PASCO – Baylee Mires has a harder time getting to the starting line than the finish line.
She’s hoping that her performance Saturday can fix that.
Mires loped to a win in the 1,600 meters and then set a meet record in the 800. That earned her the Outstanding Female Athlete of the 49th annual Pasco Invitational and the decorative clock that goes with it.
“I’m glad this has a clock in it,” Mires said. “It will be beneficial for everyone. I’m not on time for anything. I live closest to the school and I’m always late.”
That capped a day that saw area athletes win eight individual events with eight seconds and eight thirds and the Mead boys winning their 11th team title, their first since 2003.
“The cool thing is we’re having fun doing it,” Panthers coach John Mires said. “It’s a whole new group of guys, which makes me excited.”
He also had the honor of handing his surprised daughter her award.
“I’m very honored,” she said. “Sprinters usually get it because I think people get bored when they watch my races. That’s really, really cool. This is huge. I’m very impressed.”
Mead’s boys had 60 points, six more than Kent-Meridian, with North Central tied for third at 36.
The Outstanding Male Athlete was Derek Eager of Tahoma, who won the discus and upped his state record in the (restricted-flight) javelin to 229 feet, 5 inches. That also shattered the Pasco Invite record of 225-1, set by Timm Rosenbach in 1985.
Kentwood won the girls title with 56 points, 15 clear of Jesuit (Portland). Mead was sixth with 32, three shy of a trophy, despite not running its state-best 1,600 relay because one member, Jazmine Redmon, was earning MVP honors in the Washington-Oregon All-Star basketball game in Portland.
“I feel like it was time for me to put my name in that book,” Mires said. “Every book, the Pasco book, the state book. I want people to see my name. … I want to be one of the greats.”
She usually runs more for medals, with team results the emphasis, but this was an exception.
“That’s how I’ve done it the last two years, I’ve really focused on place, just beating girls,” she said. “But if I run the times I want to run I’ll be able to beat those girls without thinking about winning.”
She blitzed the 800 from the start, finishing in 2:11.98, 5 seconds ahead of second.
That came after she held off NC freshman Katie Knight by a half-second in the 1,600, winning in 5:01.38, the second-fastest time in the state.
Teammate Tasha Clark cleared 12-3 in the pole vault, the second time in a week she has upped her school record by an inch.
“I feel things are starting to click for me technically,” Clark said. “I think I actually have a shot at the state record this year. It’s only halfway through the season. By state time I’ll be even better.”
The state record is 12-10; her goal is 13 feet.
Alexa Lindseth of Ferris broke away from a bunched field and won the discus with a personal record of 132-8 on her last throw.
“That seems to happen, I’m not sure why,” she said of her late heroics. “That’s when I throw my best, when I have people close to me.”
Shadle Park freshman Kendra Weitz led from the start in the winning the 3,200 that saw juniors and seniors take the other seven places.
“I know what I can do,” she said. “I know what everyone else can do. I just know if I do my best I’ll be fine.”
She finished her first 3,200 of the season in 10:48.25, lowering the state best by 12 seconds.
“My coach had me for a 10:40. That’s what I was trying to do, but I wasn’t expecting that. I was expecting maybe under 11. I’m really happy,” she said. “I think that’s my strength, more distance.”
With North Central’s recent dominance of distance running it was somewhat surprising to hear the Indians’ Ben Johnston, as he gulped air, talk about his win in the 3,200.
He was antsy waiting for his official time because the stadium scoreboard showed a couple of clicks above 9. The official result wasn’t close, 8:58.89, a 10-second win and the school record by 6 seconds.
“No one in our program has ever broken 9,” he said. “This is a big milestone for the program. Coach wanted me fresh so I could have the best chance of breaking it.”
He stayed in Spokane on Friday night and skipped the morning distance medley relay to concentrate on one race.
Will Lohman improved his best in the shot put by almost 3 feet, winning by just less than 3 feet at 61-3.
“This is one of the big meets I wanted to throw over 60 in, this and Mooberry,” the Chewelah senior said. “I didn’t perform very well in Mooberry so I knew I had to step it up for Pasco.”
He has already set his new goal.
“I still have more in me,” he said. “I threw 59-11¾ on a line drive. I get it up in the air and we’re pushing 65. It’s exciting. Just a little more to work on.”
As expected, Mead got a win in the high jump, but it wasn’t 7-footer A.J. Maricich. Jeremy Beck stole the show because he cleared 6-6 on his first attempt, Maricich on his second.
Beck then went out on 6-8, which is his best, while Maricich passed up to 7-1.
“One-two, that’s how we always do it,” Beck said. “First doesn’t matter to me really. … I want to get around 7 feet by the end of the year. … he wants 7-4.”
“We’re preparing for state,” Maricich said. “I like to look at the higher heights. We want to go one and two there, also. I’m feeling the 7-1 right now. I want to get that 7-1 mark and build off of that.”