With schools and athletes few and far between, it’s easy to dismiss success at the B level, especially in these days of 2B and 1B classifications.
Some might say that when it comes to the smallest of the small schools, anyone with a smidgeon of talent can wrack up state gold in track and field.
And while there may be some truth to that, along comes a myth buster.
There were plenty of stars on display at the District 7/9 1B and District 7 2B state-qualifying track meets at Whitworth on Thursday afternoon, but none shone brighter than Andrea Heinen when the numbers were broken down.
The Cusick junior won the 1B shot put (34 feet, 5½ inches) and discus (127-8, breaking her meet record by 10 feet) and was second in the javelin (112-5). Just for good measure, she ran anchor for the third-place 1,600-meter relay.
Even though Heinen didn’t quite reach her season bests, her personal record in the shot put would be third in the Greater Spokane League, while she would be first in the discus and fourth in the javelin.
“I just kind of throw it,” Heinen said. “I depend on my strength because I don’t have very good form, but I’m working on it.”
Heinen took up track because of Panthers coach Franklin Pope.
“I’ve known him all my life,” she said. “He told me he thought I would be good at track. He was right.
“I don’t really like softball. It’s too much of a standing sport. With track I get to interact with people. It’s more fun, not so serious, besides when you’re actually in the ring. It makes it fun.”
Winning the state shot put title as a freshman might not seem like a huge accomplishment, since only half of the eight medal winners broke 30 feet. Heinen won with a 33-9¾, but a week earlier she sprained an ankle at the district championships, which is why she came up an inch short of making state in the discus.
She added the javelin last spring and had a sensational state meet.
She got her second gold in the shot put (35-1¼), set a meet record in the discus (118-9) and was third in the javelin (119-10).
Heinen claims she got suckered into the 1,600 this year, though teammate Sara Davis pointed out there’s nothing too shabby about a state-champion thrower running 63-second relay legs.
Heinen is a natural athlete. She’s the best basketball player at Cusick, averaging more than 20 points and 15 rebounds, according to her memory, and after taking up volleyball as a sophomore she was team MVP. She said she built her strong legs from training horses in the summer.
Heinen only started thinking about a future in throwing earlier in the day, when a Whitworth coach talked to her. Turns out it was Hall of Fame coach Gary Baskett, who knows a thing or two about Heinen’s events.
Valley Christian won the boys title with 144 points, 20 clear of Pomeroy.
Wellpinit senior Kennedy Seyler set a meet records in the triple jump (42-7¼) and 300 hurdles (42.44). Pomeroy broke the 400 relay mark (46.18).
Curlew outscored Valley Christian 117-102 for the girls title.
Jasmine Ayala of VC set a meet record in the 800 (2:34.92), anchored the record-breaking 1,600 relay (4:36.99) and won the triple jump (32-10½).
Northport sophomore Kassie Guglielmino won the three sprints with a record in the 400 (1:01.35).
Columbia’s Lindsay Loe bumped her record in the high jump 4 inches to 5-2.
Colfax junior Morgan Willson took a famous name out of the record book, winning the 3,200 in 11:13.56. That was 13 seconds faster than Kari McKay of Almira ran 24 years ago before she went on to a stellar career at Eastern Washington.
Willson, who also won the 1,600 (5:21.92), helped the Bulldogs, with the help of three relay wins, pile up 192 points to top Northwest Christian’s 115½.
NWC’s Kelsey Chase won the 100 (12.63), 200 (26.17) and 400 (1:00.51).
Behind Rueben Clark’s area-best 6-5 in the high jump to go with a win in the shot put, the NWC boys had 146 points. Reardan was second at 111.
The only record was James Coon of Lind-Ritzville/Sprague pushing his javelin mark out to 179-6.
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