Delaney shatters LBHS record for 3,200 meters
Dexter Delaney set a new all-time Mountain Lion mark in the 3,200-meter run at the WIAA 2B State Championships in Yakima on Saturday, and Kady Hammer earned two 1st-place finishes in the Ambulatory Division, to highlight Liberty Bell High School’s performances.
Nine of the 10 competing Liberty Bell athletes stood on the awards podium after the completion of their events over three days at Yakima’s Eisenhower High School.
Delaney’s 9:41.82 record run eclipsed Ben Klemmeck’s 2016 record of 9:52.36 by almost 10 seconds in the 3,200M. He was never farther back than 2nd place, and took over the lead just before the end of lap two of the eight-lap race.
He steadily built a lead into the final bell lap, but then Chewelah’s Ty Crocket began a charge on the back stretch. Crocket slipped past Delaney on the outside midway through the turn. Delaney responded, breaking into a full sprint as the two straightened out for the final 100 meters.
The Mountain Lion pulled close to even with the Cougar with about 50 meters to go when Crocket legally moved across from lane two into the curb lane a step ahead of Delaney to win by a mere three-tenths of a second.
Liberty Bell’s Will Halpin crossed the line in 6th place, also setting a new personal best mark of 9:57.10, good for 3rd place on the all-time Liberty Bell list. Six of the first seven finishers set new PRs, including pre-race favorite Cole Foster, also of Chewelah, who placed 3rd.
“Both of them ran very well,” said Liberty Bell Coach Erik Brooks. “I know Dexter was disappointed not getting that 1st place, but he can’t be too disappointed.”
One of Delaney’s goals was to set a new Liberty Bell record this season, flirting with both the 3,200M and the 1,600M marks this year. “He set the new school record and should feel good about that. It was great seeing both he and Will on the podium for both of their races,” Brooks said.
There were some other noticeable performances for the local athletes, including Marit Nelson (3rd place in the 800M and 5th place in the 1,600M); Leki Albright (5th place in the 3,200M); Fischer Edwards (6th place in the javelin); and Isaiah Stoothoff (8th place in the high jump, 7th place in the long jump). The girls’ 4x400M relay team of Sandra Hernandez, Leki Albright, Marit Nelson and Audrey Romain also brought home medals for their 6th-place finish.
Junior 400M runner Kyler Mitchell did not qualify for the finals in his event, while still running a decent 55:11 in his qualifying heat on Friday. Brooks said Mitchell had trouble getting physically prepared for his preliminary race.
“He said he wasn’t feeling quite right, like his legs were a little tight and just wouldn’t loosen up,” Brooks said. “Still, it would have taken a PR of about another second over his district time to even have a chance of making the finals this year. It was a very competitive, tough field.”
“Isaiah did really well, matching his PRs and dealing with the schedule changes forced by the lightning delay [on Saturday],” said Brooks.
Nelson ran a brilliant 800M on Saturday. After the preliminary qualification heats, Nelson’s 2:30.83 was the 5th-fastest time in those qualifications. At the end of lap one in the final, she was in 6th place, with St. George’s Josie McLaughlin running away from the field and Brewster’s Kaydence Carrington trying to keep pace.
Nelson picked up the pace in turn one and began picking off runners. As they came around the final turn, it looked as if Carrington was fading a bit as Nelson moved into 3rd place and began to close the distance. She did not catch the Brewster junior, but had chopped the gap to .4 seconds at the finish.
“Marit ran a great race,” Brooks said. “She kept to her race on the first lap and then ran the fastest second lap of anyone in the field. We just weren’t sure if Kaydence was going to try to run with McLaughlin, and how that might affect her, so Marit just went out and ran steady, and almost caught her at the end.”
Kady Hammer, Liberty Bell’s sophomore entry in the Ambulatory Class of athletes at the state meet, made the best of her appearance as the Mountain Lion went two-for-two in the shot put and 100M dash with 1st-place finishes. An impressive personal record of 14.56 seconds in the 100M was not only best in the 1B/2B/1A 100M Ambulatory Division at Yakima, it was best in the entire state by a full half-second, including the 2A/3A/4A classes. The all-time state WIAA record in the ambulatory 100M is 13.56 seconds set in 2017 by Jaleen Roberts from Kent-Meridian.
Hammer followed that with her throw in the shot put of 22 feet, 6.25 inches, which outdistanced two other competitors from Colville and Lakeside (Nine Mile Falls). As well, Hammer posted new personal records in both of her events.
• With 17 points, the Liberty Bell girls finished 13th among the 2B schools in team scoring. The Liberty Bell boys took 11th place with 21 points. St. George’s won the boys’ and girls’ state titles.
• Saturday’s finals were delayed almost two hours when a midday thunderstorm passed over the site. From that point it was a scramble to get all events in as they ran well into the evening. Liberty Bell Coach Erik Brooks reported returning home around 12:30 a.m. Sunday morning.
• Liberty Bell sent only two seniors, Isaiah Stoothoff and Nina Kominak, to state this year. Kominak was selected as an alternate on the girls’ 4x400M relay team but did not have an opportunity to compete. The 11-member team was nearly double last year’s contingent.
• The state meet for the 1B/2B/1A classes has been held at Roos Field on the Eastern Washington University campus for the past number of years. WIAA moved the meet to Eisenhower High School for the 2023 and 2024 track and field seasons. The following year, the state meet will be back in Yakima, according to WIAA Assistant Executive Director Justin Kesterson.