Greater Spokane League track and field athletes squared off with Mother Nature Thursday afternoon and thumped the unforgiving lady pretty well.
In the three triple-dual meets that opened the league season, girls established 11 area bests and boys set eight. A number of second-place finishers also improved on what had been the previous best times and distances.
Of course, they paid a price, since everyone was chilled to the bone after competing under overcast skies in biting wind and occasional drizzle.
That may be why Whitney Schmaljohn wasn’t pleased with her amazing day. She was shaking so much she burned her hand when hot chocolate slopped out of the cup.
“It was all right, I guess,” the Central Valley junior said of her three-sprint win afternoon. “I could do better.”
After realizing she ran area best times in the 100 (12.2 seconds), 200 (26.4) and 400 meters (59.4) and ran leadoff for a 400 relay team that set a season best (50.69) despite finishing second, Schmaljohn changed her tune.
“It was pretty good,” she said. “I’m already up to where I was at the end of last track season. I’m doing better. The coaches say I’m where I should be.”
University, Mead and Ferris boys and girls swept their meets.
Chris Barton of Gonzaga Prep improved in two events, lowering his 110 high hurdle time to 14.9 and the 300 intermediate hurdles to 40.2.
The McCulloughs raised two distances - North Central’s Rance bumped the discus to 155-feet, 10-inches and Mead’s Chris improved his long jump to 21-10. Chris improved his area best by 4 inches, Rance by almost 6 feet.
There were some other big advances and at CV two pole vaulters, Cody Hirshi of U-Hi and Ryan Triplett of CV, cleared 14 feet.
Ricky Giampietri improved his best almost three feet in the triple jump, leaping 44-7. He edged Mike Pugh of U-Hi by 4 inches on his last jump and both moved past the previous best by more than a foot.
Jeff Hollenbach kept the shot put lead, his heave of 55-11 adding 25 inches to his personal best.
“It’s been a good week,” said the U-Hi senior headed for the Naval Academy. “Monday and Tuesday are lifting days, those were great days. Every time you throw the shot put you gain quickness. The more you throw in practice and meets, the better you’re going to be.”
Hollenbach’s best last year was 50-5 and he improved that to 51-6 at the first meet this year.
“I don’t have a set mark but I have a few goals,” he said. “My first goal was to make state but as the year goes on it might be to win state.”
Jason Fayant of Mead shaved a fraction off his 1,600 time, running 4:22.
The girls lowered all three relay times, U-Hi in the 400 (50.24), Shadle in the 800 (1:48.9) and Ferris in the 1,600 (4:10.4).
In running events, Kristen Parrish of Ferris took a huge lead in the 800 with a 2:16.8, teammate Jennifer Smith lowered her 1,600 time to 5:06.6 and Autumn Wood of Mead lowered her 300 hurdles to 45.8.
In field events, U-Hi’s Syd Perno went 39-6-1/2, CV senior Carrie Sanders threw the javelin 120-2 and Adrienne Wilson of U-Hi triple jumped 36-4.
Sanders won the district title as a freshman but played softball last year. Her throw is the longest by a GSL athlete not named Beattie. Mead’s defending state champion Allison Beatty is out with mononucleosis.
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