RICHLAND – If the Mead 400-meter relay quartet had a most valuable athlete at the district meet last week, it was senior Tymen Grant.
Grant, stretching to make a baton exchange halfway through the race, fell face first on the track, and her face took the worst of the blow. She suffered a cut on her forehead and multiple scratches, but the worst of it was a concussion.
She bounced back during the first of two days of state qualifying Friday at the 4A Eastern Regional as the Panthers won at Fran Rish Stadium.
Grant, Kelsey Mix, Kylie Drynan and Malia Maack took more than a second off their season best, finishing in 48.87 seconds.
“She dove (at district) to get me the baton,” a grateful Drynan said.
“If she hadn’t done that we might not have gotten to regionals,” Maack added.
The girls have run the relay all season, gradually improving. They knocked off Moses Lake, which was seeded first.
“Thank God the doctor cleared her,” Mix said. “We couldn’t have done it without Tymen’s leg.”
Central Valley’s Mariah Cunningham won the long jump, extending her personal best by more than five inches (17-4 3/4).
The winning jump came on her second attempt. While she was pleased with the win, she knows her form could be much better.
“I need to get my legs up more and finish the jump,” Cunningham said. “It seemed like things really came together for the first time this year on my second jump. My goal was to get to state.”
It’s likely that Cunningham will have to put together another personal best to place high at state.
“Who knows, if I can finish another jump I might be able to do it,” she said.
Cunningham also qualified for state in the high jump, placing second (5-4).
Courtney Hutchinson of Mead had no problem winning the shot put (44-10). Teammate Meaghan Nelson took second (36-8 1/4).
The top three in each event in 4A and 3A qualify for state, which is next Thursday through Saturday at Mount Tahoma High School in Tacoma.
3A: North Central long-distance standout Katie Knight lapped the field again in the 3,200.
Knight finished in 10:44.10, 34 seconds ahead of Stephanie Rexus of Kamiakin.
Before the race was 200 meters old Knight had already pulled well ahead of the field. Halfway through she was ahead by 95 meters.
Tanish Whitsett of University won the shot with a throw of 39-7 1/4.