TACOMA — Of all the champions Saturday at the Class 3A West Central Bi-District track and field meet, Richard Carter might have been the most unlikely.
Carter entered the meet seeded third in boys shot put. He entered the final throw of the competition standing in fourth place.
But when Carter, a senior at Hudson’s Bay High School, broke his personal record by nearly 18 inches, he landed himself a title.
“It was very dramatic,” he said. “I almost cried.”
With a winning mark of 50 feet, 9 3/4 inches, Carter edged the 50-7 1/4 posted by John Gustin of Kelso.
The top six finishers in each event from the meet at Mount Tahoma High School qualify for next week’s state meet, also at Mount Tahoma.
“To be honest, I was just hoping to qualify and PR (personal record),” Carter said.
Carter stood in first place through the qualifying round of three throws. That allowed him to go last in each round for the finals, and by the time his final attempt came along, he had dropped to fourth.
He gave a little extra oomph to his final attempt. Almost a little too much.
“At districts or any other meet, I probably would have fallen out of the ring,” said Carter, who will attend Central Washington and hopes to compete there in the shot put. “I was leaning.”
With the victory, Carter even surprised himself.
“It’s my senior year, and all through my four years of high school, I’ve been on the podium but never on top.”
In other highlights from the Class 3A meet:
• Nicole Goecke of Prairie won the Southwest Washington Invitational, er, um, the girls 1,600 meters at the bi-district meet in thrilling fashion. Goecke was timed in 5:06.04, edging Camille Parson of Camas, who recorded the same time.
Lynelle Decker of Mountain View was third, Austen Reiter of Camas was fourth, and Alissa Pudlitzke of Camas was sixth, giving Clark County five of the six berths to the state meet.
Goecke, Parsons, Decker and Reiter broke from the pack early on the third lap. By the final stretch, Goecke and Parsons were running stride for stride before Goecke edged her at the line.
• The Camas girls won the team title, boosted by victories from Alexa Efraimson in the 800 and Amber Corbett in the javelin. The Papermakers finished with 75.5 points, while Kelso was second at 74.5 and Columbia River was third with 65.5.
Efraimson, a freshman, finished in 2:12.26, breaking the meet record.
“I’m really happy,” she said, after finishing a little more than three seconds off her personal record. “I’m not going to be able to get a PR every race.”
Efraimson’s best time of 2:08.92 is more than one second better than any runner in Washington for any classification and seventh in the nation this season.
• Columbia River’s Jennifer DeBellis, the defending state champion in the pole vault, cleared 12-4 to win the event.
“I hope I can get around 12-4 again,” she said, looking ahead to the state meet. “At that point it’s all mental, all nerves.”
• Marcus Ekeya of Columbia River won the boys triple jump at 43-7.
“Last year, I was one spot away from making it to state,” the senior said. “Now that I’ve been here before, it was easier.”
• The Columbia River boys also won the 400 relay and had Marcus Gaylor and Darius Raiford each advance to state in the 100 and 200.
That boosted the Chieftains to a second-place finish in the team race with 65 points, behind the 87 points by Lakes of Lakewood. Camas was fifth in the boys race with 48 points.