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CCS vaulter Powell exceeds 16 feet in win

Considering how Jaymes Powell’s season started – with a stress fracture, a six-week layoff and then a no-height in his first outdoor meet – even he might have been reluctant to predict a happy ending.

But last weekend in practice, the Community Colleges of Spokane pole vaulter cleared 16 feet for the first time in his life, and followed that by doing it twice on Thursday to become the school’s first champion in the event in 21 years at the NWAACC track and field championships at Spokane Falls Community College.

Powell won a tense jumpoff with Mt. Hood’s Jordan Trump to help the Sasquatch men, gunning for a fourth straight title, into a first-place tie with Highline heading into today’s final events at noon. The CCS women, meanwhile, got victories in the throwing events from Marji Bovey and Orejeona LaFever and stand second, 61/2 points behind Lane.

When Powell made it over 16 feet, 3/4 inch on his first attempt, one of the oldest of CCS’ school records fell – the 15-11 mark set by Reardan’s Ron Soliday for SFCC in 1973, back when there were separate teams on the two Spokane campuses. But Powell wasn’t done fiddling with the record yet.

“I looked it up this winter and told my coach I’d have it and he said, ‘Oh, yeah, you’ll get it no problem,’ ” said Powell, last year’s State 4A champion who had a 15-7 best coming out of Mead High School. “But then in an indoor meet at WSU, I went straight up and came straight down in the plant box and got a stress fracture in my right shin that really set me back.”

After both he and Trump topped 16-1/4, the bar was raised to 16-51/4 – and both vaulters missed all three of their attempts, necessitating the jumpoff, since both also had the same number of missed attempts. Both missed at 16-2, both made it over 15-11, moving the bar back to 16-2 – which Powell cleared.

“My parents think I have a little phobia about 16 feet,” said Powell, “but they thought once I did it, I’d PR big and I did. I plan on jumping more this summer and I’d like to get to 5 meters (16-43/4). That’s my goal for the year.”

The other two Sasquatch champions do double duty on the CCS volleyball team. Bovey, the conference leader in the shot put, won her specialty with a season-best 43-103/4 toss, but LaFever moved up from sixth on the NWAACC list with a 12-foot improvement to 140-4.

Highline’s Sitges Marshall began and ended the day with victories in the women’s 10,000 and 3,000 meters, beating CCS’ Ashley Hadway by less than two seconds in the long race. In fact, Highline athletes won six of 11 events Thursday – including a 1-2-3 sweep of the men’s long jump.

• Whitworth’s Leslie Nelson finished sixth in the women’s 10,000 meters to earn All-American status at the NCAA Division III championships in Decatur, Ill. The senior from Omak ran 37 minutes, 26.53 seconds – more than a minute off her best – in stormy conditions, 82 seconds behind the champion, Carter Hamill of Amherst.

Teammate Kristen Shields advanced to the finals of the 200 meters with a 25.07 dash in the heats, but the Pirates’ 4x100 relay team was disqualified for an illegal baton exchange.

• In the NCAA Division II meet in Walnut, Calif., CCS grad Alissa Miller of Angelo State is second and Lacrosse-Washtucna’s Danielle Ayers-Stamper of Seattle Pacific is fourth after the first day of the heptathlon. Former North Idaho College thrower Crystal Smith of Ashland was upset in the hammer, losing to Angel Burton of Cal State Bakersfield by four inches with a throw of 187-4