The track meet notorious for its bad weather made its big return Thursday afternoon, as Astoria High School hosted The Astorian Invitational, which made its first appearance since 2019.
With the pandemic canceling the 2020 and 2021 meets, the 2022 meet had seven schools competing in the 32nd edition of the meet.
The meet included five Clatsop County high schools, plus Naselle and Tillamook.
Wet and windy weather off the bay made for some challenges at the start, but the clouds eventually parted for a good day of track and field.
“It’s so fun to see the local kids out on the track competing together,” said Astoria coach Garrett Parks, who still holds part of a meet record when he was an athlete at Seaside. “It’s been a long time since the last one, and especially since Astoria hosted. We had some great volunteer support, and things ran smoothly.”
Early rain and wind did not deter the big-name athletes, a list that included thrower Colton McMaster, Astoria’s Dartmouth-bound senior.
The heavy favorite to win the discus and shot put at the state meet exactly one month from now, McMaster broke two long-standing meet records on Thursday.
In the discus, McMaster said the wind was affecting his throws.
“It was blowing a bit too hard right in my face, so (the discus) went out, then straight down.”
Unfortunately, many fans missed his meet record discus toss, since McMaster finished his throws before other events officially got underway, so meet officials could block off the bleachers and a portion of the outer parking lot, which are always in play when McMaster throws.
Throwing into a stiff wind, McMaster set sail with a winning toss of 175 feet, 1 inch — 56 feet further than the second-place mark. A little later, McMaster recorded a 56-3½ effort in the shot put.
Both marks broke 32-year-old meet records (previously 162-0 in the discus, 55-11½ in the shot put) that had stood since 1990.
McMaster said he is “really hoping to get over 60 in the shot. Toward midseason you’re trying to improve, then right at the end you’re trying to go for the really big stuff.”
As usual, weather always plays a part on the North Coast for most of the season.
“Obviously the weather was not ideal today,” he said. “The discus ring was slicker than goose snot. But I have fun doing it. I’m no stranger to it being wet around here.”
Elsewhere, Naselle senior Trenton Stephens won the 200 (24.54), cleared 6-4 in the high jump, and won the long jump at 20-5. Both jumps were personal records.
Astoria’s Trey Woodrich had a personal record winning mark (37-5) in the triple jump; and Warrenton’s Zander Moha set a personal best 2:04.25 to win the 800.
In the distance races, Knappa’s Isaiah Rodriguez (4:21.56) and freshman Joshua Peterson (4:37.23) finished 1-2 in the 1,500; and Rodriguez (9:48.46) outdueled Astoria’s John Clement (9:54.07) in the 3,000. Both runners are juniors.
On the girls side, Astoria’s Maddie Sisley could also be on the podium at state — possibly in four different events — and the senior athlete for the Lady Fish continued her unbeaten record this year in the long jump (15-11¾) and triple jump (34-4) with Thursday victories.
“I have goals in mind,” said Sisley, Astoria’s biggest point-scorer. “Right now with the triple jump, I PR’d last weekend at Banks. I’m going for 36 feet. My best right now is 35-2.”
In the long jump, “there’s a big goal there,” she said. “I’m trying to beat the school record (Charlene Harber, 18-3¾).”
Sisley’s third win came on the track, in the 100-meter hurdles (17.22).
Astoria sophomore Harlie Wiedmaier (30.23) edged Warrenton’s Grace Duncan (30.51) in the 200 meters; Warrior freshman Payten Buckelew took first in the 800 (2:41.61) and second behind Seaside’s Elise Seppa in the 1,500 in 5:31.73. Both times were PRs.
The Astoria girls did not enter a 400-meter relay squad but won the long relay with freshmen Eva Espelien and Aster Dean and sophomores Ashley Sisley and Wiedmaier in 4:56.97.
Astoria sophomore Lily Meadows was a winner in the shot put (33-2); and Tillamook’s Makayla Tuiolemotu was a double winner in the discus and javelin.