3A district track: Brotherly champs

Prairie’s Zalks each win district title

By Matt Calkins, Columbian Sports Reporter

Published:

 

Jesse Zalk is the brother with the football accolades and scholarship to Central Washington.

But Peter Zalk is the brother with something more valuable within the household: bragging rights.

Last spring, in his freshman year at Prairie High School, Peter lined up against his older sibling in the 110 meter hurdles at the 3A district track championships, only to watch Jesse break away from the rest of the field.

Only problem was -- it was a false start, something Jesse never realized as he sprinted all the way to the finish line.

So when he lined back up, he didn’t quite have the same energy, and Peter ended up becoming district champion.

“That’s his excuse,” said Peter, who admits he probably would have played the same card had he been the victim of the false start. “But I still would have won.”

Jesse, a senior, playfully disputes the claim, but Thursday, both he and lil’ bro were able to claim district titles. Peter again took first in the 110 hurdles, posting a time of 15.08, a half-second better than second place. Jesse, meanwhile, won the long jump, leaping 20 feet, 10 and a half inches despite a tender heel he tweaked a couple weeks earlier.

Jesse said that football and track are the two primary topics of conversation in the Zalk home, and that he and Peter are competitive in just about every aspect of life.

“I don’t think the two want to go up against each other out there,” said Prairie jump coach Frank Schmidt.

That might not be true, but for now, the brothers will enjoy being equals.

In other 3A highlights

• Columbia River’s Marcus Gaylor nipped teammate Darius Raiford in the boys 200 meters, running it in 22.43 seconds to Raiford’s 22.62

• Jennifer DeBellis also shined for River, clearing 12 feet en route to winning the girls pole vault title.

• Prairie’s Johna McElrath dominated the girls shot put with a throw of 41 feet and inch. It was almost six feet better than second.

• Mountain View’s Grayson Anderson leaped 6 feet 4 inches to claim the high jump crown by and inch over Jesse Zalk.

• Camas won both the boys and girls team titles. The boys had 149 points to Columbia River’s 130 in second place. The Camas girls scored 136.5 to top Kelso’s 127.5.

Note: In the original story, the team scores that were posted on athletic.net were used in this story. It was brought to our attention that those were not the official scores. The team scores have now been corrected.