Waterville track runs toward season opener

Cheyenne Jackson (left) and Elaina Thomsen warm up with a few laps aroundthe track before practice. (Joel Harding photo )

Cheyenne Jackson (left) and Elaina Thomsen warm up with a few laps around
the track before practice. (Joel Harding photo )


By Joel Harding

The Shocker track teams are ready for the upcoming season under the direction of head coach Justin Grillo and assistant Kris Daratha. They competed in their first meet, the multi-team Ephrata Ice Breaker, March 17. The future looks good for Waterville with state champions on both the girl’s and boy’s teams returning. There are also, especially for the girls, some younger athletes with bright promise.

The top returnee for the girls is distance runner Kelsey Browning. She won both the 3200 meters and the 1600 meters last year with a state record in the former. However, she will be challenged by 2B classification competition. Elaina Thomsen, who has had a blue ribbon and a third place finish in the high jump over the last two years, will also compete. Browning and Thomsen also will be part of a 4×100 relay team that will vie for a place in the state meet this year. It is hoped that some of the younger sprinters can move into spots in that group.

For the boys, Chris Dronen, Dayn Madsen and Rafael Capi return after a state championship last year in the 4×100 relay. Capi placed third in the 800 and fifth in the 1600 in the 1B state meet last year. Cristian Morales qualified for the regional meet in the 3200 in 2014. Brandon Dorn and Dronen also qualified for the postseason in the long jump.

It is too early for the coaches to determine events for the students turning out for the first time. Byron Cabrera, David Vieyla, Kolten Shafer, Pete Mathews, Ben Garnica and Luis Morales will be competing in the boys meets. Susanna Hernandez, Christina Suarez, Cheyenne Jackson, Brooke Simmons and Lexi Deishl will be running for the girls team.

The tracksters will have nine meets before the District 6 meet in early May. Three of these meets will be composed of four teams each and will include primarily 2B competition. These will be held at Bridgeport, Okanogan and Cashmere. The rest of the meets are invitational contests which may include as many as 20 schools. Meets are Tuesday and Saturday events with the exception of the Ray Cross Invite March 21 at Ephrata.