Paige Palzinski had herself quite the weekend.
The Hermiston sophomore qualified for the District 8 track meet this weekend in four events at Kennison Field — three of which she established personal best marks.
Palzinski won the shot put Friday with a PR toss of 40 feet, 10¾ inches, beating teammate Kendall Dowdy, who threw a PR of 39-11¾.
“It was nice to have Kendall PR; that drove me to be better,” Palzinski said.
Bailey Young will join Palzinski and Dowdy at the District 8 meet in Richland after finishing seventh (33-11¼).
Palzinski also placed eighth in the javelin on Friday with a PR throw of 104-1, while teammate Sheridan Deike was fifth (110-2) and Sydney Seavert sixth (108-9).
Saturday brought out the best in Palzinski in the triple jump, where she soared 34-8¾ — a PR by 2 feet. She finished second to Southridge’s Olivia Lee, who beat her by just three-quarters of an inch.
“I’ve been asked before what my favorite is,” Palzinski said of her variety of events. “In the jumps it is the triple, and in the throws, my favorite is the shot put. I qualified in the long jump too, but you can only do four events. I chose to do the javelin to have a better chance of getting to next week in all my events.”
Palzinski was seventh in the discus (106-9) Saturday, but teammate Jazlyn Romero was second with a PR of 114-3, and freshman Eseta Sepeni was third with a PR of 113-11.
“I am so excited to go (to the District 8 championships) with my throws group,” Palzinski said. “When you genuinely love what you do, good marks happen. It’s great to have coaches who believe in us no matter what happens.”
Romero won the javelin Friday with an impressive throw of 151-9 — a mark that ranks ninth in the nation, third in Washington, and first among 3A competitors.
“It’s been a good week,” Romero said. The weather helps; it’s nice to have the sun. The coaches always say your best throw is effortless. It was easy. In the discus, Eseta was beating me, but in the finals, I hit my PR on my second throw.”
On the track, Hermiston freshman Cydney Sanchez finished second in the 3,200 with a personal best time of 12:07.70. McKinzi Teeples of Kamiakin won in a time of 11:40.17.
“It was a tough race, but I felt really motivated the entire race,” she said. “She (Teeples) is really good. I have no idea what to expect (next week), but it has been fun. All the Tri-City teams are really good.”
The Bulldogs got an impressive win in the 4x400 relay, turning in a time of 4:13.29 — a season best.
Jayden Ray led off the relay, followed by Amanda Nygard, Jennifer Fuentes and Abby Sharon.
“I love the atmosphere and the excitement when you run the 4x4,” Ray said. “Our mission today was to do the best we can. To come in first is amazing.”
MaKaylee Young, who qualified in the 100 and long jump Friday, added a trip in the 200 on Saturday, placing fourth (27.28).
Amanda Nygard will run in the 800 (5th, 2:33.07), while a trio of Bulldogs — Fuentes, Thannia Solorzano and Genesis Sanchez — qualified in the 100 hurdles, and Fuentes and Ray will run in the 300 hurdles.
The Hermiston boys 4x400 relay team finished second behind Kennewick. The Bulldogs passed Kamiakin at the end of the second lap, and were just a couple of steps behind the Lions when it came to the anchor leg.
Kennewick had Johan Correa on the final leg, and Hermiston’s Freddy Mendoza was not able to catch one of the Northwest’s elite runners.
Hermiston turned in a time of 3:32.39 — a season best by about 5 seconds. Running with Mendoza on the team are Thomas Reagan, Garrett Walchli and Simon Headings.
“He’s Johan,” said Mendoza, who was fourth to Correa in the 800. “You already know you aren’t catching him. He is good for the competition. There is no one in Oregon like him. I’m excited for next week, but a little intimidated with the Spokane teams coming in.”
Chase Bradshaw will compete in the shot put and discus for Hermiston. Donovan Wilson will go in the triple jump, Skyler Stubbs in the long jump and high jump, Seth Buck in the pole vault and Walchli in the 200.
Hermiston coach Emilee Strot was pleased with how her teams performed.
“Sometimes I get caught up in hosting and not coaching as much as I would like to,” Strot said. “But what I’ve seen, and the reactions of the kids, I’m excited with how many we are bringing to the next round. Our girls throwers are a good group, and both 4x400 relays had huge PRs today.”