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In final state 2A meet

CHS's Williams equals school high jump medal

Columbia High senior Alexa Williams concluded her high school track and field career on a high note at last weekend's WIAA Dairy Farmers of Washington Class 2A championships in Cheney.

Williams cleared 5 feet, 4 inches last Friday on her way to a third-place finish in the girls high jump. That effort equaled the school record set in 1993 by Brandy Comer. (Comer tied her school mark at the 1994 state meet.)

Later, Williams stepped onto the awards podium and received her third state high jump medal in as many tries. She also medaled in the event in 2002 and 2003.

"My mom said she'd give me $100 if I tied the school record," Williams said, and added with a laugh, "I guess she owes me now."

And if she had broken the school record?

"I don't know. We didn't talk about it," Williams said.

The three-time state meet competitor added a second medal of the 2004 games on Saturday when she anchored CHS's 4x100-meter relay to a seventh-place finish, in a time of 51.64 seconds.

That finish--the team finished third in its heat on Friday in 51.60--earned three CHS teammates their first state medals.

Senior Meghan McCutcheon, junior Abby Zuck and sophomore Alycia Rohwer joined Williams on the podium for the medal ceremony.

CHS senior Kaitlin Mansfield also ended her high school career in award-winning fashion.

She picked up her first state medal after placing fifth in Saturday's triple jump competition with a personal record of 34 feet, 3 inches.

Mansfield's best jump of the competition was her third. It assured her of a spot in the event finals and a position on the awards stand.

"I've been working for this for four years, and now I have something to show for it," said Mansfield, who came in ninth last year in her first state meet appearance.

The CHS girls team completed three days of competition at Eastern Washington University with 11 points -- its lowest output since Doug Miller took over White Salmon's track and field program eight years ago.

"We had our share of hits and misses this year," Miller noted. "But we weren't alone. On the whole, it was a down year for southwest Washington teams."

Two of Columbia's girls relay teams--the 4x200 and the 4x400--failed to qualify for Saturday's finals.

The 4x200 team fell out of the running when McCutcheon and Mansfield failed to connect on the first baton exchange. The baton hit the ground and bounced off the track; that was that.

"In the heat of competition, those things happen," Miller said of the missed hand-off. "It was a disappointment for all girls involved, but really there's nobody to blame. You have to get over it and move on."

Columbia High's boys team experienced even more disappointment than the girls, however.

The CHS boys scored just four points in these state championships.

Those came on Saturday when junior Matt Lovrin, nursing an injured right leg, placed fifth in the 800-meter final.

Lovrin had the third-best qualifying time (2:01.23) in Friday's preliminary heats. But his leg injury--which he had taped for both races--prevented him from challenging for the lead on Saturday.

During qualifying heats on Thursday and Friday, junior Levi Miller (110 and 300 hurdles), sophomore Andrew Culp (100) and junior Will Brasuell (400) failed to advance.

The same fate befell the Bruins' district-winning 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams.

The 4x100 team of Miller, Lovrin, Culp and Brasuell ran 45.30 and finished fifth in its heat; however, only the top four teams in each heat qualified for the finals.

In 4x400 qualifying, CHS's foursome of Miller, senior Chris Davis, Culp and Brasuell came in sixth in its heat in a time of 3:42.87.


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