Mead won both the boys and girls championships and broke some records along the way. Read below for the unedited story I filed for Sunday’s paper.
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That would be Mead, more Mead and mostest Mead.
By the time the time
For only the fifth time in big school history, and second in school history, Mead won both the team track championships.
Good for the boys, celebrating their eighth overall land second-straight team title. Gooder for the girls, enjoying their first since their initial title in 1996. Goodest of all, the boys piled up an astounding 82.5 points, the most ever in the big school meet
“All of a sudden it was like a gold rush,” boys coach John Mires said. “Once one got a medal they all wanted one. If everything went perfect I though we’d be in the mid-60’s. The kids said let’s get 80. They didn’t loose a meet all year, it was like they were this big blue machine.”
Girls coach Dori Reeves said, “Heart. Absolute heart. Everything they’ve got. And they’re GREAT kids, capitalize great.”
Mead distance coach Steve Kiesel was on the 1974
“They’re both equally sweet,” he said. “It’s nice to keep it in the family.”
And family is a good word for the way Mead approaches track, emphasized this again this year by Mires’ junior daughter Bayee repeating as the 800- and 1,600-meters champion and running the anchor leg on the state-winning 1,600.
Just for good measure, team teams combined to place in 19 of the 20 events they had participants and all but one person scored. The Meads combined for 147.5 points, more than any of the previous four double winners. The boys out-distanced Skyline 82.5-38 and the girls raced past Rogers-Puyallup 65-47.
The day actually started with a Ferris’ title, the 800 going to Justin Zimmerman, who had the state’s fastest time a year ago only to fade to sixth.
“I can’t believe I won,” the emotional senior said after finishing in 1-minute, 54.27-seconds, well off his best. “I don’t even care about the time.”
Zimmerman, who ran his legs off in the state qualifying races last year, was comfortably in fourth through a casual first lap of the race that had the past two state winners. His plan was to kick somewhere along the last corner.
“I couldn’t hold it in,” he admitted. “My patience sucks. I had to take it at 200.”
The only other winner was Wes Bailey of Mead, who had great day, in the 300 hurdles with a personal record of 38.20.
“I’ve been waiting for that,” said the sophomore who anchored the second-place 400 relay (42.48) and finished fourth in the 200 (22.32). “I was tired of Garrett (Gerling of Walla Walla) beating me. I just had to prove to everyone that sophomores can be strong.”
There was another motivating factor as well.
“Last night we were counting totals up what we can get and they decided to put me in third place,” he said. “That kind of sparked a fire in me, got me a little mad, so I had to prove to my team that I could get first place.”
Ferris senior Adam Thorne, who has a history of disappointments at state, was a strong second (PR, 4:10.44) in the 1,600 behind two-time winner Shane Moskowitz of
“You always want to win but it was great,” said Thorne, who made his move on Moskowitz with about 200 meters to go. “Recently I’ve been able to out-kick people the last 100. I knew that he would jump me at some point in time. I thought I could just latch on to him and hopefully he’d go too early. But he finished awesome.”
There isn’t a lot more to be said about Baylee Mires, who toyed with the field in the 800 (2:15.46) and again in the 1,600 (4:53.52), except that she is emotional.
After finishing the Panthers’ ho-hum relay win (3:55.94), made easy because senior Jazmine Redmon, who was second in the 400 with a PR of 57.23, went from seventh to good-bye on the third lap, Mires broke down.
“I ran for her,” she said after embracing Redmon, “and now I’m a wreck.”
Which brought the first two runners, sophomore Tymen Grant and freshman Peyton Barcellos, to the edge of tears.
Redmon was even more emotional than after the 400, when she said, “I’m happier than I’ve ever been. I was expecting this place at all. I wanted a PR but second place is better than any PR.”
“It’s over,” the future Gonzaga basketball player said later. “I’m never going to use a (starting) block again. Dori told us we needed to put on a show to top it off.”
Another emotional Panther was Tasha Clark, who was the state pole vault leader all year, who had her sights set on a state record only to finish at 12-feet, three inches shy of her best, and believing she had lost.
“I wanted at least a shot at my PR,” she said. “I think I was a little stressed because I thought I was losing going into 12-3 and it put more pressure on. I didn’t find out I won until a few minutes ago.”
The wind, which pounded runners in the home stretch all day, was a cross wind for the vaulters.
“The wind was kind of a factor and I didn’t get on my new pole I wanted to use,” she said. “But it’s OK since I won.”
Shannon Johnson was close to becoming the second-straight Central Valley thrower to win the javelin, only to see Jamie Weisner of Walla Walla, who burned the Bears with 34 points in a basketball playoff win, get her by 15-inches with a last throw of 135-feet, 1-inch.
“I wanted the school record and I wanted to win,” Johnson said. “She came out and competed better, that happens. I felt good, I just didn’t live up to the standards I set for myself.”