GSL track stars shine at district meet
For the Greater Spokane League boys and girls track champions, the District 8 4A meet went better than scripted.
Although no team trophies are awarded, Mead’s boys and Central Valley’s girls started their second seasons Friday evening by picking up where they left off in league. The Panthers, behind four-event champion Wes Bailey, piled up 194 points, 57.5 ahead of runner-up Ferris. The CV girls, behind three-event winner Savannah Hoekstra, finished with 177.5, 13 better than Mead.
In 3A, University’s boys were a runaway winner (197.5) and the Mt. Spokane girls (207) finished 13 ahead of Shadle Park.
The top eight finishers in the individual events and top four placers in the relays in 4A advance to regionals, next weekend at Fran Risch Stadium in Richland.
The top four finishers in individual events and top two relays in 3A move on.
District 8 4A: The starting time Friday was pushed back because several athletes had conflicts with advance placement testing, giving it a twilight feel just two hours into the action.
The beautiful skies gave way to crisp evening temperatures, and a four-bulb portable light stand was needed to illuminate the finish line.
Bailey didn’t run at the speed of light, but he didn’t need much as he cruised to the tape in his final event late Friday, the 200 meters. He won in 21.68 seconds, .24 shy of his season best.
“I felt like a bug running toward the finish line,” said Bailey, noting the portable lighting was blinding.
Earlier, Bailey timed 10.94 in the 100 and 48.73 in the 400.
“Last week we (his family) moved and I was drained,” Bailey said. “This week I was feeling healthy and strong and ready to accept the triple-crown challenge. I felt like I could have gone lower in all three of the sprints. I’d love to say it’s because I’m not being pushed, but I could have pushed myself better.”
Bailey shared the Track Athlete of the Meet honor with Shadle Park’s Nathan Weitz.
Lewis and Clark’s Josh Syrotchen was named Field Athlete of the Meet.
Mead qualified athletes to regionals in all events except the 1,600 relay. The Panthers scratched their foursome because they ran out of bodies.
“We had a pretty complete district meet,” Mead coach John Mires said. “We’re taking about 30 to regionals. The dream would be to get at least half on to state. But that will be a pretty hefty task.”
Mead’s Daniel Schofield and Andrew Gardner won the 800 (1:56.58) and 1,600 (4:13.93), respectively.
For CV, Hoekstra won the 100 (12.68) and 200 (26.34) and ran on the winning 800 relay (1:46.61). The Bears also won the 1,600 relay (4:07.42).
“I’m just having a good time,” CV coach Dennis McGuire said. “Everything that could have gone right did go right. And we had some surprises. This team is just awesome.”
Lewis and Clark freshman Dannie Baird was a double winner, taking the 800 (2:23.80) and the 1,600 (5:19.08).
Carson Fuller of Ferris cracked the 200-foot mark in the javelin, extending his personal best by more than 5 feet with a throw of 203-10.
District 8 3A: Weitz always seems to make his races dramatic.
And after coming close to breaking the school record in the 3,200 on Thursday, he used a late kick in the 1,600 to overcome a 10-meter lead by North Central’s Keith Williams in the final 50 meters.
Weitz (4:13.04) outleaned Williams (4:13.09) at the finish line.
“I was sort of like debating whether to kick in an extra gear,” said Weitz, who has signed with Northern Arizona University.
“My coach wanted me to go out slow and be comfortable. But I had to see what I had. Your natural instincts and competitive drive take over. I’ll have to find that extra gear for state so I thought I might as well try. I had more (fuel) left than I thought. I purposely went out slow.”
NC junior Katie Knight, who broke the 3,200 district record on Thursday, broke her own district record in the 1,600 (4:56.42) Friday.
Knight also anchored the winning 1,600 relay (4:06.77). She was named the female Track Athlete of the Meet, and Mead’s Courtney Hutchinson was named the Field Athlete of the Meet.
In a tightly contested 800 in the boys, U-Hi’s Matt Fry held off NC’s Williams. Fry finished in 1:55.45, .14 ahead of Williams.
There were several multiple winners.
Shadle Park’s Drew Before was a double winner, taking the 100 (11.20) and 200 (22.93).
U-Hi’s Eddie Gonzalez won the high jump with a leap of 6-6 and teammate Zach Bruce took the triple jump (43-1¼).
In the girls, Mt. Spokane’s Ashlee Pedersen and Shadle’s Tiara Pajimola were two-event winners Friday.
Pedersen took the 100 (12.78) and 400 (59.31) while Pajimola won both hurdle races – the 100 in 15.62 and the 300 in 46.25.
Courtney Bray of Mt. Spokane set a district record in the pole vault (11-6).
District 7 2A: Deer Park’s Dan Amann won two events and the Stags claimed victories in two relays en route to a championship at West Valley.
Amann finished the 1,600 in 4:21.95 and the 3,200 in 9:40.26.
Cheney was second and Pullman and East Valley tied for third.
Pullman’s Roger Benegar won the long jump (20-¾) and tied for first in the high jump (5-10).
The Blackhawks won the girls title by a wide margin. East Valley was second, followed by Pullman, Deer Park and Clarkston.
Sanne Holland led Cheney with wins in the 1,600 (5:16.09) and 3,200 (11:46.02).