It’s spring, and hope is eternal for Greater Spokane League coaches who feel this is the year to end Mead’s 14-year championship stranglehold.
But Panther coach Gary Baskett, back from a year’s sabbatical, politely says no way.
“This is as good a dual-meet team as I’ve ever had,” he said. “If we go all the way through, it will be 15-1/2 years without a loss. The kids have no major expectations, but they know.”
Mead’s dual-meet winning streak is currently 128 and counting.
The GSL season begins a week from today.
Depth is secret of Mead’s success
Mead may not have, in Baskett’s words, “studbolt kids,” but the depth of talent in each event is unparalleled throughout the league.
“It doesn’t take long (for points) to add up,” said Baskett.
Beau Chandler, fourth at state in the javelin, is joined by Zach Mercer, Spencer Smith, who threw 185-9 last week, Jared Eddington, Mike Dircks, Leland Baker and lone junior Cody Ferguson.
Juniors Scott McGlocklin and Jason DeJong are 52-foot-plus shotputters. Discus throwers with 150-foot potential are seniors Mike Moore and Eric Reyburn and juniors Joe Collier, Chris Morgan and Shane Wyatt.
Horizontal jumpers over 21 feet are D.J. Miller and sophomore Chris McCullough, plus Alvin Shaler and Pat Hudson.
State veteran Merrill Alley, newcomer Ralph Casteneda and sophomores Jason House, Eric Stutzman and Jason Galles are the high jumpers.
Juniors Shawn Gumke, Brian Preuss and sophomore Zak Cassel will pole vault.
On the track, Mead returns district sprint champion Matt Sturm backed by John West, Jeff Dunlap, football quarterback Jason Lewis and McCullough.
Stuzman, senior J.P. Steinbokkers and junior Dustin Hardin hurdle.
Distance runners may not be the caliber one-two, two-event state finishing punch, but they are last fall’s state championship cross country team.
In the 1,600-3,200 are Jayson Fayant, Morgan Thompson, Damon Risteau, Lee Hodin, Ben Allen, Josh McLellan, C.J. Skyberg, Chad Wiser, Ryan Wiser, Chris Zeller and senior Mark Mohrlang.
The 400-800 meter runners are Adam Cyr, David Green, Aaron Ladhe and newcomer Jim Hughbanks.
Shadle continues to build
The goal of Highlander coach Ivan Corley, whose team was 4-4 last year, is to improve every year.
“The boys were pretty young for the most part,” he said. “I know we have some quality. It will be interesting to see if we’re up there.”
Sophomore Oliver Cook came essentially from nowhere, improving by 20 feet to win the regional javelin and place at state.
He is one of several returning regional qualifiers, including sprinter Ben Tate, sophomore hurdler Adam Peters, junior distance runner Casey Perry and junior discus thrower Chris Anderson.
Cook also high jumps, although Corley would like him to throw the shot. Junior Ben Pate, and seniors Ryan Villalobos and Justin Egan give the javelin depth.
Joining Perry in the distances are senior Marty Aguilar and junior Eric Wynne.
Sprinters include Trevor Walters and Shawn Kingsbury, plus sophomores.
“They’ll come around; I’m not too worried about that,” he said. “It’s just when.”
Seniors Rob Holland and Tim Smith are the pole vaulters.
Horizontal jumpers include Mike Dean, Charlie McInerney, Aaron Caprye and Sam Glanzer.
Depth still a problem at NC
North Central has some quality track athletes, just not enough of them to be a strong dual-meet team.
“We’re still thin in numbers, no doubt about that,” said Coach Joe Schauble.
The Indians do have balance in the throws and have capable distance runners.
State cross country qualifiers Jon Caballero and Justin Hill will run the events from 800 through 3,200. Brian Donovan gives the team a third runner.
In the discus, regional qualifier Rance McCullough is joined by Troy Kapelke and Ed Eschenbacher.
Brett Jordan and Dan Lynch put the shot, and Kapelke throws the javelin.
Chris Bourgeou is a solid jumper, but the team’s only one. Schauble is hoping Brandon Blanchat will stick with the high jump.
Pole vaulters include Stacey Bruce and Rob Kutchman.
Sprinters will come from sophomore James Lehman, Adam Delacruz or senior Lucio Morales. Sophomore Ty Carter is a hurdles hopeful.
Coach switches role at Rogers
Last year Dave Wolkenhauer became the girls track coach at Rogers. This year he is the new boys coach.
Wolkenhauer replaces Dave Carson, who stepped down after five years.
The change was simple since all the coaches pool their talents and teach by event rather than gender.
“When it opened, I was going to stay with girls,” said Wolkenhauer. “Shaney Redmon applied, and it seemed natural for us to switch.”
The Pirates again lack depth, although there is returning talent in sprinter-javelin thrower Shaun McMackin, state cross country distance runner Cam Hatch and 12-6 pole vaulter Aaron Evans.
“Cam will be great in the distances for us,” said Wolkenhauer. “It’s a shame this is the toughest league in state. In any other you could pencil him in for Tacoma (the state meet).”
Newcomers Nathan Smith in the jumps and Bryant Hemphill in the throws show promise.
Joining McMackin and Evans in the sprints are Brian Safran and Nathan Ewing, a 400-meter runner and 300 hurdler.
Buddy Honshal and Jeff Wisten in the 800-1,600 races and freshman Ryan Craig in the 3,200 back Hatch in the distances.
Sophomore Justin Ulmer is a throws candidate. Jumpers include Brandon Lang in the long and triple and Max DeVoree in the high. Pole vaulter is Chris Clark.
“We have no depth at all,” said Wolkenhauer. “I hope and pray we get a couple wins and get a couple kids to Tacoma.”
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