Jo-Hi youngsters make track and field debuts

<I>Hector del Castillo/Chieftain</I><BR>Freshmen Jade DeLury (left) prepares for her 100-meter dash with support from her classmate, Rebecca Cummins.

UMATILLA - Excitement pumped up Jade DeLury.

March 20 at the Umatilla Icebreaker, the girl from Joseph competed in three events at her first high school track and field meet. A freshman, DeLury sprinted the 100-meter dash and contributed to the 400- and 1600-meter relays. The shorter relay placed seventh out of nine teams; the longer was fourth. After racing track in junior high, she eagerly advanced to the next level of competition.

"I'm nervous right before any race," DeLury said. "I was more excited, than anything else."

DeLury wound up paying for that extra spring in her step. Competing in the 100 with another 35 girls, she ran in the last heat of runners. Jumping out of the blocks, she immediately bolted upright. Momentum threw her back slightly, and she sensed lost balance. She spent the next few feet pushing forward. Her time (14.8 seconds) ranked 15th overall.

Already, DeLury had battled anxiety. Just two weeks earlier, she suited up for the state's basketball championship.

"Now, that was nerve-wracking," DeLury said. "We were just practicing before the game, shooting around, and all I could think about was 'I can't mess up in front of all these people." By comparison, the Icebreaker was a breeze.

Joseph took several newcomers to Umatilla. DeLury joined classmate Rebecca Cummins in the girls' events. Cummins threw the javelin 65 feet and 5 inches. Meanwhile, the freshman boys included Lucas Staigle (pole vault), Cole Warnock (shot put, discus, javelin), Tyrel Warnock (shot put, discus) and Trevor Lewis (800, 1500). A pair of older boys made their track and field debuts. Senior Spencer Jarman ran the 100 and the 200 and threw javelin. Sophomore Caleb Bright handled threw shot put, javelin and discus.

The "rookies" also included a pair of foreign exchange students. Vanni Petrolli, from Italy, won his heat of the boys' 100. He posted a time of 12.25 seconds, and ranked third overall. He was a hair behind the winner, Danny Angel of Stanfield, who ran 11.85. In the 200, Petrolli again won his heat at 24.7 and against settled for third place behind Angel (24.48). And Celine Gaudin ran the girls' 800 as well as the relays.

The season opener served multiple purposes. While newcomers got their feet wet, more experienced athletes reacquainted themselves with their events after a long year. Senior Kenny Lathrop won the boys' 400-meter run. Senior Paige Bailey was first in the girls' javelin. Both established new personal bests. Senior Clancy Warnock also set a new record in the javelin. His 173-02 was good enough for second place, behind Jimmy Cook of Grant Union's 186-11. And senior Tavin Hurley triumphantly returned to high jump after an extra long hiatus. He missed last season while recovering from knee surgery. In his first meet back, he bested the Icebreaker's competition by leaping 6-04, two inches above Matt Perren of Enterprise.

Next, Hurley and the other Joseph athletes will go to Milton-Freewater where they will compete April 3 at the Carnival of Speed.

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