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Evergreen thrower Tiatia takes shot at title

Laughter brings out best in junior, and wants others to do well too

By , Columbian staff writer
Published: May 21, 2019, 10:00pm
2 Photos
Evergreen junior Jasmine Tiatia sets up to throw during practice at McKenzie Stadium. The 3A district champion in the shot put has the top mark in 3A going into the WIAA state track and field championships this weekend. Alisha Jucevic/The Columbian
Evergreen junior Jasmine Tiatia sets up to throw during practice at McKenzie Stadium. The 3A district champion in the shot put has the top mark in 3A going into the WIAA state track and field championships this weekend. Alisha Jucevic/The Columbian Photo Gallery

Jasmine Tiatia’s focus and drive is one of the main reasons the Evergreen High School junior is one of the state’s elite shot putters.

But one of her goals every track and field meet comes with a side of lightheartedness.

“I’m constantly making jokes inside and outside the ring,” Tiatia said, “and practice my stand-up once or twice.”

As good of an amateur comedian Tiatia, uses laughter for the benefit of others: to boost competitors’ spirits or break up any tense moments a competition may bring.

Her goal? Bring out of the best in other throwers to make for a better competition for all.

“I want to go against the best they can be,” she said. “I want them to be as relaxed as they can be so they can throw the best they can.”

That tends to bring out of the best in the 17-year-old Tiatia, too. Her throw of 42 feet, 11 inches to win the 3A district meet at McKenzie Stadium two weeks ago broke Evergreen’s school record, and vaulted her to the top spot among Class 3A rankings. She’ll compete at this weekend’s 4A/3A/2A state track and field championships, which starts Thursday at Tacoma’s Mount Tahoma High School, in hopes of making history, too.

It’s been a while since Evergreen stood atop the podium at state track. Its last state champion came in 2008 when Brad Wall won the 4A 400 meters.

But Evergreen has never had a female individual state champion. In 2007, its girls 400 relay team won the 4A title anchored by 100-meter state runner-up Candace Missouri.

Assistant coach White Sosene, who works with Evergreen’s throwers, believes Tiatia has what it takes to do so with so much left to improve on. He said he hasn’t coached a thrower between his time at Evergreen and Heritage whose committed and motivation to be a better thrower than Tiatia.

“With her,” Sosene said, “she’s on a different level than everyone else.”

The level she’s on is a continual climb to be among the state’s best. She surpassed her season-goal of throwing 40 feet on May 1.

And at districts the following week, Tiatia said, “everything was like fireworks.”

From the coaches’ area, Sosene saw it all come together perfectly on Tiatia’s first attempt for a personal-best mark by nearly 3 feet. She won the competition by more than 5 feet.

“I was shocked,” Sosene said. … “She hit it out of the park the first time.”

Tiatia couldn’t contain her excitement.

“That number,” she said, “as soon as I heard it everything was a little bit brighter, a little bit better.”

That meant a goal revision Tiatia wasn’t expecting. Now, it’s all about staying consistent in preparation for the final meet of the season, and Tiatia’s biggest meet to date.

And perhaps with another big throw, but not before getting the most out of the competition through laughter.

“From there,” she said, “everything happens on its own.”

STATE TRACK AND FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS

Class 4A/3A/2A state meet

Thursday-Saturday, Mount Tahoma Stadium, Tacoma

Class 1A/2B/1B state meet

Thursday-Saturday, Roos Field, Eastern Washington University

Area athletes to watch

Class 4A

Daniel Maton, Camas: The UW signee aims to end his prep career with six individual titles on the track. He’s is the two-time defending 4A 800- and 1,600-meter champion.

Trent Thompson, Battle Ground: Owns 4A’s best mark in the javelin (191 feet, 4 inches) and could be the second Tiger in three years to win the 4A state javelin title (Curtis Stradley, 2017).

Class 3A

Kate Kadrmas, Mountain View: The Nebraska commit will compete at state in both hurdle events, and her 14.89-second 100 hurdle time is tied for tops in 3A.

Meri Dunford, Prairie: Junior ran a personal-best time 3,200-meter time on her way to doubling up as a two-event 3A district and regional champion (1,600 and 3,200).

Nolan Mickenham, Prairie: Anchors Prairie’s school-record and state-bound 400 relay and also has top-5 times in the 100 and 200 meters.

Class 2A

Trey Knight, Ridgefield: The junior hasn’t lost a shot put or discus competition since state freshman year. He’ll have stiffer competition in the discus as the state’s second-best throw from Cheney’s Jacob McGourin (188-11) sits 5 inches behind Knight’s (189-4).

Nick Jenkins, Ridgefield: Will it be back-to-back Spudder triple jump state champions? Jenkins, 2A’s leader in the long jump and high jump, could follow in the footsteps of teammate Bryan Tavera, who won the triple jump title in 2018.

Alex Bishop and Nicole Guthrie, Woodland: The Beavers could be home to both 2A boys and girls high jump state champions. Bishop (6-8) and Guthrie (5-6) own 2A’s top marks this spring.

Tyler Flanagan, Woodland: Could join older sister McKenna Flanagan (girls javelin, 2016) as a state champion. Owns 2A’s top 300 hurdles time and has a top-5 110 hurdles time.

Levi Williams, Columbia River: Just a sophomore, he owns 2A’s top pole vault mark set at last week’s district meet.

Amelia Pullen, Washougal: The 2A state cross country champion has the second-best 3,200 time (10:59.94) this spring.

Class 1A

Lincoln Krog, Stevenson: Defending 1A high jump champion will compete in four events at the small-schools state meet in Cheney, and owns 1A’s top marks in long jump and triple jump.

Rosslynn Martin, La Center: One of only two 800-meter runners to run a sub-2:20 time entering the 1A state meet.

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