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 Three Hanford High track athletes earn All-American honors at nationals (Tri-City Herald)

Area track athletes put their talents on display this past week at the USATF Hershey National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships in Lawrence, Kan., and four came home as All-Americans.

Hanford High athletes Joe Gauthier, Beau Franklin and Nyenuchi Okemgbo, along with Southridge’s Keanu Daos, placed in the top eight in their respective events to earn All-American status.

Gauthier, the state champion in the Class 4A 100 meters in May, ran a 10.72 on Sunday to finish fifth in the men’s division among the 58 competitors.

“I was a little disappointed,” Gauthier said. “I didn’t perform as well as I think I should have. They were pretty fast. In the final I thought I got a good start, but I got put in a bad lane (one) and I didn’t haven’t anyone to run with.”

But the experience is one he won’t soon forget.

“It was my first time at nationals,” said Gauthier, who has signed to run at Eastern Washington University. “It was the first real big meet I had been to. I was more excited than overwhelmed. The atmosphere was all track. Everybody talked track.”

Franklin (15-16), an incoming junior at Hanford, placed seventh Sunday in the 110 hurdles in a time of 15.14. He ran a personal best 14.79 in the semifinals and placed second in his heat to advance.

“I probably wouldn’t have made the finals if I hadn’t run that fast,” Franklin said. “I was with some of the top guys.”

Franklin’s main goal for the trip was to be an All-American, but he was fighting tight hamstrings, and with his top time coming in among the 54 runners, he wasn’t projected to make the finals.

“I was worried, but I overcame the odds,” said Franklin, who is gearing up for cross country season.

Franklin, also with Tri-City Thunder, finished 18th in the long jump (15-16) with a mark of 20 feet, 4 1/2 inches, which he hit on his first jump. He did not make the finals.

Okemgbo (15-16), running unattached, finished fourth in the 100 hurdles with a time of 14.75. She placed second at the Class 4A state meet in May with a 14.32.

by Annie Fowler, Tri-City Herald: 509-582-1574