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LA GRANDE’S AMANDA WELCH won the 1,500 meters Saturday at the Kiwanis track invitational, finishing with a time of 5:05.10.
HERMISTON — Strong performances by seniors Robbie Smith and Loran Ackerman helped the La Grande Tigers place third in the 27th annual Kiwanis track invitational Saturday.
Smith won the 110-meter hurdles, finished second in the 300-meter hurdles and the 4x100 meter relay along with a third place finish in the 100 meters to help the Tigers score their 90 points.
“It was the warmest day we’ve have so far, and I think that helped out a lot,” coach Peter Fry said.
Kamiakin of Washington won the meet with 167 points, while 5A Hermiston placed second with 126 points.
Three Washington schools took the next places — Southridge (fourth, 79.5), Moses Lake (fifth, 64) and Chiawana (sixth, 53).
The Dalles-Wahtonka squad finished seventh (43.5), followed by Pendleton (eighth, 41.5), Baker (ninth, 24), Pasco (10th, 22.5) and Dufur (11th, 15 points).
“I think this was the stiffest competition we’ve faced as a whole team this season,” Fry said.
Smith clocked the third-best 100-meter time (11.30) among the 4A athletes, but on Saturday it was only good enough for third behind a pair of Kamiakin sprinters — Tyler Perrins and Corey McLean.
Perrins was timed in 11.20, edging his teammate by two-hundredths of a second.
Smith’s winning time in the 110-meter hurdles (15.46a) puts him in a tie for second among the 4A hurdlers. In Hermiston, he edged Pendleton’s Kevin Robinson at the finish line by two-hundredths of a second.
Robinson got some revenge in the 300-meter hurdles when he beat Smith with a 39.64 second effort.
Smith finished with a 39.71 time, which ranks him second on the 4A list behind Greater Oregon League and district rival Joe Delgado of Ontario. Delgado leads the 4A performances with a time of 39.44.
“Robbie’s time is just off the school record, so I think he has a shot (at breaking it this season),” Fry said.
In the 4x100 meter relay, the Tigers’ quartet of Smith, Ackerman, Dallin Haynes and Noah Sofe placed second with a time of 44.11.
La Grande’s time is the third fastest among the 4A schools. Kamiakin won the race with a 43.63 time.
“I was really impressed with our senior boys. That core group is scoring points in bunches,” Fry said.
Ackerman added more punch to the Tigers’ scoring with his victorious 6-1 clearance in the high jump.
Ackerman’s second in the 4x100 relay and in the triple jump with a 42-00.75 effort, just five inches behind Raymond Aguilar of Hermiston. Ackerman’s distance moved him into fifth among the 4A leapers — less than two inches out of third.
He also placed fifth in the long jump, while his teammate, Sofe, took third with a 20-01.75 distance.
The Tigers also got a second when Leon Fuller threw 159-02 in the javelin.
Lady Tigers take sixth
HERMISTON — Freshman Amanda Welch won the 1,500-meters Saturday in the 27th annual Kiwanis Invitational, leading La Grande to a sixth place finish in the team race.
Welch’s time of 5:05.10 puts her in a sixth place tie among the leaders in the 4A’s “metric mile”.
In Hermiston, Welch won by almost three seconds over Sydney Blaser of Washington’s Kamiakin.
Her nearest Oregon competitor was just over 10 seconds behind.
“Amanda ran a pretty conservative race. But she made an an aggressive move with about 400 yards to go.
“It was bold. I’m excited for her,” Fry said.
La Grande scored 54 points, but it was Kamiakin that dominated the meet, winning the team race with 172.5 points
Hermiston edged another Washington school, Moses Lake, by just one-half point (120 to 119.5) in the team battle for second.
Southridge scored 104 in fourth, followed by Chiawana (62).
Pendleton scored 41.5 points in seventh, followed by The Dalles-Wahtonka (eighth, 18.5), Baker (ninth, 13) and Pasco (10th, eight points).
Jasmine Smith took second in the 800 meters with a 2:28.52 time.
“She (Jasmine) had a great PR in that race. We’ve been waiting for a breakthrough from her, and that time is the best in the GOL,” Fry said.
Kayla Rasmussen grabbed a second and fourth in her two hurdle races Saturday.
In the longer 300-meter hurdles, Rasmussen finished second with a time of 45.93 — but the effort also gave her the second-best 4A time among Oregon athletes.
Moses Lake’s Alysha Overland won the race in 45.49 and has the second-best 3A time in the state of Washington.
Three hurdlers from Washington took the top spots in the 100-meter hurdles, while Rasmussen placed fourth (16.42), just ahead of teammate Haley White (fifth, 16.88). The La Grande pair of hurdlers have the third and fifth-fastest 4A times.