Prep girls track and field: Rainier reloads with talent, depth to trophy hunt


RAINIER – Glance at the lineup sheet and it might have felt that Rainier High School’s girls track and field team weren’t going to be a serious Class 2B team contender in Yakima last season.

Oh how looks can be deceiving.

The Mountaineers not only looked the part of a top-10 team, but performed like one too with 24 points to tie for seventh in the team race.

“We’ve covered the whole gambit,” Rainier coach Rob Henry said.

All those points and qualifiers are back this season, ignited by reigning state high jump champion Acacia Murphy and javelin winner Ella Marvin. Add in Haleigh Hanson in the throws and a couple relays that return all four legs and the Mountaineers appear to be stacked.

Henry concurs.

“We’ve really had some really good teams come through here,” he said. “It definitely has the potential to be (the deepest).”

Despite not having Murphy run the open 200 and 400, Rainier still placed second with 67 points behind Montesano’s 89. It is that depth that allowed the Mountaineers to have multiple entries in the first handful of heats in most races.

Lineup decisions will eventually happen come April and May, but Henry doesn’t see it as a problem.

“We’ve got kids scoring in multiple events,” Henry said. “The goal is May. The thing about track is it works itself out. We’ll let the chips fall.”

Hanson secured the shot put with a toss of 32 feet, 1.75 inches to outlast Castle Rock’s Kynsi Banes by an inch. A medalist last year in the event, Hanson is aiming for a higher finish and to continue her work on technique.

Teammate Zaylee Bravo finished top-10 in both events.

“I’ll go to the same lifting,” Hanson said. “I’ve been putting in extra time to throw after practice, even on the weekends.”

When her farthest distance was announced in the discus, she let out a slight groan. Her throws in practice have been over 100 feet, but in two meets so far, she hasn’t cracked triple digits.

The senior tossed 99-01 to place fourth on Saturday.

At state, Hanson fouled all three of her tosses.

“That was a wake-up call,” Hanson said. “You can’t walk into the disc ring thinking ‘Oh, I'm going to throw this far.’ It still hurts. Nothing you can do but move on, practice and get better.”

Murphy claimed the high jump by clearing 5-2, the same height she leaped to win state. The junior was the runner-up in the open 100, dashing 13.38 seconds.

Henry doesn’t think there’s any added pressure for Murphy walking into meets as a defending champion.

“Whatever she’s putting on herself and she’s working,” he said. “She puts the time in. She is kind of self-driven. She just worries about herself trying to get better.”

The Mountaineers saw Marvin (javelin), Angelica Askey (800) and Madison Ingram (3,200) all place fourth.

Onalaska ruled the seven field events, picking up the majority of its points before running got underway.

Kaiyah Sandridge and Hannah Wilson placed second in the javelin and pole vault, respectively. Halle Henricksen placed third in the shot put.

“For the girls' side, it is easier to be more successful in the field events,” Wilson said. “It is about being positive and supporting each other.”

Wilson nearly went out at the opening height of 6-foot, but she cleared it on her last jump and soared over the bar at 7-6.

The senior was beaming with excitement afterwards.

“Last few years I haven’t been as successful with my attempts,” Wilson said. “I finished the mixed relay and I think that set me up a little bit for some mistakes. The moment you get all upset, your progress is going to go down.”

Napavine was the next highest team finisher with 31 points, good for eighth. Kiera O’Neill had a hand in three top-three finishes, taking second in the high jump, third in triple jump and running the third leg in the Tigers’ 400 relay.

Rochester had junior Kailyn Black leaping 14-05 in the long jump to place fourth and run a leg on its fourth place 400 relay. Tenino and Morton-White Pass each had a sixth place performance from Brynn Williams (1,600) and Haylee Morgan (300 hurdles), respectively.