No fewer than 30 former Washington high school champions will be on the track today when Washington State hosts the University of Washington in their annual dual meet. Another eight on the two rosters will sit it out for one reason or another.
So it’s not surprising when the in-state recruiting tug of war between the two schools gets a little chummy, or contentious – or just a little mixed up.
For instance, Cougars high jumper Trent Arrivey’s mother officiates that event at meets at Husky Stadium. Huskies Jeremy Taiwo and Zack Midles are the sons of prominent WSU All-Americans.
And then there’s javelin thrower Joe Zimmerman, who said yes to both schools.
The State 4A champion from Lewis and Clark High School made a commitment to throws coach Debra Farwell last winter to attend WSU, only to turn around and sign with the Washington a few days later.
“It was head to head between UW and WSU the whole time,” he said. “After my verbal, then UW came back at me and, well, I just changed my mind. Debra’s such a nice lady, I didn’t want to disappoint her. It was a hard thing to do.”
Hard on the Cougars, too, who are struggling a bit in that area. No WSU thrower has topped 200 feet this spring for the first time in at least 55 years, though both Kyle Stevens and Mark Presby have lifetime bests in that range. Zimmerman, meanwhile, has taken his 208-4 high school best up to 228-1 at the Oregon Pepsi Invitational a few weeks back.
“It’s not quite as far as I’d hoped – I’ve been over 70 meters (230 feet) in practice and I’m hoping to get one of those off pretty soon,” he said. “But if you’d told me I’d throw this far when I first got here, I’d be surprised. Twenty feet in a season is a pretty good jump.”
For someone whose specialty is stringing out seven events over two days, what Caitlin McGrane tried at last weekend’s Northwest Conference championships was more like cramming for finals.
The University of Puget Sound senior from Colville took on an exhausting triple – running the 100-meter hurdles, the 400 and 800 in a span of 35 minutes, and finishing no worse than third in any of them.
“The nice thing is,” she said, “you only have to warm up once.”
By comparison, McGrane was able to relax and enjoy herself 10 days earlier when she won the NWC heptathlon with what until last weekend was the best score in all of NCAA Division III, 4,509 points.
“It was such a great two days and I love the women in the conference heptathlon,” she said. “They’re so much fun. That’s what I really love about the hep. You spend two days with everybody and you get to know them and you’re cheering for each other.”
McGrane is hoping to improve on finishes of 10th and ninth the last two years at nationals – “and make my school record harder to break” – before heading off to law school, either at Gonzaga or Oregon. One older sister, Alison, went to GU law school after competing at UC San Diego. The other, Shannon, is in dental school in Arizona after being a national runner-up in the 400 hurdles for Willamette.
“We’re the people in the TV commercial who go pro in something other than sports,” McGrane said, laughing.
While the Cougars and Huskies go at it, the Duane Hartman Invitational will have its annual running at Spokane Falls. … Think the Sasquatch have a decent chance of winning the women’s 4x400 relay at the NWAACC meet? They have the conference’s four fastest 400 runners, topped by Chelsea Lawhead at 58.29 seconds. … Two of Idaho’s three 17-foot pole vaulters, Lucas Pope and Mike Carpenter, are redshirting this season.