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Panthers Power Into Post-Season Competition

Post-season athletic competition and Mead High School are synonymous.

This year the Panthers have qualified for district or state competition in all five fall Greater Spokane League sports.

Included is the league championship soccer team, which was unbeaten for the fourth straight year and won its 10th league championship in a row.

Mead has qualified for state and awaits a league opponent for seeding purposes.

The Panthers had three of the league’s top six scorers, Staci Clinesmith, who had 16 goals, Kelly Leaf, who had 11, and Katrina Morton, who had nine.

On Saturday, both the Panther boys and girls cross country teams will attempt to qualify for the state meet.

Mead’s seven-time state champion boys got a second-place effort by Jason Fayant and had five other runners place in front of Ferris’s fourth-place finisher to win yet another league championship.

Last year’s state runner-up girls finished third in league but in Stephanie Goaslind and Lynde Johnson have two of the league’s better individuals and a close-packed supporting cast.

Mead’s football team assured itself second place in league and a seventh straight berth in post-season play and a return trip to Walla Walla.

And the volleyball team on Tuesday earned the sixth and final spot in tonight’s district tournament. The Panthers play Lewis and Clark.

Cross country has added suspense

The move of state qualifying cross country races to Saturday is the result of a change in format.

Suspense as well as promise has been added in the AAA races, which have become a regional meet including teams from the Big Nine.

As a result, three teams and other top-15 individuals qualify for state, instead of the GSL’s allotment of one team and five individuals, giving runners an improved chance to run at state.

Athletes like Shadle Park’s Casey Perry, Rogers’ Cameron Hatch, NC’s Justin Hill, Rob Caballero and Lori Kostelecky and Shadle Park’s girls team will be in the state qualifying chase.

Class A and B schools have combined once more into one state meet.

Runners such as St. George’s Christian Laugen and last year’s state champion and runner-up boys and girls teams from the Northeast B District will now be forced to compete for state against Northeast A power Chewelah and individuals like girls state candidates Jaime Stone of Deer Park and Lindsay McElroy of Lakeside.

Two teams and the top 10 individuals qualify for state.

In the AA classification Riverside can’t get any respect.

One-year removed from the State A meet, the Rams finished second in the Frontier League ahead of East Valley. They gave champion West Valley a start at the SunFair Invitational in Yakima.

Yet at eighth in state they are ranked behind EV.

It will take the district race, where one team and the top five individuals qualify for state, for Jon Ashcraft, Marc Horton and teammates to earn their due.

Best season in a decade

North Central enters tonight’s district volleyball tournament after compiling its first winning record since 1985.

After a 1-3 start, the fourth-place Indians won eight of their final 12 games and will play University, a team they beat twice, with a chance to qualify for regionals.

, DataTimes