Track records fall to the strong

Records fell last week as South Whidbey’s track athletes showed their best form early and under sunny skies.

Breaking school records between last Thursday’s North Cascades Conference meet in Lakewood and Saturday’s Holder Relays in Yakima were senior Kyle McGillen and junior Kimery Hern. McGillen took down his own 6-foot, 4-inch high jump record twice between the two meets, hitting 6-6 in both. At Lakewood, the height won the event, but in Yakima, the achievement was only good enough for fourth place against a field that produced one 7-0 leap and two marks of 6-8.

Hern, who is training this season as South Whidbey’s first competitor in the hammer throw, put her strength to work for her in the discus Saturday as she set a new school record of 127 feet, 3 inches. Her effort was part of a fifth-place team effort in a discus “relay” at the meet. Her distance was nearly half of the total 268 feet, 3 inches three Falcon competitors were able to put together in the event.

And though he was not a record breaker, senior Travis Tornga aired out one of the longest throws in the modern javelin ever by a South Whidbey athlete. His distance of 175-3 exceeded the throw he made at the state meet last season by almost four feet. The school record, which is held by Ken Kramer, is well over 200 feet. However, since that record was set more than two decades ago, high school javelins have been re-balanced such that they do not fly as far, according to Falcon assistant track coach Dean Hatt.

Overall, in the big meet of the week, the Holder Relays, the Falcon boys and girls placed seventh in their respective team categories. They were paced not only by record-setting performances, but by scores from unexpected corners.

For the boys, breakthroughs happened in the freshman and sophomore events. In the 4x100 relay, two cross country runners — sophomore JD Peters and freshman Jason Fitz — teamed with sprinters Marco Plastino and Evan Johnson to win the event in the 16 team meet. Fitz was also surprising in the 110 high hurdles, an event that has languished for some years at South Whidbey High School. Fitz placed second in 17.0 seconds in the frosh-soph race.

Also a standout was sophomore shot putter Todd Berry, who lofted the big, metal ball 42 feet, 7.5 inches to win his event.

In the varsity events, Kyle McGillen was the runner-up in the triple jump with a distance of 42-8.5, while Travis Tornga was second in the javelin at 169-7. Senior James Sundquist was the Falcons’ standard bearer in the 3,200, taking third in a personal-best time of 9:53.15.

For the girls, freshman Kelsey Kimmel was the big point getter. She won the frosh-soph 800-meter run and 1,600 meters. In the discus, Sara Hicks was also a winner, with a toss of 78-3.

Top placers in the varsity events were Katy McGillen with a runner-up placing in the javelin, and sophomore Katherine East with a third-place finish in the 400. Her time of 61.49 seconds was the best of her career.

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