Spring sports are like an all-you-can-eat buffet. No matter how much you stuff in, you feel like you missed something.
With state championships spread over Spokane, Tacoma and Yakima, and Eastern Washington athletes turning in strong performances, you just know you are going to miss something.
And that doesn’t include dessert - the outstanding accomplishments from athletes state-wide.
That explains, or maybe is a feeble excuse for, how Jennifer Stinson’s third straight high jump title is missed because St. George’s is winning the State B girls track championship on the last lap of the last relay in Yakima.
Or, how a couple of extraordinary athletes from River Ridge in Lacey, a second-year school, finished amazing careers unmentioned because Greater Spokane League teams were grabbing up hardware.
Tennessee-bound Gabe Garrett won the coveted sprint Triple Crown for River Ridge in the State AAA boys meet, winning the 100 (10.66 seconds), 200 (21.49) and 400 (47.87). LaShonda Chrisopher, exceptional enough to command a rare full-ride track scholarship to North Carolina, won her third straight long jump title (19 feet, 7 inches) and fourth-straight triple jump (39-10 1/4).
Then there are sports overlooked because there is no connection to the area. Lindberg defended its State AA baseball title, going 12 innings in the semifinals, nine in the finals. Capital of Olympia, the title-game loser, has five players with Division I scholarships and a shortstop named Sandberg - Jared, Ryne’s nephew.
Down in Yakima, the Lind boys doubles tennis team of Brian and Chris Keltz ended their high school run with a 40-2 record and a state championship.
Just about any sport a fan chose to attend featured first-class competition. Athletes in all classes are headed to all points of the country on athletic scholarships.
Spring sports are overwhelming, but certainly rewarding.
Counting it up
Mead defended its boys State AAA track championship by scoring in nine events. Certainly, the Panthers wouldn’t have won without their 1-2 punch of Micah Davis and Skiy DeTray in the 1,600 and 3,200. However, unlike last year, Mead had much more balance.
Overall, in the 34 total events for boys and girls, representatives from the eastern regional (GSL and Big Nine) won nine events, placed second or third 22 times and scored a top-eight finish 77 times.
The University girls finished second with just four entries. Katharine Hough finished fourth in the two short sprints and Adrienne Wilson was fourth in the two horizontal jumps. They combined with Lora Auch and Heather Silvey for a first in the 400 relay, the first relay title for the Titans, and second in the 800 relay.
The Mead girls, first in every track meet they entered this year, finished third, the first state trophy in the program’s history. Allison Beatty won the javelin, increasing her nation-leading throw to 152-7. It also took a 2-second personal record by Tennessee-bound Erin Rinear of River Ridge in the 300 hurdles (43.92) to beat Autumn Wood. Both Panthers are juniors.
Getting to know you
Last year Beatty was second at state, throwing 129-1 to lose to Shelly Massingale of Kennewick by almost 14 feet as Massingale became an intimidating rival. Her goal this year was to beat Massingale just once.
Beatty did that in Pasco, but Massingale came back to win at the Mooberry Relays and Beatty became more determined to beat Massingale in a postseason meet.
Beatty won at regional, becoming the national leader at 151-11. However, it wasn’t until state, when Beatty and Massingale were the prohibitive favorites, that the rivalry became friendly.
It seemed Beatty was just as happy about becoming friends with Massingale as she was winning. The two had to sit around an extra 2 hours as the javelin runway was brought up to standard.
Massingale said, “If there’s anyone I want to lose to, it’s Allison. We were talking about the javelin, basketball and how we both are inconsistent sometimes.”
Around track and field
Star Track XIII in Tacoma drew 9,632 for two sessions the first day and 9,743 the second.
Battle Ground senior Heather Gambil won the shot put (45-7 3/4), defending the title her sister won the year before. Gambil won the shot put as a sophomore when Battle Ground was Class AA.
Chrisopher won her triple jump title with just two attempts. In the middle of the night after Friday’s competition, she got up in the middle of the night for a drink of water and banged into a coffee table. She was in obvious pain after her first jump. She came back to anchor the winning 800 relay team. In four years, Chrisopher scored 84 points at state meets.
Lynwood junior Ben Lindsey had a tough meet. He came up 2 inches short in the battle of 60-foot shot putters, with O’Dea senior Kurth Connell winning with a 59-11 1/2 mark. The next day, Lindsey, who holds the state record in the discus at 198-10, only went 175-8 and finished second. Connell, 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, is headed to the University of Washington to play football. Lindsey, 6-6 and 238, is said to be leaning toward UW.
Star Track XIV is ticketed for Spokane along with the Class AA Springfest events next year. The other Class AAA events are in Tacoma. Class A/B stays in Yakima. In 1997, Yakima has StarTrack XV and the AAA Springfest, with the A/B events in Spokane.
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