Raymond’s Freeman and Thepsoumphou, North Beach’s Blankenship and Poplin win state titles

CHENEY — Raymond’s Karlee Freeman led a host of local athletes that will be heading home with extra hardware after Friday’s 1A/2B/1B State Championship Meet at Eastern Washington University on Friday.

Freeman added two more state titles to her trophy case — winning a javelin state championship for the first time with a mark of 130 feet, 11 inches and the discus with a throw of 167-02, breaking her own meet record.

Freeman struggled somewhat in the discus event, managing to record one mark (135-04) in her first five throws — a standing toss on her second throw to ensure a spot in the finals. After missing the legal area on her following three throws, Freeman broke her own meet record with one of her longest marks of the season. It’s her fourth discus state title in a row.

“She kind of tweaked her rib throwing the javelin and that threw her off a bit (in the discus),” Raymond head coach Mike Tully said. “She popped that last throw and curved it to get it in.”

Freeman will have a chance for two more state titles today, as she qualified in the 100 meters and the shot put.

But Freeman wasn’t the only Raymond competitor to win a state title on Friday, as teammate Jimmy Thepsoumphou took the state title in the 2B boys high jump.

Thepsoumphou cleared a height of 6-03 on his second attempt to edge Kettle Falls’ Charlie Andrews and teammate Marcus Anderson, who placed second and third, respectively.

Tully stated that Thepsoumphou is the first high jump state champion he’s coached in his 10 years on the job and it happened on the 20th anniversary of Tully winning the state high jump title in 1998.

Raymond wasn’t the only local school to feature two state championship athletes on Friday as North Beach’s Tawni Blankenship and Ben Poplin each claimed gold.

Blankenship, who cleared 11 feet, seven inches in winning last week’s district championship, nearly repeated that feat at state — surpassing the 11-foot mark on her first attempt to win the title.

The senior is now a two-time state champion in the pole vault, having won last year with an identical 11-00 mark.

Waterville’s Lexi Dieshl placed second (10-00), Piper Cai of Colfax was third (09-09) and Willapa Valley’s Brooke Friese finished fourth (09-06).

For the Hyaks’ Ben Poplin, the state title didn’t come as easy. After finishing sixth at least year’s state meet, the North Beach senior saved his best for last, heaving the 12-pound shot 48 feet on his last throw of the competition to win the state title over Lake Roosevelt’s Steven Flowers by four inches. Raymond’s Ricky Robinett placed third (47-00.25).

For full results and to follow the action as it’s posted, visit http://wiaa.com/results/track/2018/1B2B1A/index.htm.

Photos by Shayn Sath