PASCO – From the start of the 48th annual Pasco Invite, when North Central erased an impressive record in the distance medley, it seemed Greater Spokane League athletes were determined to take advantage of a beautiful Saturday to reach new heights.
Pole vaulters carried the Spokane banner at Edgar Brown Stadium.
“I have my toughest competition here, I had to have my game face on,” Mead junior Tasha Clark said becoming the second Spokane girl to clear 12 feet. “I was prepared mentally and physically – and the weather is nice, not like it’s been in Spokane.”
Clark, who cleared 11-9 last year and 11-6 this year, tied the meet record to join Mt. Spokane’s Jordan Roskelley as a 12-footer.
On the boys’ side, Central Valley’s Kyle Brown won a duel with Mead’s Keith Webber, both clearing 15-6 after entering with bests of 15 feet.
“Ever since I came and watched (a teammate) last year I wanted to come back and win,” Brown said. “At first it felt like any other meet but as the competition moved forward I felt loose, ready to go. I just told myself I could get it.”
Mead came up just short in the boys team race – an acceptable result with javelin thrower Justin Graff resting a sore back. The Panthers scored 571/2 points to 62 for Kentwood, which iced it by edging Mead in the 1,600 relay. NC ended up third with 44. Andrey Luvkiv of Hazen was the Athlete of the Meet after winning the shot put (62-2) and discus (161-5).
Jesuit out of Portland edged runner-up Southridge 561/2-52 on the girls’ side. Mead (30) was fifth, one point short of a trophy. Kayla Stueckle of Emerald Ridge (Puyallup), the winner of both hurdles in state best times (14.60, 43.41) to go with a win in the long jump (17-9), was the Athlete of the Meet.
NC’s distance medley team of Leon Dean (1,200 meters), Spencer Wordell (400), J.T. Mellgren (800) and Andrew Kimple (1,600) ran 10 minutes, 18.18 seconds, almost 3 seconds faster than Auburn Riverside’s record set in 2003.
“I was looking to run 3:07 for the 1,200,” Dean said. “The first lap was so slow I was forced to lead the whole way. I was able to bring it back.”
Kimple had a little work to do.
“The first lap was 61 seconds, I was pretty excited and got a little jumpy,” he said. “(Coaches) said to calm down, we could still get the record. I cruised laps two and three and the last lap was 62.”
Mead got a win in the high jump, with A.J. Maricich clearing 6-8 and coming up just short of 7 feet.
“I had one good attempt, I’m happy with that,” he said. “I just wished I could have gotten it today. I come close every meet. I’m happy I’m getting consistent. I really liked getting the points for the team.”
Teammate Jordan Curnutt was a solid second in the 800 (1:53.63) but never really challenged the big early advantage of state leader Kenny Krotzer of Auburn Riverside.
“I hadn’t really gone all out yet this year,” Curnutt said after a season-best time of 1:54.49. “Mainly I just wanted to win. I was going for the points. I learned I’ve got to go out faster. I can’t let him get so far ahead. I have confidence in my kick.”
Webber was the other second for the Panthers.
He was in the lead when he got over 15 and 15-3 on his first attempt while it took Brown two attempts. However, Brown got 15-6 on his first try while Webber needed three.
“I’m disappointed I didn’t win,” Webber said. “I always want to win. I feel good for Kyle, he jumped great. I always like to PR, it’s a good feeling, but I’m still disappointed.”
NC’s distance runners were solid. Kimple (4:18.55) and Dean (4:19.22) ran season bests to finish third and fourth in the 1,600. Ben Johnson (9:16.07) and Jeff Howard (9:20.57) were second and fifth in the 3,200.
Spokane had two champions with Clark, one expected, one a surprise.
Gonzaga Prep lowered its state-leading 1,600 relay time to 4:03.72. CV’s Shannon Johnson improved almost 12 feet to win the javelin with a throw of 135-7.
“I expected to make finals, I didn’t expect to win,” Johnson said. “I like to think positive, what happens happens. It felt good. My goal for the season was 130. I wanted to win Pasco, to win it as a junior is a big thing. I’m thinking 140 now, actually 142 for the school record.”
The G-Prep quartet of Caitlin Padon, Megan Lindsay, Kjirsten Magnuson and Alicia Doohan was giddy after the win.
“It’s exciting,” Padon said. “The hard work paid off.”
The Bullpups are gunning for the school record of 3:58.46.
There were a few significant seconds.
Ferris junior Kelsey Lin went 12.38 in the 100, a PR for electronic timing. She was fourth in the 200 (25.45) and anchored the fifth-place 400 relay (50.23).
“Five races, it’s a long day,” she said, tired but pleased, especially with the 100. “When I was a freshman and sophomore I didn’t even make the finals. I ran like 13s, I just choked. I don’t know why. To place well in the finals is great.”
University’s Maddy Fuchs was second in the 300 hurdles (45.57), but was even more pleased with fourth in the 100 hurdles.
“I ran 15.75, good for the time of year,” she said. “Last year I didn’t make finals. I’m pretty happy (with the 300s).
The biggest smile for a runner-up was Mead’s Baylee Mires.
“I haven’t run a hard race until now,” she said after her 4:58.55 left her a couple of strides behind state leader Becca Friday of Bellingham in a bid to defend her 1,600 title. “I’m glad to know I can get this, I just wish she wouldn’t have beat me, it would have made it better. Oh well, win some, lose some.”