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Unland unleashes another winner

Ferris junior edges LC’s Syrotchen

TACOMA – Imagine the mathematical odds.

Three throws of 170 feet, 2 inches in the State 4A discus – two by junior Damon Unland of Ferris and one by Lewis and Clark senior Josh Syrotchen.

By the time Unland stepped in the ring for his final throw Friday, he had the state title wrapped up based on the tiebreaking criteria. His second-best throw at that point, 170-2, was better than Syrotchen’s next-best toss.

For good measure, though, Unland unleashed a throw of 174-3 to defend his state title in pleasant conditions in the second day of Star Track XXX at the 4A/3A/2A meets at Mt. Tahoma High School.

“We were competing back and forth,” Unland said. “I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out, but I had a good feeling I was going to win it again.”

Syrotchen had the state’s top throw (185-10) most of the season. Unland was having a so-so year until he uncorked a season best by nearly 20 feet (181-2) to win at regionals.

“I definitely had some doubts for a while,” Unland said of the regular season. “I knew it was going to start clicking some time.”

The 6-foot-1, 230-pound Unland, who will be a starter at middle linebacker and tight end in football this fall, picked up his title medal and took off for Lincoln Park to practice the hammer throw. The state meet, not sanctioned by the WIAA, is Sunday at Centralia.

Unland hopes to threepeat in the discus next year and take the title in the shot put, too.

Courtney Hutchinson of Mead had just wrapped up her second State 4A shot put title in three years when her youngest sisters came up to congratulate her.

“Where’s the 49-(footer)?” Hutchinson’s youngest sister, Emily, a second-grader, asked.

“They’re kind of brats,” Courtney said. “I’m just happy I won.”

Jordynn, a third-grader, was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt with ‘Little Hutch’ written on the back. Emily’s sweatshirt said ‘Littlest Hutch.’

Hutchinson won with a throw of 44-83/4 inches – well short of her season goal of 50.

Fifty will have to wait until next year. Hutchinson was tickled to return to the top of the awards podium after winning as a freshman and finishing runner-up last year.

What pleased Hutchinson was her consistency Friday.

“I was ready to hit a big one, so I was kind of disappointed that I didn’t,” she said. “I know I have one in me.”

Hutchinson’s summer plans include continuing to train and attempting to qualify for the national Junior Olympic championships, which will be held in late July in Baltimore.

Colleges will also be contacting Hutchinson. The Naval Academy, Stanford and the University of Washington are the three that have been in regular communication.

Hutchinson also wants to improve her personal-best 115-9 in the discus. “I’d like to break my oldest sister’s (Corissa) school record next year,” Courtney said. “It’s 147. It’s a huge goal.”

Pullman freshman Lauren McCluskey came within .14 seconds of capturing two State 2A titles.

After winning the high jump, equaling her season best of 5-4, McCluskey finished second in the 100 hurdles (15.68).

“I was happy with the race, but I thought I’d do better,” McCluskey said. “It was a little disappointing.”

In the high jump, McCluskey made 5-4 on her second attempt and took three tries at 5-5.