NASELLE — Echo Cenci became district champion in three events, while Faaoso Tutu’u took a first and a second, as 16 Naselle individual athletes and three relay teams qualified for state out of the District IV 1B tournament Wednesday, May 15.

The top two girls and top three boys in each event qualified automatically, while others could qualify by meeting certain thresholds. Firm Foundation, Mary M. Knight, North River, Taholah, the Washington School for the Deaf and Wishkah Valley were the other schools competing.

Cenci burst out in lane seven in the 400 meters, passing multiple runners in the opening seconds, and posted the second-fastest time of her career at 1:05.28 to win by over four seconds. Naselle eighth-grader Bella Colombo took third at 1:11.62, but Firm Foundation’s Beth Merritt edged her for second with a personal-best time.

Cenci had a personal-best 28.59-second 200-meter run, edging WSD’s Ashantay Truong by a quarter second. Cenci set another personal record in the 100-meter hurdles, taking first at 18.23 seconds.

Tutu’u, who reached a personal best of 11.75 seconds in the 100 earlier in the month, topped that at 11.70, edging Wishkah Valley’s Benjamin Lawson, who got in at 11.99. He added a season-best 19’5” long jump for second place, qualifying for State.

Lilli Zimmerman, the 2017 state shot put champ (35’4.75”), won Districts with a season-best 34’0.5” mark, edging Taholah’s Nettie Mail by 3.5 inches. Zimmerman’s score was the third highest in Washington 1B this year. Trout Lake’s Liz Fink leads 1B with a 39’2” throw.

Zimmerman was one of only two competitors in the high jump, the other being State favorite Kaylee Sowle. Sowle jumped 5’6”, Zimmerman had a 4’8”, and both qualified as top-two finishers. Zimmerman’s 4’8” mark, which she has achieved several times, ties her for eighth in Washington 1B this year, giving her a chance for a solid placing at State.

All five Naselle pole vaulters qualified, as they were the only ones competing in the event. Cody Condon won the boys vault at 10’6”, followed by Caleb Haataia (9’0”) and Parker Dalton (8’0”). Sophie Scrabeck won the girls vault at eight feet, followed by Grace Hunt at six feet.

Josh Chadwick beat his only competitor in the 110-meter hurdles, finishing in 19.11 seconds to 21.24 for North River’s Zachary White; both advanced to state. White won the 300 hurdles in 48.47 seconds, but Corey Gregory (52.08) and Ian Fontanilla (53.53) advanced as the only other competitors. Gregory set a personal record in the 200-meters at 26.01 seconds but was five-hundredths short of WSD’s Ramon Varaja, who grabbed the third and final state berth.

Jacob Eaton and Monte Schell joined Cenci, Tutu’u and Zimmerman in qualifying in multiple individual events. Schell high-jumped 5’8” for first-place, while Eaton took third at 5’4”. Eaton added a second-place finish of 36’10.25” in the triple jump. Schell won the 800-meter race and took second in the 1,600, giving him three individual events to compete in at state.

Schell came in as the favorite in the 800, with average times of around 2:20. At districts, though, MMK’s Corbin Thompson whacked 13 seconds off his personal best for a mark of 2:17.59, and it took a personal best from Schell (2:16.72) to beat him. North River eighth-grader Jesse Doll came in a surprising third, taking over 20 seconds off his previous times with a 2:20.49. Naselle’s Kolby Glenn gave chase down the final stretch in pursuit of third-place and a state berth, but Doll made one last burst before collapsing as he crossed the finish line, seven hundredths ahead of Glenn.

However, Glenn did make state by winning the 1,600. Glenn and Schell passed North River’s Zachary White and Kaleb Riggs, with Glenn lurking a bit behind Schell in the passing lane each time. The two built a solid lead, but Glenn passed his teammate near the end of the race, winning in 5:08.99, ahead of Schell’s 5:12.96. Both qualified for State.

Glenn and Schell maintained a steady pace, calmly awaiting opportunities to pass. “I knew they [the runners in front of him] were going to slow down, and I was feeling good,” Glenn said. “It makes it easier with Monte passing them at the same time. He helped me, and I think I helped him too.”

After discus throw marks in the low 90s for most of the year, Ellie Miller reached triple digits in the discus throw, winning by over five feet with a season-best 100’5” throw. Emma Colombo had a 94’4” javelin throw, beating out teammate Sophie Scrabeck for second by 17 inches.

Cenci, Grace Hunt, Zimmerman and Bella Colombo edged Wishkah Valley by 12/100ths to win the 4x200 meter relay. Corey Gregory, Tutu’u, Cody Condon and Antonio Nolan won the boys 4x100-meter relay in 46.51 seconds. Gregory, Tutu’u, Schell and Nolan won the 4x4 in 3:52.69. All three relay teams advanced to state.

Naselle’s boys team score of 173 easily beat a 64 for second-place North River. Naselle’s girls team score of 126 outpaced 113 for second-place Wishkah Valley.

Aaron Mead is a sports writer for the Chinook Observer. Contact him at 360-642-8181 or aaroncmead@gmail.com.

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