at 141-2.

Also for Sunnyside, senior Ignacio Portillo finished in the top half of the 3200m, 12-runner field. He placed sixth (11:21.95). The winning time was 10:35.54, clocked by West Valley’s Colton Hoggarth. Grandview sophomore Carlos Granados was fifth in the race (11:04.82).

Grandview, too, came away with a fourth-place finish in the 800m run. Senior Jose Velazquez set a time of 2:09.62. The winning 800m clocking was 2:03.88, set by Richard Pryor of West Valley.

Sunnyside’s track team closes out the regular season at Eastmont High School this coming Thursday. Postseason competition begins with the District 5 championship meet in Richland on Friday, May 16.


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