Greater St. Helens League girls dominate 3A bi-district track

Camas, Mountain View, River teams place in top four

By Greg Jayne, Columbian opinion editor

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TACOMA — They might as well have called it the Class 3A Greater St. Helens League meet.

Southwest Washington schools dominated the 3A girls track and field bi-district meet Saturday at Mount Tahoma High School, qualifying a plethora of athletes for next week’s state meet and turning the team competition into a neighborhood rivalry.

The final team scores showed Camas winning the title with 97 points, followed by Mountain View with 74. Columbia River finished fourth, and Prairie was seventh.

Nowhere was the dominance more evident than in the performance of Megan Kelley. The Camas senior won the 100, 200 and 400 meters, and helped the Papermakers to a second-place finish in the 1,600 relay.

“I’m content with all my times, and we really pulled through on the relay,” Kelley said.

Her reward will be to compete in all four events at the state meet, which runs Thursday through Saturday, again at Mount Tahoma. In the 3A bi-district, the top five finishers in each event qualified for state.

Kelley’s day started with a come-from-behind victory in the 100, where she finished in 12.59 seconds. Tasia Baldwin from Foss of Tacoma was second at 12.77.

“I had a really slow start,” Kelley said. “It was ridiculous how much I had to make up.”

Kelley then won the 400 in 57.42 seconds, and later added a 200-meter victory in 25.78.

“I felt really confident,” she said about sweeping her three individual events. “I wanted to do it; I knew it would be tough.”

In other highlights from the Class 3A meet:

• No event represented Clark County’s dominance more than the girls 1,600, which was won by Camas sophomore Megan Napier in 5:12.90.

In setting a personal record by more than five seconds, Napier was followed by Mountain View’s Lynelle Decker, Camas teammate Austen Reiter, and Prairie’s Nicole Goecke.

“It’s always a hope,” Napier said of her surprise victory. “Got to stay positive.”

Napier seized the lead late on the third lap, then held it throughout the final 400 meters.

“The last couple weeks, I’ve been trying to kick earlier than the other girls because I don’t have the strongest finish,” she said.

• Mountain View was led by Decker, who won the 800 in addition to finishing second in the 1,600.

“I’m happy with my time; it’s my best of the year,” Decker said after winning the 800 in 2:16.71. “Hopefully I’ll break it next week.”

Decker had the lead on the backstretch of the final lap, fell to third on the turn, then surged ahead going into the homestretch. Columbia River’s Jessica Bottelberghe finished second.

“I sped up where I wanted to,” Decker said.

• In the boys competition, Prairie’s Jon Lawson provided the only victory for a Clark County athlete by winning the shot put.

“It was a pretty good series. I was hoping to save my hand, but the guy who was second went a little father than I thought he would,” said Lawson, who has been nursing injured fingers on his throwing hand. “He pushed me.”

Lawson’s winning mark was 58 feet, 2¼ inches. Dan Henehan from Wilson of Tacoma was second at 56-6¾.

Lawson won the discus competition on Friday.

• Evan Klein of Camas and Brian Piette of Columbia River advanced to the state meet by finishing second and third in a hard-fought 800-meter race. Reed Hawkins of Bonney Lake won in 1:59.79, and the top four finishers were within one second of each other.

• Columbia River’s girls picked up a pair of victories from Anna Adamko in the javelin and Jennifer DeBellis in the pole vault.

For Adamko, the win salvaged a disappointing meet. At last year’s state meet, she won the discus and javelin and finished fourth in the shot put. But at this year’s bi-district meet, she failed to qualify for state in the discus and the shot before capturing the javelin title.

“I could have done better, but it was fun; it was competitive,” she said of the javelin competition. “One girl would throw farther, then I would throw farther. We switched the lead.”

DeBellis, who said she missed practice during the week because of a pulled biceps, won the pole vault with a mark of 12 feet, outlasting Kelso’s McKenna Emmert.

“I missed more than I normally do,” she said. “It was kind of shaky. It’s kind of scary when you get down to your last attempt.”