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Tigers off to state

by Chuck Smock

Douglas senior Jenny Smokey and sophomore Gabe Hatchett each will compete in three events in the 4A State Track and Field meet this weekend in Las Vegas.

The two Tigers will lead a contingent of 10 Douglas athletes – five boys and five girls – to the state meet. They earned their trips to Las Vegas with top-four performances at the Northern 4A Zone meet Friday and Saturday at Reed High in Sparks.

Smokey, teamed up with fellow seniors Kelly Mogab and Annie Gastelum and freshman Rebecca Pope, to win the 4-by-800 relay on Friday.

On Saturday, Smokey finished second in the 1,600 meters and took third place in the 800 meters. She had less than two hours of rest between the 1,600 and 800.

“That was the hardest race ever,” Smokey said moments after posting a personal-best time of 2 minutes, 24.14 seconds in the 800. “I used all my energy in the first lap.

“Considering this is my first year doing track, this was a really good year for me. I’m just excited I made it to state.”

Hatchett finished second in the 110-meter high hurdles, was second in the 300-meter intermediate hurdles and helped the Douglas 4-by-400 relay team finish fourth.

The sophomore didn’t run a perfect race in the 300 – which he has dominated this season -but he said he still was surprised to be beaten by Galena’s Ashworth Hamilton.

Perhaps it was some advice Hatchett gave Hamilton on Friday after the preliminaries that helped the Grizzly pull out the victory.

“I told him to make sure he ate his Wheaties, but I was just kidding around,” Hatchett said. “He said he was going to eat a whole box. I guess he did.”

Douglas junior Chris Chappell overcame being bitten on his left by a dog early Saturday morning to win the pole vault with a school record jump of 14 feet, 9 inches.

Chappell went to the emergency room at about 6 a.m., and received a single stitch to close the would between his toes.

“I’m surprised I did that well today,” said Chappell, who has broken the school record three times in the last month. “It hurt, but I just tried to focus on the vault and not worry about my foot.

“It seems like everything happens for a reason. I’m just happy I could hang in there and get through it.”

Douglas’ Christina Morgan also earned a trip to state with a fourth-place finish in the discus.

Mogab and Pope each also secured a second run at the state meet on Saturday. Mogab raced to a second-place finish in the 3,200 meters, while Pope took fourth in the 1,600 meters.

Mogab led the pack though the middle laps of the 3,200, but couldn’t hold off eventual champ Katie Gabbart of Reno.

“When I had the lead, I felt really strong,” Mogab said. “I was sick of being boxed in, so I surged to the lead. That helped me run faster. I wanted to make sure I had room to run.”

Pope, a 9th-grader at Carson Valley Middle School, said being a part of the winning 4-by-800 team on Friday night relieved some of the pressure Saturday. She finished strong to hold on to the fourth-place spot in the 1,600.

“That felt really good; it was fun” Pope said after the 1,600. “I knew I had the fourth spot because I have a pretty good kick.”

In the last boys’ race of the day, the Douglas 4-by-400 team of Hatchett, Josh Nussbaum, Jared Kenison and Jayson Scheetz finished third to increase the Tigers’ presence at the state meet.

Scheetz, a senior who had finished sixth in the 400 meters earlier in the day, said he was determined to maintain the third-place position the Tigers owned when he started the final leg.

“I knew we could do it, we just had to give it our best shot,” Scheetz said. “I was thinking ‘state’ when i got (the baton). When we were in third, I knew I could keep it.”

The Douglas girls (46 points) finished fifth in the team standings, one point out of fourth and one point ahead of Carson and McQueen. Reed won the meet with 159 points. Reno was second with 148.

The Douglas boys were eighth, two points behind sixth-place South Tahoe and Lowry. Reed finished first with 134 points, while Reno took second with 113.