Ethan Martin runs the third leg of the boys 4x100 relay race (KEIZERTIMES/Matt Rawlings).

It had been almost two years since McNary competed in a track meet, so when the day finally came, first-year head coach David Holcomb was giddy with excitement. 

“It felt like I was a kid waiting for Christmas. Seeing the smiles through their masks was the best part. Kids were just happy to be out there. Whether they had (personal record) days or not, you could tell there was some excitement to be a part of their events again,” Holcomb said. 

The McNary boys squad defeated McKay 43-35 while the girls team fell 56-30 on Monday, April 19. 

The Celtic boys got great performances from their distance runners, who just wrapped up their cross country season a couple weeks prior. Gavin Gasperini won the 800 meters with a time of 2:05.00, Brennan Whalen took home the 1500m (4:34.99) and Connor Ropp got the victory in the 3000m (10:20.64) — all were personal-bests. 

“It is neat to see that the 6-8 week cross country season bleed into track a little bit because for our distance kids, it’s fantastic,” Holcomb said. “It was really cool to see the distance kids excel.”

McNary’s most impressive runner of the day, however, was Axel Zapien Sanchez, who won the 200m (23.84) and the 400m (55.87) and also helped the Celtics win the 4X100 and 4X400 meter relays. 

“He was definitely impressive. He is a kid that loves track and he works so hard in practice. He wants to get better and when you want that and look forward to competing, it makes it easier to have a good time and post a good mark.”

“It was pretty strange. I felt like I had to re-learn some basic things about track. But it was exciting to actually have a meet,” Zapien Sanchez added. “I felt like I ran well even though I didn’t feel like I was physically prepared." 

Dyami Rios also picked up a victory for the Celtics in the 100m (11.61).

On the girls side, Jessica Dilger won the 400m (1:12.42) and Olivia Cartwright got the victory in the 100m hurdles (19.17). Lisa Hoang won the long jump with a leap 14-feet-5 inches and Kennedy Buss easily won the discus with a personal-best toss of 102 feet.

“The kids that we have went out and competed well. It’s about taking the pieces we have, helping them out, and having the younger pieces developing,” Holcomb said about the Celtics girls team. 

McNary will host their first home meet of the season against Sprague on Monday, April 26. Events are scheduled to start at 2 p.m.

Matt Rawlings: [email protected]