Jazlyn Romero left no doubt as to who was in control of the 3A girls javelin event on Friday afternoon.
The Hermiston junior threw 143 feet on her first attempt in the prelims and easily won the District 8 title at Fran Rish Stadium in Richland, earning a trip to the 3A state track meet.
“Having that throw early helped me relax and have fun with it,” she said.
Kennewick’s Madeline Gebers was second with a toss of 123-3.
“It’s a lot of fun when the competition is a lot closer — it’s nice to have the back and forth going.”
The 3A state meet will be held May 23-25 at Mt. Tahoma High School in Tacoma.
It will be the second consecutive trip to state for Romero, who placed third at the Oregon 5A championships last year.
Romero has the top 3A throw in the state this spring at 151-9. The Hermiston school record is 155-11, set by Michelle Coombs in 2008.
“I am excited,” she said. “I don’t want to jinx anything. Anything can happen at state. I just have to keep doing what I do.”
Romero will not be making the trip to Tacoma alone.
Sophomore Paige Palzinski won the shot put with a mark of 40-7, while Kaylee Young was second in the long jump with a PR of 17-5, and the boys 4x100 relay team finished second behind Kamiakin.
Palzinski threw her winning throw on her final attempt in the prelims.
“I was really happy,” she said of her winning mark. “I walked in here a little scared, but I had to trust my training and my coaches. It’s been great to have Kendall (Dowdy) in practice pushing me. This wouldn’t be possible without her. I’m excited I have another week to throw and have the opportunity to go to state.”
Young, who had a busy day with the long jump, 100, 4x100 relay and the 200, managed to save enough energy to set a PR in the long jump.
“I jumped a 16-6, then ran the 100 (prelims),” Young said. “Then I jumped 17-5 on my last jump. It’s kind of cool to go to state. I went last year on the relay, but now I get to go in an individual event. I am so excited.”
Young’s leap of 17-5 ties Ebony Wilson (2017) for second on the school leaderboard. The Hermiston record is 17-10½, set by Mariah Delepierre in 2011.
The Dawgs 4x100 relay team of Broc Remmer, Thomas Reagan, DJ Wilson and Garrett Walchli finished second to earn a trip to state. They trailed Kamiakin and Southridge most of the race, but Walchli, who ran the anchor leg, had a blazing final 100 meters.
“We were behind the whole way until I gave it (the baton) to Garrett,” Wilson said.
“When I got it, I knew I had to go. I had to turn on the jets,” Walchli said.
Hermiston knew Kamiakin and Southridge were fast, and Wilson said he thinks they surprised some people.
“This is a huge blessing,” Wilson said. “All of our handoffs were perfect. We were the underdog the entire year. Today, we proved who we are.”
The Hermiston girls 4x100 team finished fourth, while Chase Bradshaw was sixth in the discus with a throw of 134 feet.
Freddy Mendoza will try and earn a trip to state Saturday in the 800 meters. He finished second in his heat Friday behind Kennewick’s Johan Correa to earn a spot in the finals.
“It was a slow race,” Mendoza said. “We were at 2:02 or 2:03. I had more to give, but I’ll save it for tomorrow.”
Mendoza was right on Correa’s right shoulder with about 50 meters to go, promoting Correa to pick up the pace.
“I felt really good out there,” Mendoza said. “It was nice to have him look over at me, and then he sped up.”