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Not a breeze

Area teams struggle through high, cold win

Cold and wind aren’t good for track and field, and Thursday Mother Nature went a bit too far.

The Greater Spokane League meet season opened, but when those openers end is another matter. The pole vault and high jump competitions were postponed because of the high – and biting – wind.

Times and distances became irrelevant. Well, most of them.

One result worth noting was a throw of 41 feet, 3½ inches in the shot put by Mead freshman Courtney Hutchinson. It’s a personal record by a little more than 3 feet and less than 7 inches from the state best in this young season.

“I’ve been sick this past week and I’ve been really nervous about it,” Hutchinson said of her GSL debut. “I wasn’t going to practice so I was just trying to get after it today.”

Get after it is what all the Panthers did, blowing past host Central Valley 84-57 in what was expected to be a toss-up competition between league favorites. Although each school has a pair of good vaulters, including two of the league’s best, their contribution won’t change anything whenever they get to compete either today or Monday.

And nothing can overshadow what Hutchinson accomplished this early in her career, although it’s not really a surprise. She’s broken records at all levels, most previously held by one of her older sisters.

Corissa won a state title for Mead in 2002, with a winning throw of 42-9¾. Ashley won in 2007 at 43-8. Both served as inspirations for a little sister who followed them around.

“I’ve been there for all their throws, bad meets and good meets, so I know what to expect and how to deal with it,” Hutchinson said. “I know after a bad meet I have to push myself to do better.”

She has big goals, although she was just hoping to break the 40-foot barrier and help the team in her first big meet.

“My coach (Dori Robertson) told me they had a good thrower and to make sure I got after it because we needed those points,” she said. “My coach at practice (Bill Berg) told me where I had to hit or I wouldn’t be done.”

Hutchinson’s goals are to break Corissa’s freshman record of just beyond 43-feet, then Ashley’s school record, which is 43-8. Maybe breaking isn’t the right word because she would like to surpass 48 feet, which not only would be the best by a Spokane thrower, but would put her among the half-dozen best in state history.

“Just seeing them compete showed me what I need to do,” she said. “That gave me a lot of experience.”

Hutchinson’s experienced teammates had big days with Alexa Banaugh (200, 400), Baylee Mires (800, 1,600) and Jazmine Redmon (100, long jump) posting double wins.

A couple of standout performances highlighted Mead’s 97-39 boys win over the Bears. Sam Wright had a big double in the shot put (54-0, fourth in state) and discus (141-10); A.J. Maricich took the high jump (6-8) and long jump (20-9); and sophomore Wes Bailey won the 100 and 200.

•In other GSL meets, North Central’s boys and girls wrapped up sweeps against host East Valley and University despite no vaulting and the boys also postponing the high jump. The Indians dominated on the track but spread the winning around among the boys. The only double winner was Ed Richardson in the horizontal jumps. Luke Evans won the javelin with a throw of 178-0, good for a top-10 in the state. Among girls, NC’s Katie Knight won the 800 and 1,600 and Ashley Graybeal cleared 5-2 in the high jump.

At Lewis and Clark’s Hart Field, the host Tigers dropped heart-breakers to rival Ferris. The boys trail by 10 and the girls 11, without the pole vault, which has nine potential points. Sprinters did a lot of the damage for Ferris, with Kelsey Lin and Brenden Olson both doubling in the 100 and 200. The girls also got a shot put-discus double from Alexa Lindseth. Levi Taylor had two big marks for the LC boys, 46-5 in the triple jump, which would be second in the state if not wind-aided, and 198-10 in the javelin, which is No. 4 in the state.

At Gonzaga Prep, where both the high jump and pole vaults weren’t contested, Mt. Spokane holds a 10-point lead over the Bullpups girls. For boys, Mt. Spokane has locked up wins over G-Prep and Shadle Park. Mt. Spokane’s boys won 13 of 15 events, but the only double winner was Allan Schroeder in the 800 and 1,600. G-Prep’s Jazmine Brown won the girls 200 and triple jump and Shadle Park’s Sayle Dezellem swept the hurdles.