The Hub City All-Area Track & Field team features three boys and two girls state champions among the 22 athletes that represent the best talent the area has to offer in track & field.
Adna coach Todd Penman, Centralia coach Tim Penman, W.F. West coach Autumn Ledgerwood and Onalaska coach Carla Hoppie got together and set marks for each event in order to whittle down a list of athletes that would become the All-Area team.
“We wanted to have two larger schools, two smaller schools represented and I think it was two years ago. We sat down and came up with some standard marks, some that were respectable,” Tim Penman said. “We created on athletic.net an all area list, so then we could follow these kids through the whole season to see who was going where and who was popping up and who was doing well. It also allowed us to look at the history of the kids so if maybe they popped off one great mark but then there’s nothing else later, we found issues with timing systems and some other issues. We were able to evaluate it and we really feel like we have the best kids in the area for this team and that’s what we wanted and then just to represent them, just so that track and field is here and that they’re out there. They work hard and we just want to make sure that they get recognized for that.”
On the boys side, Adna’s Brady Collins and Austen Apperson were both state champions in the 4x400 and the Pirates won a team championship in the 2B ranks. Apperson added two other titles in the 800 and the 3200 meter races. He finished second to Walla Walla Valley’s Justin Roosma in the 1600 meter race.
“Junior year was pretty stressful because you’re trying to hit some good marks for the sole reason of colleges for the most part so senior year, I was able to enjoy the sport a whole lot more and I was able to focus on what I was doing,” Apperson said. “I always told myself just give your best effort and whatever happens happens and you should be happy with however it turns out. My attitude going in was just to enjoy the season and just try to continue to improve like I have the first three years.”
Apperson has won seven state track titles and two 1B/2B state cross country crowns in the last two years.
“It's been amazing. It’s been everything I’ve ever wanted it to be, a lot of the glory has to go to God I feel,” Apperson said. “I set goals for myself when I was a freshman and I was able to obtain every single one of them and so I look back on my career with nothing but fond memories.”
Also winning a state track title was Morton-White Pass’ Tristen Storey. Storey, a senior, was part of the 4x100 relay team with Manuel Martinez, Jesse Urban and Kaleb Rashoff that won the state title with a time of 43.84 seconds.
Storey also finished second in the 100 meter race with a time of 11.50 seconds and also took second at state in the 200 with a time of 22.58 seconds. Collins finished third in the 100 meter race in 11.54 seconds.
Napavine’s Keith Olson and Draven Riddle each made the All-Area squad. The freshman finished second in the shot put at state with a toss of 49 feet, 3 inches. Riddle, a junior, finished third in the long jump with a leap of 21 feet, 8 inches.
Pe Ell’s Jeremiah Yost claimed a spot on the All-Area squad. The junior earned second place in the javelin with a throw of 138 feet, 9 inches.
In the 2A ranks, W.F. West’s Gerardo Sanchez-Carpio, Connor Russell, Colby White and Lafe Johnson made the All-Area team. White, a senior signed to compete in track & field at Washington State University next year, finished fourth at state in the high jump, leaping 6 feet, 4 inches. Sanchez-Carpio, also a senior, finished 11th in the 100 meter dash and was on the 4x100 relay team with Troy Yarter, Carver Brennan and Jaiyden Camoza that finished sixth at state.
Russell, a sophomore, earned ninth place at state in the 110 meter hurdles (15.70) and Johnson wrapped up his senior season with a win the pole vault at the Evergreen 2A Conference Championships with a height cleared of 14 feet.
Rochester junior Daniel May also made the All-Area team. May finished seventh in the javelin at the Evergreen 2A Conference Championships with a throw of 146 feet, 10.5 inches and tossed a personal best 158 feet, 10 inches in the first meet of the season.
The All-Area girls team features two state champions. Onalaska junior Carmen Cleveland-Barrera won the 2B shot put title with a throw of 41 feet, 4.5 inches Toledo’s Kal Schaplow, a junior, won the 2B javelin title with a heave of 124 feet, 2 inches in her first season of track & field.
Napavine’s Chloe Stewart made the All-Area team after competing in four events at state. The Tiger junior finished 11th in the 100 meter hurdles (17.78), sixth in the 300 meter hurdles (48.65), ninth in the long jump (15-8) and seventh in the triple jump (34-9.5). Adna’s Lauryn Apperson competed in three events at the state tournament to land a spot on the All-Area team. The Pirate senior finished 11th in the 400 meter race (1:04.03), took ninth in the 4x200 relay with Kaylin Todd, Joey Swenson and Carli Latimer (1:52.72) and sixth in the 4x400 relay with Todd, Maddie Kleemeyer and Faith Wellander.
Centralia’s Bailey Powell competed in three events at the state 2A meet. The sophomore bounced back from a torn ACL in her freshman season to take 17th in the 100 meter race (13.31), 13th in the 200 meter race (27.18) and took 10th in the 4x100 relay with Tawnee Craig, Anastasia Ulrigg and Rebekah Robbins.
“I’m really proud of her, she came back from an ACL tear and did not run last year and came back in and just didn’t quite know what she could do, I believe, and so she had a great year as far as just learning how to come out of blocks, just all the basic things she missed as a freshman,” Tim Penman said. “She had to pick it up this year so if you looked at her from the beginning of the year and some of our early meets and then when she finished the year, there was just a huge improvement in her confidence and what she could do.”
Teammate Makayla Erickson earned a spot on the All-Area team. The senior won several meets during her final prep season in the 800, 1600, 3200 and 4x400 relay races. She qualified for the district championship meet in the 3200 and ran a season best 12:35.25 to claim the Evergreen 2A Conference crown.
“Steady, she was four years of cross country state. She had been a four year letter winner in track,” Tim Penman said. “She had gone through some adversity too. Her junior year, and it was a tough year for her and just to come back and have a great leadership senior season, I thought was just super for her.”
W.F. West’s Kelly Robertson, Taya McCallum, Elaina Koenig and Megan Flexhaug each made the All-Area team. Robertson, a sophomore, finished 14th in the 300 meter hurdles (49.28), 14th in the 4x200 relay with Kylee Spears, Courtney Bennett and Elizabeth Patana (1:49.21) and 10th in the 4x400 relay with Spears, Bennett and Patana (4:12.37) in the state 2A meet.
McCallum, a junior, finished fourth in the discus (104 feet, 8.5 inches) at the district championships. Koenig, a freshman, earned 12th place in the 800 meter race (2:26.16) at the state meet and Flexhaug wrapped up her Bearcat career with a third place finish in the pole vault (10 feet, 6 inches) at the state meet.
Rochester’s Kate Peltier also made the All-Area team. The senior took eighth in the high jump at the district championship meet with a height of 4 feet, 8 inches.
Tim Penman said he believes that there is a solid mix of athletes represented on the All-Area team.
“The bigger school can get the recognition just because they’re bigger and in track and field, it’s times,” Penman said. “It’s an equal playing field when you do that and we like it. To see the bigger schools and the smaller schools and just that mix, we were very pleased with the mix this time. It was neat.”