Jasperson jets to win in 800 meters

Staff writerMay 25, 2014 

SUMNER — North Thurston High School’s James Jasperson knew what he was going to face entering the Class 3A West Central/Southwest bidistrict track and field championships. In fact, he was hoping for it.

On the final day of the meet Saturday, the Rams’ top middle-distance runner lined up between his main rivals — Kelso’s Ron Leaf and Bonney Lake’s Bennett Hillier — in the 800 meters.

“I knew coming in (those) guys have a really good kick,” Jasperson said. “I didn’t want to start my run too soon because I was afraid (Hillier) would have caught me.”

Jasperson paced himself to start, but as the runners hit the final turn, he cut between Leaf and Hillier, and sprinted to a win in 1 minute, 56.38 seconds. Leaf (1:57.22) finished second, and Hillier (1:57.30) was third.

“I didn’t expect to get that much of a jump,” Jasperson said. “I feel good. My training’s paying off. … Now I have to focus on next week.”

Javon Watson and Asan Neil-Evergin were expecting to represent Timberline in the triple jump at the state tournament next week, but only one will advance. A sore hamstring kept Neil-Evergin from qualifying.

“It’s tough, I’m not going to lie about that,” Neil-Evergin said. “But now I’m going to go out there and support Javon. … I’m going to be his and my team’s biggest supporter.”

Watson (43 feet, 61/4 inches) finished in third place behind Lincoln’s Ahmaad Rorie (46-51/2) and Olympic’s Keshun McGee (44-13/4).

“I came in knowing I needed to be my best and keep calm and jump my jumps,” Watson said. “My goal since I was a sophomore was to place top three.”

Joining Watson at state is teammate Johnny Shields, who was fifth in the 110 hurdles (15.04 seconds) and third in the 300 hurdles (40.44).

“The first goal all season has been to go to state, and I took care of that today,” Shields said. “I need to work on making sure I finish all the way through.”

North Thurston’s BreAnna Ellis highlighted the Rams’ performance on the girls side, earning a state spot in the 400 (59.43) as well as helping the team’s 4x400 relay team to a state-qualifying time of 4:08.72.

CLASS 4A

You’d figure Olympia High School’s Peter Kesting would have a slight letdown after his big 1,600-meter victory Friday at the Class 4A West Central/Southwest bidistrict championships in Kent.

And it wasn’t easy for Kesting in the 800 on Saturday.

He was coming off a late night at a school dance, not getting to bed until 3 a.m., and once the race started, he immediately got tangled in the elbows of a couple of other runners at French Field.

When it was all said and done, Kesting placed fifth in the race, going 1:56.32. He did enough to qualify for next weekend’s state meet at Star Track in Tacoma.

“The 800 is so easy … to do well in and not do well in,” Kesting said. “I felt strong. I have good conditioning. I just let the front pack string out a little bit.”

Friday, Kesting won the 1,600 with a personal-best 4:11.54 — the fifth-best mark in the state.

“The 1,600 is the top priority (at state), but the school (800) record is 1:54.7,” Kesting said. “If I get that, I will be happy. That would get me in the state finals, and in the top eight.”

Meanwhile, Olympia’s Sofia Kane defended her WCD crown in the girls 3,200. The Bears standout took the lead at the end of the first lap and gradually built on it for the next two laps.

By the end of the third lap, Kane had a 40-meter lead — cruising to the title in a personal-best 10:39.77.

Camas’ Alissa Pudlitzke was second in 10:53.15.

Other state qualifiers from the South Sound included Yelm’s James Rodeman (fourth in 110 hurdles) and Matthew Dehan (third in pole vault), and the Olympia 4x400 relay team (seventh) on the boys side; and Olympia’s Maia Halvorson (seventh in javelin) on the girls side.

Staff writer Todd Milles contributed to this story.

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