Hermiston’s Garrett Walchli knew he would have to turn on the jets when he got the baton for the anchor leg of the boys 4x100 relay.
Walchli, a junior, took the baton from Ben Wicks and started chasing down Walla Walla’s Colby Turner. Walchli caught him with about 40 meters to go, and then crossed the finish line a step ahead of Turner for the win on Thursday at the Bulldog Invite at Kennison Field.
“I was wondering where our boys were at,” Walchli said. “I was like third or fourth when I got the baton. I was like, ‘We are not going down without a fight.’”
The Bulldogs won in a time of 45.72 seconds, while Walla Walla was second in 45.85. The team knows they still have work to do.
“Now, we just have to brush it up,” said DJ Wilson, who ran the second leg.
Walchli also was second in the 100 meters (11.42), just a step behind Walla Walla’s Jared McAlvey (11.23).
The Invite, which featured schools from Walla Walla to Heppner, did not see a lot of record times or distances, but for most schools it was just nice to get outdoors after a long winter and waiting for several inches of snow to melt.
There was no drama in the girls 4x100 relay, where Hermiston won with a time of 50.13 — more than 4 seconds in front of Umatilla.
While the win was nice, leadoff runner Elsa Torres did not like their time, saying their best time is a few seconds faster.
The Bulldogs did lead from start to finish, with Torres handing off to Madi Wilson, who in turn gave the baton to McKaylee Young, and Young passed it off to Scout Reagan, who crossed the finish line with the next team a country mile behind.
Even with a couple of stumbling handoffs, the Bulldogs were in synch.
“We have good chemistry,” Wilson said.
Wilson also won the 100 hurdles in a time of 15.44.
“I was the last one out the blocks,” said Wilson, who said she slipped a little. “I just ran. The first race is always a little bumpy, but I felt good overall. My goal is that no one will beat me on my track.”
Young added a win in the 100 (12.99) to go with the relay. Patty Burres of Umatilla was second (13.03), and Scout Reagan, who was nursing a quad strain, was third (13:10).
In the battle of the big boys, Heppner’s Derek Howard held his own in the shot put, finishing second with a mark of 47 feet, 3 inches. Walla Walla’s Patrick Utschinski, who is headed to Washington State to play football, won the event with a throw of 52-8.
“It was pretty good for the for the first meet,” said Howard, who has placed third at state the past two years. “It’s a good opportunity to push myself against the big schools. They always have someone super good like him (Utschinski).”
Howard also was third in the discus (123-9), behind Utschinski (137-7) and Sam Carlson of Helix (126-4).
In the girls shot put, Hermiston’s Paige Palzinski won with a mark of 38-8, more than a foot better than Prosser’s Abby Rodriguez (37-6). Hermiston’s Kendall Dowdy was third (34-4).
Palzinski also was second in the triple jump with a leap of 31-4. Noelani Helm of Walla Walla won the event with a mark of 32-6.
Heppner’s Mason Lehman won the boys 400 meters (55.57), with Umatilla’s Arrik Russell second (55.83).
Hailey Heideman of Ione was second in the 400 (1:03.88), just a step behind Kaitlyn Wright of Burns.
Stanfield’s Rebecca Reynolds finished third in the high jump, tying her personal best with a height of 4-8. Helm won with a height of 5 feet.
“I would have liked to have gone higher, but it just means I have more room to improve,” Reynolds said. “The weather was so nice, which helped.”
In the boys 1,600, Tim Stevens of Cove led the first three laps, then got caught by Walla Walla Valley’s Justin Roosma, who eventually won the race in a time of 4:20.69. Stevens was nearly 6 seconds back, and Heppner’s Hunter Nichols was fifth (4:34.97).
“I was good to get a first time and be in a competitive heat in a race,” Nichols said. “I felt good for the first race, but I still have a long road ahead of me.”
The meet was still in progress at 9 p.m., and final results were not available.