SEASIDE — For a track meet that had a weather forecast of “heavy rain, thunder, shower and fog,” it wasn't that bad.
The annual Daily Astorian Invitational track meet has gained a well-deserved reputation as an event that always seems to bring out the worst in spring weather on the North Coast.
But the 31st annual “Daily A,” held Saturday at Seaside High School, turned out pretty good, all things considered. Especially for some Astoria and Seaside runners, and a couple of throwers from Seaside and Warrenton.
No rain, thunder, showers or fog, but the wind still made an appearance. Every race, jump and throw was either “wind-aided” or “wind-resisted,” or sometimes both.
But that was expected, with hundreds of athletes competing on a track that's less than a mile from the Pacific Ocean.
The annual event features schools from all across the Lower Columbia region, and originally started as a meet to showcase track and field in the newspaper's readership area.
While the Astoria girls continued their winning ways, Seaside's Gretchen Hoekstre posted the only meet record of the day in winning the shot put, breaking a 10-year-old mark (46 feet, 11½ inches) held by Astoria's Laura Bobek, who went on to set records at the University of Oregon.
Hoekstre's first throws Saturday weren't going well, so the senior — who will attend Brigham Young University next year — made a little technique change halfway through the competition, which resulted in two huge throws.
“I had been doing the rotational (spin technique) in the shot all season long,” Hoekstre said, “and so I thought 'that's what I'm going to do, that's where I'm going to build.' But today I just couldn't get behind the shot, so I decided I would try a 'glide,' because that's what I practiced all summer long. And I've done probably 5,000 throws in the shot, for how much I've worked on it.
“And the first time I came out with the glide today, I knew I was going somewhere,” she said. “The first one was 46-something. It just felt great. I watched some film of it after my coach took a video. The next throw I handled a little better, but I still wasn't all the way behind it.”
But Hoekstre finally put it all together, and made a throw of 47-8 to set a personal best and break the meet record.
Bobek was a volunteer in Saturday's meet, recording all the marks for the shot put competitors.
“Laura Bobek has all the records, and she's so much fun to watch,” said Hoekstre, a big fan of Bobek. “So it was really cool to have her there. And even she was super excited, even though I think I broke her record. It felt really good after all the hard work I've put into it. It's paying off.”
The second-place finisher was Warrenton's Fernanda Alvarez (35-10).
In the discus (which Hoekstre also won, with a throw of 124-7), she said, “The wind has been kind of crazy all day, so I assumed it wouldn't be a huge throw, but it definitely felt good.”
Astoria's Kes Sandstrom, the defending 4A state champion in the discus, was second at 116-2.
Junior thrower Mark Warren of Warrenton didn't break any meet records, but he did win two events filled with athletes from larger schools. He continued his big season with two wins and a second-place finish.
Warren began his day by winning the javelin with a season-best toss of 167-8, topping the 164-8 of Seaside's Parker Conrad.
Warren also won the shot put with a 51-1, and placed second in the discus behind Astoria freshman Colton McMaster, who had a toss of 127-11.
Weather-wise, “I thought it was going to be a pretty terrible day, but so far it's been really good,” Warren said after winning the javelin. “The wind might have helped a little, but in the end I just wanted to finish well in this event.”
In the discus, he said, “I'd love to get over 130 there, so I can stay on track and get our school record. It's at 142. I've gotten close in practice, into the 135s.”
Meanwhile, the Astoria girls' team is officially in “cruise control,” winning races on the track — by large margins — and in the field.
On the track, the Lady Fishermen won the 400 meters (sophomore Kelsey Fausett), 800 meters (sophomore Sophie Long), 1,500 meters (freshman Lindsay Riutta), the 300-meter hurdles (sophomore Isabella Clement) and both relays.
Junior Elizabeth Barnett won the pole vault and triple jump, where she leaped 32 feet, 4 inches and teammate Nara Van De Grift had a personal best 32-0.
Barnett said her main competition was the wind — which seemed to know when it was her turn to jump.
“Every time I got in the pit, it felt like the wind was blowing extra hard,” she laughed. “Same thing with high jump, it just blew every time I stood up.”
On the boys' side, Seaside sophomore Henry Garvin was the sprint champion of the day, winning the 100 meters in 12.25, and the 200 meters in a personal best 24.44.
Seaside teammate Levi Card circled the track twice in 2:06.18 to win the 800, and Ilwaco freshman Daniel Quintana won the 1,500 in a personal best time 4:28.34.
Seaside's fourth win on the track came from junior Luis Moreno, in the 3,000 meters at 10:23.36.
Astoria's one win on the track belonged to senior Ian Hunt, who ran the 110-meter hurdles in 17.08 to finish ahead of teammate Lathen Schultz (17.35).
Hunt highlighted his day by clearing a personal best 6-feet to win the high jump.
Knappa had four athletes combine for one win, as Robert Piña-Morton, Pavlo Miller, Tyler Green and Kanai Philip teamed up to win the 400-meter relay in 47.52, outracing Astoria (48.03) to the tape.