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"Lighning Strike"

Updated: Sep 13, 2018

On a cool evening on Friday September 7th, La Salle and Selah's football teams were battling out a game of athleticism and skill while cross country teams from all over the valley toed the start line, anxiously awaiting the sound of the halftime buzzer. With three minutes and 25 seconds to go before the halftime horn, the first visible strike of lighting was spotted, and the game was put on a 30-minute delay. When brought out from the delay, the stands filled back up and the football and cross country teams warmed up a 2nd time, ready to get back to action. But in a twist of events, the 2nd wave of lightning struck the foothills and ridges nearby - prompting a thwart of the whole event that was attended by almost 3,000 people.

Before disaster struck, Sophomore Heath Yochum was substituted in at quarterback, moving starter Cameron Ditter back to the position he received state honors in (wide receiver). Yochum surpassed what he was supposed to do and connected on all 4 of his attempted passes - two of which were touchdowns, one 18-yard TD to Cameron Ditter and the other a 16-yard strike to Maleek Morfin. Unfortunately, the game was cut short and Yochum's incredible stats were swept away.

But despite all the conflict with the weather, the Selah football team, as well as the boys and girls cross country teams, got an experience that will be hard to match. Boys cross country captain Shea Mattson noted, "The atmosphere provided by 3,000 people gave us cross country runners an experience that we don't usually get. We did a stride right before the lightning struck in front of the crowd, and the noise grew so loudly we could almost not hear ourselves think. That was the only time besides the state championships that we were overwhelmed by the encouragement and noise provided by a crowd. A part of me was thankful we got to experience that before the lightning hit."

Although the cross country race was postponed, the team raced the following morning. Mattson set a new course record for two miles in the boys race running a 10:41. Senior Kaylea Hartman won the girls race, also setting a new course record and personal best of 11 minutes and 33 seconds. Results to the race are hyperlinked here.

The football team will travel to play Davis at Zaepfel Stadium on Friday, September 14th while the cross country teams participate in the Apple Ridge Invitational the following Saturday.

Heath Yochum throws a pass agsinst La Salle. (Photo courtesy of the Yakima Herald Republic)

The Selah Boys Cross Country Team does its final stride in right before the first lightning strike last Friday. (Photo by David Alvarez)

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