Prep girls track and field: Rainier's Murphy takes over state lead with PR jump


Acacia Murphy has already reached the pinnacle of high school track and field in Washington. She’s the defending state high jump champ and has had additional medals draped around her neck.

Still, there was a gap in her stellar resume at Rainier High School.

It got filled on Saturday afternoon.

Murphy cleared the high jump at 5 feet, 4.25 inches to set a new personal record, vault to the top height in Class 2B and break the school record at Saturday’s 34th running of the Chehalis Activators Classic at W.F. West High School.

“Might as well go big,” Murphy said. “It was probably the best form I've had all year to be honest. I felt perfectly in rhythm with everything. As my back was over, I knew I got it.”

Murphy was tied for the record when she was at 5-4, but when she was the last one standing in the 16-person field, she wanted the bar raised to 5-4.25.

Standard practice for an athlete trying to break a record. She cleared it on her first attempt.

“I thought I was stuck at 5-2, but I knew I had 5-4 in me,” Murphy said. “Just hoping I can continue it.”

Her three chances at 5-5 were missed, but Mountaineers head coach Rob Henry feels that has a chance to be cleared sooner rather than later.

On the day, Murphy missed just one attempt prior to 5-5.

“First jump I thought was really good,” Henry said. “As it gets higher, her timing is off a little bit. That’s a matter of working (at) that height.”

W.F. West clipped rival Tumwater 75.5-75 to win the team title with Rainier fourth, tallying 69 points. Napavine finished with 38 points to place in a tie for seventh while Black Hills (31), Centralia (24), Onalaska (23), Rochester (22) and Winlock (18) finished in the top-16.

The Bearcats 1,600-meter relay quartet of Lauren Kelley, Trinity Gist, Kaja Economou and Emily Mallonee won in 4:28.30 to take home the trophy. Their other two relays finished in second place.

“I don’t think I’m surprised; we’ve got a lot of depth,” W.F. West head coach Katie Jansen Guiliani said. “In all the relays, we’ve got a solid six girls and they’re battling. I imagine the next two weeks will really solidify (the relay lineups).”

All-around athlete Amanda Bennett continued her soar atop the 2A javelin leaderboard with a new season-best throw of 122-07, four feet longer than her previous best.

The defending state champ had one major improvement from last year to this.

“I got (javelin) spikes this year, but I do think my body is more developed,” Bennett said. “When I have fun and I don't think, I do better.”

She kicked off the aforementioned 400 and 800 relays to runner-up finishes and was also second to Rainier’s Ella Marvin in the pole vault.

Bennett’s clearance of 8-06 is a new PR in her first year competing in it.

“With a girl like that, she can pretty much pick her events,” Jansen Guiliani said. “The main thing about her is being able to balance all her events. She’s one of the last ones here everyday.”

The junior feels a new personal record throw of 125 feet in javelin is within reach. Her top priority is repeating in a month in Tacoma.

“I’m going for three-time state champ, this year and next year (to complete it),” Bennett said. “Hopefully.”

The Mountaineers also picked up a win from distance standout Madison Ingram in the 3,200 in 12:27.82, a 17-second shave of her previous season-best and moves her to fifth in 2B.

Henry feels his group has laid the groundwork for a budding season that may be leaving Yakima with state meet hardware.

“They set the tone at the beginning of the year and that is on them,” Henry said. “They know what they’re capable of.”

Napavine’s Keira O’Neill leaped 33-06 to secure the triple jump, her first time going over that mark since last year. The senior has been stuck in the 31 and 32-foot range all spring, but eclipsed that and then-some.

“It was a little unexpected because I didn’t think it would be the day,” O’Neill said.

O’Neill finished third in high jump and javelin. She started doing javelin two weeks ago and threw a mark in the triple digits for the first time.

That alone makes her think there’s a good shot at the event sticking the rest of the way.

“I want to keep doing all three, but next week I’m going to drop one for the day and do the (open) 200,” she said. “See how that turns out.”

Tumwater freshman Alexandra Broome chased down Black Hills’ Lilly Kincaid to win the 800 and cruised to a victory in the 1,600.