Welcome to high school track and field on the North Oregon Coast.
The 29th annual Daily Astorian Invitational had a little bit of everything Saturday afternoon … on the track, in the field and in the skies above Seaside High School.
Less than 24 hours after a major windstorm swept through the area, a weather system from the south kept things hopping in Saturday’s meet.
A 10-minute sample:
At 1:10 p.m., sunshine and a slight breeze, with some very dark clouds offshore, followed by (at 1:15), a hailstorm of near-biblical proportions. And finally, at 1:20, it was back to a Bob Marley song — the sun was shining and the weather was sweet.
And that’s how it was Saturday, as the clouds, wind, rain and sunshine alternated every 15 minutes. Through it all, the athletes were running, jumping and throwing their personal bests.
Had the meet been scheduled for Friday, it would have been canceled, said Seaside coach Jeff Kilday. As it was, meet organizers were not able to set up for things until Saturday morning.
Even with a late set-up, “I don’t know if we’ve ever been better prepared for this meet than we were today,” Kilday said. “We had eight National Guard volunteers helping us out, and with all the adults, from (Seaside athletic director) Jason Boyd to the coaches and other kids … we got through everything just great.”
Weather-wise, “I don’t think we’ve ever had hail like that, and it was a little cooler than I expected,” he said. “But just from the fact that we didn’t have to cancel any events, I thought it was a great meet.”
The annual “Daily A” meet showcases athletes from the local schools, plus a few out-of-towners for a one day event, hosted this year by the Gulls.
The meet is never team-scored, but with a few state champions and state-placers in most of the events, there’s never a shortage of excitement at the Daily A.
Twelve schools took part, with 300-plus athletes competing. Athletes from Astoria and Seaside won 19 of the 34 events, with only one near-meet record.
Of course, the defending state champion Astoria girls had a dominant day on the track, with wins and impressive performances from, among others, Natalie Cummings, McKenzie Burnett and newcomer Sam Hemsley. Early-season leg issues limited Darian Hageman, who finished second in the high jump, long jump and triple jump.
And the Seaside boys flexed their muscle on the track, from sweeping the relays to the middle distances (Juneau Meyer in the 400 meters, Jackson Januik in the 800); to the long distances (Bradley Rzewnicki in the 1,500, Rafi Sibony in the 3,000 meters).
The highlight race of the meet was a familiar one — Astoria’s Lucas Caruana going head-to-head with Januik in the 800.
Caruana — third place in the state meet last year — led for over half the race, before Januik — the defending state champion in the 800 — passed Caruana on the final lap to win in 1 minute, 59.31 seconds, just off the meet record of 1:59.27, set by Astoria’s Jeremy Matlock in 1993.
“That was just fun to watch,” Kilday said. “Without each other, I don’t know if they would have been able to run what they did.
“I’d say those two are the top two, not only in the Cowapa League, but in the state at the 4A level,” he said. “And they do a great job of working together to make each other better. You usually don’t see Astoria and Seaside working together like that, but those two do it well.”
Seaside’s Will Garvin added a victory in the 300-meter hurdles, after a rough start left him fourth out of five runners in the 110-meter hurdle race.
“I look at the 300 as my redemption race, for whenever something doesn’t go as planned in the 110s,” Garvin said. “Ultimately, I’d like to get to state and make it finals. I’ve yet to make it finals individually, so that’s my main goal. Pretty much everybody in the Cowapa League has a hurdler who’s out there ready to compete, so it’s going to be a fun year.”
Other notables — Ilwaco’s Alex Kaino and Ryan Schenk swept the 100 and 200 meter sprints, respectively; Astoria junior Tim Barnett won the shot put and discus, and was second in the javelin; and Warrenton senior Tyler Whitaker swept the long jump and triple jump events.
Meanwhile, on the girls’ side, Cummings was in mid-season form, winning the 100 and 200 meters, anchoring the winning 400-meter relay, and leading off for the 1,600-meter relay, which also won.
“I was expecting some competition, but I seemed to push through pretty well,” said Cummings, who received a full-ride scholarship last week to compete at Portland State. “I’m definitely progressing. This is only our second meet. I’m content with where I’m at, for sure.”
For Seaside, “Anna Huddleston did a great job in the javelin, with two PRs,” Kilday said. “Josie Smith had a good day on the track (winning the 1,500), and Katie Zagata had a second-place finish (behind Astoria’s McKenzie Burnett) in the 3,000.
Astoria sophomore Andrea Harris won the 100-meter hurdles, and Warrenton freshman Kaisa Liljenwall took the 300 hurdles. Astoria throwers Kes Sandstrom and Taylor Cosner won the discus and shot put, respectively.