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GSL pole vaulters scaling school-record heights

When Kyle Brown joined Central Valley track and field as a freshman, he was a distance runner.

Intrigued by the pole vault, four years later he’s the Bears’ school record holder.

He has, in fact, broken the record twice this year, the latest by clearing 15 feet, 6 inches to win last weekend’s Pasco Invitational. Remarkably, the record is nearly 11/2 feet higher than his personal best entering the season.

“Kyle was close to being great last year,” said CV vault coach Dennis McGuire.

“What kept him from it was an injury in his leg.”

Brown said he had a congenitally split knee cap that he further injured as a sophomore, falling on concrete. It flared up both his sophomore season, when he cleared 12-6, and last year.

Surgery has normalized the knee cap and his work in the CV gymnastics room and attending vaulting clinics has put him in company with Mead’s Keith Webber returning the GSL to the state’s pole vault forefront.

“(CV gymnastics coach) Kim Brunelle taught me several different drills and exercises to do,” Brown said, “and I looked some up on the Internet. It builds strength and the air sense you need to pole vault.”

He said when he arrived at CV, even though he was a distance runner, he tried pole vaulting and liked it better.

“It looked really fun, and even then it was not scary,” Brown said. “I was always fairly comfortable because I did back flips on a trampoline at home. Being on top of a pole was a different feeling, but I got used to it.”

Last weekend, Brown and Webber – who was third in state last year at 14-7 – tied in Pasco for the fifth highest vault mark in GSL history. Webber, an inch away from Mead’s school record, told The Spokesman-Review’s Dave Trimmer, “My goal is 16-6. I know I can go over 16 for sure. I did it in practice.”

Brown, who plans to walk on at Brigham Young University next year, wants to follow suit.

“He got the school record at the Mooberry Relays,” said McGuire. “Now he’s setting it every time he jumps.”

All told, 13 state-best marks were turned in during the Pasco meet.

Tough out

A back injury had sidelined Central Valley baseball veteran JT Beach for half the season, much to coach Barry Poffenroth’s consternation, but the Bears stayed at the top of the GSL. Beach’s return Friday came at the right time. A 1-0 shutout of Ferris in his pitching debut improved CV’s record to 11-2 with a game at Ferris tonight. The final six games of the season, following a bye week, include Mead, North Central and Mt. Spokane.

University (10-1), the Bears and Mead (9-2) continue to set the pace.

•Rogers may be winless in the Greater Spokane League, but Jacob Partridge had proved a tough out early. In the first baseball statistics release, Partridge was 13 for 15, an .867 batting average. Through last week, Jake Schrader of third-place Mead is 19 for 37 for a .514 batting average with five triples. Panthers teammates Grant Fink and Seth Peterson have driven in 37 runs between them.

•Cheney has won seven straight games to lead the Great Northern League and Drew Ableman has averaged two hits per game. Rick Hueschkel and Cameron Lowe are each 3-0 and the Blackhawks have produced offensively throughout the order.

•There hasn’t been much rest, but lots of success for Lakeside baseball, which played five games between April 14 and 18, two of them doubleheaders. The Eagles won all five and improved to 9-0 in the Northeast A League. Colfax remains unbeaten in Bi-County 2B.

Getting offensive

As expected, offense has taken an uncharacteristically prominent role in GSL softball, particularly atop the league.

Central Valley and University each scored 10 runs last week to defeat defending champion Shadle Park. The Titans (10-1) have a game lead over the Bears and Mead (both 9-2) with the Highlanders two games further back in fourth, just ahead of Mt. Spokane and East Valley.

•Colville (10-1, 6-0) continues atop the GNL. Alison Holst pitched her second no-hitter and hit a grand slam last weekend. The Indians’ loss was a 9-5 setback in a double-header split with Columbia Basin Big Nine 4A team Wenatchee.

Speaking of the CBBN, nothing’s cut and dried. Kamiakin (7-5 overall) and Walla Walla (10-1) are unbeaten in the Cascade Division. The Blue Devils have allowed but 19 runs. Four teams have one loss in Columbia Division games, Southridge (8-4 overall, 26 runs allowed), Moses Lake (7-5), Kennewick (7-2, 18 runs allowed) and Pasco (5-5).

Dearth of scoring

When Ferris coach Robin Crain lamented the lack of scoring by his soccer team last week, he could have been speaking about the league as a whole. It seems as though, when compiling statistics, fewer goals have been scored this year.

One explanation could be that so many of the league’s best players, many headed to play in college, are premier players. Many, like East Valley’s Andrew Matronardi, are teammates on the River City team. Not only do they know each other’s tendencies, but the talent is spread among several teams creating even matches.

“I’m with them the whole season and see them every day,” said midfielder Mastronardi. “It’s sort of a rivalry, but we’re friends and there are no bad feelings.”

Two weeks of play remain with Lewis and Clark (7-0) still unbeaten atop the league, followed closely by Mead (6-1) and, in order, CV (5-1), Ferris, North Central and University (all tied at 4-2).

The Indians play the Knights at 4 p.m. Wednesday for 3A top seeding, followed by the Saxons-Titans’ tiebreaker, both at Albi Stadium.

Associated Press