Celts send 11 athletes to podium at districts

Isabella Walker runs the first leg of the girls 4×400 relay race at the Mountain Valley Conference District Meet (Submitted).

Although they didn’t qualify any kids for the state meet, the McNary track and field team was able to get 11 athletes (six boys and five girls) onto the podium at the Mountain Valley Conference District last weekend (May 16-18) at Summit High School.

Despite dealing with rain and wind for most of the meet, the Celtics had multiple athletes set new personal records.

“I feel really good about what we did,” McNary head coach Frank Gauntz said. “It wasn’t ideal conditions to put really good times down, but the majority of our kids had a really good meet.

Two of the top athletes for the McNary boys this season have been sprinters Ethan Martin and Bryan Hernandez, both of whom were hopeful to snag a spot at the state meet.

But after making it to the 100-meter finals, Hernandez pulled his hamstring 20 meters into the race and was unable to finish. He also had to be scratched from the 200m finals due to the injury.

Martin, on the other hand, ended up rolling his ankle while warming up for the 4×100 relay and couldn’t perform up to what he was capable of.

Losing both athletes was a huge blow to this Celtics squad. 

“It was really unfortunate to lose those guys,” Gauntz said. “It put a damper mood on the guys side, but there’s nothing we can do. It was just kind of a fluke thing.”

The two top performers for the boys team were Logan Anderson and Sunny Hoang. 

Anderson took fifth in the javelin with his personal best throw of 145-feet-5-inches while Hoang placed fifth in the pole vault, beating his old personal record by nearly a foot (12-3). 

Cole Garland placed sixth in the triple jump with his personal-best leap of 40-2.5. McLean Schmidtt took seventh in the 300-hurdles (42.28 seconds) and Nikita Martushev also placed seventh in the 400m (53.15).

McNary freshman Aron Montoya snuck onto the podium by grabbing an eighth place spot in the javelin (140-8). 

McNary’s top overall finisher of the day came on the girls side thanks to Sabella Alfaro, who placed fourth in the javelin with a throw of 115-11.

Alfaro, however, came into the meet as a state-hopeful, but fell eight feet short of her personal-best. 

“(Alfaro) didn’t have a bad day by any means. She went out there and competed well. She just didn’t have her best day,” Gauntz said. 

Isabella Walker placed fifth in the high jump (4-10) while Kennedy Buss took sixth in the discus with her personal-best throw of 101-7. 

Brandi Grundberg also took sixth in the pole vault, hitting the 10-foot mark for the first time in her career. 

Kylie Dean made it to the podium by placing eighth in the shot (34-8.25).