MILTON-FREEWATER — Sometimes success catches you off guard.
That’s what happened to Pancho Saldana at the Carnival of Speed track and field meet at Mac-Hi on Friday. The senior Pioneer used less speed and more strength to set a new school distance record in the javelin throw. Saldana obliterated the standing mark by 13 feet with a throw of 198 feet, 8 inches.
“It was surprising actually,” Saldana said. “When they marked it off read it out I had to question it. I questioned them like three times.”
“Everything happened to go the right way this time,” Saldana explained, almost trying to convince himself as much as anyone else. “The footwork, my arms, it was all just perfect.”
Saldana’s big throw helped the Pioneer boys finish at the top of the rankings in first with 97.5 points. Waitsburg-Prescott was the next closest school at 85 points in second.
Elsewhere on the throwing circuit, Riverside teammates Greg Shimer and Marco Carranza finished second and third in the shot put event.
Shimer won the event at the Mullin Leavitt Invite in The Dalles on March 17 with a throw of 40 feet, 7 inches to set a new personal record and the shot he tossed Friday made him feel like a new personal best was on the way. When the measurements came back, Shimer was disappointed to see the same 40-7 staring back at him.
But at least he’s consistent, Shimer joked.
“I look out in the pit at that spot and try and visualize throwing to that spot,” the sophomore said. “I kind of build everything up inside and release.”
Carranza’s did not have a qualifying throw in The Dalles, but kept things in between the lines this time for the third-place medal with a 40-4 throw, just three inches back of his teammate.
The Mac-Hi boys also won the 4x400 meter relay by a full seven seconds. Alberto Rodriguez, Rick Sandoval, Sergio Alverez and Nathan Dombrosky combined on a 3:39.35 time to win the event.
On the girls’ side, Weston-McEwen came in second as a team by the slimmest of margins possible. The TigerScots score of 84.5 landed them 1/4 of a point behind Union, who finished in the top spot.
McKayla Carlin of Weston-McEwen scored a big win to help her team get to that point. The junior took first in the triple jump with a textbook jump made up of three equally sized portions, she said.
Her winning jump of 32-6 was a good start to the season because Friday was really the first time she’s even been able to practice a full triple jump. Inclement weather has kept her from using the team’s practice area near the track so far this spring.
“It was my first time on the run way this year,” she said. “We don’t have an all-weather surface (in Athena).”
She also threw a 102-foot javelin toss for a second place finish.
Coming in second in the triple jump with a 30-1 leap, Umatilla’s Jessica Siler just missed out on being a two-event champ on the day. Siler unleashed a 34-foot, 3-inch throw to win the shot put competition. Her shot landed close to a full two feet farther than any other of the girls’.
Siler said she could feel a top notch throw in the works as soon as she pushed the weight off into the air.
“It’s going to fly,” she remembered thinking. “It’s really going.”
The Umatilla girls finished in fourth place with 48.5 points, a mile behind third-place Mac-Hi. The Pioneers scored 71.
Helping Mac-Hi to its bronze finish, Kristi Childers won the 100 meters and Josie Lonai won the 800. Both are freshmen.
They combined to help the Pioneer 4x100 relay team take gold as well along with Mica Epifanio and Veronica Garcia.