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News / Sports / Prep Sports

All-Region girls track & field: Josie Settle, Kelso

Senior most proud going out with 3A state team title

By Meg Wochnick, Columbian staff writer
Published: June 9, 2023, 9:01pm
2 Photos
Kelso's Josie Settle clears the final hurdle on way to victory in the 3A girls 300-meter hurdles at the WIAA 2A/3A/4A State Track and Field Championships on Saturday, May 27, 2023, at Mount Tahoma High School in Tacoma.
Kelso's Josie Settle clears the final hurdle on way to victory in the 3A girls 300-meter hurdles at the WIAA 2A/3A/4A State Track and Field Championships on Saturday, May 27, 2023, at Mount Tahoma High School in Tacoma. (Joshua Hart/For The Columbian) Photo Gallery

Of the five times Josie Settle stood on the podium at the Class 4A, 3A, 2A state track and field championships, the final one is what she’s most proud of.

Hoisting the trophy as Class 3A team champions — Kelso High’s first-ever team title in girls track and field — atop the same podium where she was recognized for winning two state titles and two third-place finishes is a memory she won’t forget.

“Having that picture of all of our coaches in front with all three of us (teammates Rielee Gourde and Ruby Sereday) standing there was just amazing,” Settle said. “I’m still in awe. It doesn’t seem like it happened even though I know it did.”

It did in memorable fashion for Settle, The Columbian’s All-Region girls track and field athlete of the year. She competed in four events at state for the second straight year, won both the 3A 100-meter hurdles and 300 hurdles state titles, and also placed third in the long jump and triple jump to accumulate 32 of Kelso’s 53 points. The other 21 points came from Kelso’s other girls state qualifiers, Gourde and Sereday, who made the podium four times. That included Sereday’s javelin title.

“I’m so proud of us — the three of us that won state,” Settle said. “Out of all the teams there, we pulled it off.”

It’s hard to overlook Settle as one of the most decorated track and field athletes to come out of Kelso. She leaves with three individual state titles (won the 3A triple jump title in 2022), and owns both hurdles school records on top of helping Kelso capture its first girls team title.

Although she specialized in jumps and hurdles in high school, Settle classifies herself as a heptathlete. That’s where she shined on the AAU and National Junior Olympic summer circuit and that’s what she’ll do competing for Idaho State University next season.

In Settle words, the qualities that make a heptathlete, a combined-event athlete who takes part in seven events, starts with being in a good mental space.

“Kind of having the (attitude) of, ‘I know my body can’t do it, but I have to find the right mindset to do it,’ ” she said. “And sometimes, you have a bad event, and you have to bounce back in 30 minutes for the next.”

Settle placed third nationally last summer at the AAU Nationals in Greensboro, N.C., paving the way for a big final high school season in the hurdles and jumps.

So what were her expectations coming into 2023?

None.

Settle did that purposefully and made it a point to let “whatever happens, happens.”

“I wanted to let my body do what it could,” she said, “and I surprised myself because I think in my mind, I kind of set a lower standard without knowing. Then once I started running those times and jumping those jumps, I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, where the heck did that come from?’ ”

As great of a spring Settle had, she saved her best for last. At state, she lowered both her school-record times in the hurdle races on her way to winning both titles.

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No expectations? No problem for Settle, as she closes her high-school track and field chapter.

“It was a good closure,” she said.

Rest of All-Region girls track & field team

Sydnee Boothby, Washougal: Big cross country season transitioned to the track as 2A state champ in 800 and runner-up times in the 1,600 and 3,200.

McKenna Calkins, Ridgefield: Just a freshman, Calkins placed fourth in the 100 (12.69) and anchored the Spudders’ second-place 4×100 relay at state.

Logan DeJong, Columbia River: Second-place finish in the discus at 2A state meet (115-1) was the top mark by a River discus thrower since 2010.

Rielee Gourde, Kelso: Atop the podium twice at 3A state meet in pole vault (11-3) and javelin (125-8).

Casie Kleine, Castle Rock: Ran a personal-best 58.30 in the 400 at 1A state to capture the state title.

Alexis Leone, Seton Catholic: Repeated as 1A state champion in the 1,600 and 3,200. Had the region’s only sub-5-minute 1,600 time (4:59.30).

Elissa Marshall, Camas: Consecutive podium finishes in the 400 and 800. Also anchored team’s state title-winning 4×400 relay.

Emem Ntekpere, Skyview: CWU-bound athlete reached the 4A podium in the high jump (5-6), 100 hurdles (15.52) and 300 hurdles (46.38).

Ruby Seredy, Kelso: Saved her best for last with an 11-foot personal best throw to win the 3A state javelin title (130-4).

Leibreena Vaiotaulemoso-Fesili, Fort Vancouver: Had state’s top mark in the 2A shot put (39-4.50) this spring, and placed second at state meet.

Charlotte Wilson, Union: Capped her junior season with a third-place finish at 4A state in the 3,200 (10:56.59).

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