TACOMA — Josie Settle’s post-race reaction said it all.
“I can’t even think of how I feel — I’m still in awe,” the Kelso High senior said after winning the Class 3A girls 100-meter hurdle title on Friday at Mount Tahoma Stadium, the second day of the 4A/3A/2A state track and field championships. “I didn’t think I could actually get there.”
It’s hard to imagine why not, but Settle’s story speaks for itself.
This season, a hip injury led the multi-event standout to switch events — trading in the high jump, where she placed third last year at state, to the 100 hurdles full-time. And that’s on top of her as a standout in the long jump, triple jump and 300 hurdles.
And that decision proved to be a good one. One day after clocking a personal-best 14.66 seconds in the preliminaries to lower her own school record, Settle ran Friday’s final in 14.91.
Soon after, the emotions of what she accomplished settled in for Settle, who also placed third in the 3A girls long jump.
“I didn’t kick in until a few steps after the finish line,” she said.
Saturday, she’ll compete in two events — 300 hurdles and triple jump, as the defending state champion.
SKYVIEW’S NTEKPERE, CAMAS’ WILLIAMS RUNNERS-UP IN THE FIELD — In most years — six times since 2013 — high jumping 5 feet, 6 inches would win the 4A girls high jump. It also was true the last time Skyview had a state champion in the high jump: Jasmine Kelly in 2006.
Skyview’s Emem Ntekpere, bound for Central Washington next year, tied her personal-best to place second in the competition Friday. Emerald Ridge’s JaiCieonna Gero-Holt won at 5-10. She missed three jumps at 6 feet.
Having competition such as Gero-Holt, already a three-event champion this weekend on top of three titles in 2022, helped motivate Ntekpere to a second straight podium finish in the high jump.
“She’s so encouraging and it helps a lot that she’s here,” Ntekpere said. “Getting 5-6 and her getting 5-10 doesn’t make me feel too bad, because I know she’s worked so hard to get here and so have I. I’m really happy we had a chance to come out here and show that.”
Ntekpere wasn’t the only 4A Greater St. Helens League athlete to place second in a field event Friday.
Camas’ Jared Williams was runner-up in the 4A boys javelin (175-9) as the top four placers were separated by just 2 feet.
Williams sat in fourth place until his final throw to move up to second — just four inches off the lead. Williams, who threw a personal-best 183-3 at regionals last week, has now posted back-to-back top-5 finishes in the javelin.
AROUND THE TRACK — Columbia River’s Eli Wenger and Washougal’s Tanner Hardley, the top two 2A GSHL pole vaulter this spring, finished 3-4, respectively. Wenger tied her personal-best (14 feet). … Fort Vancouver’s Ryan Faumuina’s third-place finish in the 2A boys shot put (50-5.25) is the best state finish for a Trapper since Emily Phelps’ placed fourth in the 2A girls 3,200 in 2019. … Teammate Leibrenna Vaiotualemoso-Fesili, the 2A girls shot put leader this spring, competes Saturday. … Ridgefield had two athletes — Isaiah Cowley (sixth) and Landon Kelsey (eighth) — place on the podium in the 2A boys 110 hurdles. Three of the eight 2A girls 400 relays in Saturday’s final are from the 2A GSHL: Ridgefield (second in the prelims, 49.83), Fort Vancouver (fifth, 50.61) and Columbia River (sixth, 50.67). … Josiah Alanis’ 22-0 jump in the 3A boys long jump (fourth place) marks the second straight state meet an Evergreen jumper has reached the podium.