Prep boys track and field: Pe Ell's Phelps sweeps hurdle events in first weekend meet


RAINIER – Carter Phelps kept it realistic.

When reflecting on his Class 1B runner-up finishes in the 110 and 300-meter hurdles at the state meet last spring, the Pe Ell High School senior knew the best he could finish.

“I think back to the past two years I ran against Sam Plocher,” Phelps said. “It was pretty much racing for second.”

Plocher was a buzzsaw that nobody could take down. He set the 1B record in the 110 hurdles, breaking 15 seconds in the prelims. He then shattered that record too. Phelps, meanwhile, was a distance second in both events.

Now that Plocher has graduated, Phelps is the unquestioned top hurdlers in the classification.

Phelps has made good work at the start of the season, sweeping the hurdle events at Saturday’s Rainier Icebreaker on a beautiful sunny day.

“I’m just trying to improve myself, get good times,” Phelps said. “There’s always incoming freshmen, sophomores. We’ll take it as it comes.”

Rochester, behind a long jump victory from Le’shawn Hines and a runner-up finish in the 100 by Dominic Delgado, clipped Morton-White Pass by 10.5 points for a second place standing in the team race behind champ Montesano.

Hines’ leap of 18 feet, 10.5 inches set a new personal record by over five inches. Delgado, out of Lane 1 in the opening heat, blitzed down the inside lane in 11.58 seconds. Distance runner Gunnar Morgan recorded a pair of top-five finishes in the 1,600 and 3,200.

It has been a different offseason for Phelps. A new coach for Pe Ell has brought in a new approach to strength training. All of the Trojans now incorporate weight lifting into in-season training.

The differences have been noticeable.

“I haven't gained too much weight, but I definitely feel it,” Phelps said. “During the 110s at Napavine, I was like ‘Man, that felt slow.’”

He hasn’t been slow.

Although it was a hand time of 15.7 seconds in the season-opening meet at Napavine in the 110s, the automatic time for Saturday was 15.93 seconds. It is a sizable decrease from the 16.24 he ran at state in Yakima.

“I was pleasantly surprised with sub-16,” Phelps said.

Phelps ran the 300 hurdles for the first time this spring and used the second turn to break away and triumph by over a second. Pe Ell’s Calan McCarty finished third in both races.

As much as Phelps wants his shot at gold, he doesn’t want to get too ahead of himself.

“Take it as it comes,” Phelps said. “I’ll check Athletic net to see whose times come in. My sophomore year, I was hot crap and seeded first and like ‘Who is this Sam kid?’ He smoked me.”

The Timberwolves had just one winner in Max Lowe in the triple jump, leaping 39 feet, 8 inches to stave off North Beach’s Sawyer Reither. Lowe jumped over 40 feet at state and tied with Kalama’s Ren Cruser in the event.

Yet it was Cruser that ended with the medal.

“It took me a long time last season to get to 39-5 and to get that my second meet, is pretty impressive to me,” Lowe said. “I did a lot of explosive power lifting.”

Lowe and Tony Belgiorno return to anchor the jumping crew for M-WP. The latter finished runner-up in the long jump. The former believes he can win a state title in both events.

And care about them equally.

“I treated triple jump better last year and took fourth (at state) in long jump,” Lowe said.

Onalaska’s Justice Miller claimed the shot put, was second in the discus and sixth in the open 100. It is the second year where Miller is doing both throws and the quickest event in the sport and he’s surprised himself in the field events.

“My freshman year was mainly just running,” Miller said. “Sophomore I put some more weight on and tried shot and discus. That’s where I saw some improvement.”

The junior, a returning medalist in the discus, uncorked a heave of 45-11 in the shot and 152-flat in the discus.

“A lot of heavy lifting and constant hours (of) training, slow movement with it too,” Miller said. “I am more dedicated to the throws.”

Tenino had a pair of runner-ups in Austin Johnson (200) and Carson Schall (110 hurdles). Napavine’s Colin Shields notched three top-five finishes in the shot, discus and javelin. Rainier went 2-4 in the javelin with Zander Peck and Chris Grey.