Central Valley girls track coach Geoff Arte lost a bet Thursday, and he’s more than happy to pay up.
Bears sprinter/hurdler Rachel Backsen asked Arte if he’d run in the coaches’ 400-meter relay at the Mooberry Relays on Saturday if Central Valley beat undefeated Lewis and Clark.
Despite being short-handed, CV bounced back after losing at Mt. Spokane last week to stop the visiting Tigers 84.5-65.5 in a Greater Spokane League dual.
LC (4-1) won 10 of 18 events and tied in another, but it was depth that put CV (3-1), the defending GSL champ, over the top.
The Tigers could have all but locked up the league championship, especially after beating Mt. Spokane two weeks ago. Now LC, CV and Mt. Spokane (5-1) are tied in the loss column and, barring an upset, that’s the way things should end up.
CV rebounded without two top point producers – junior Mariah Cunningham and sophomore Maddie Hovren, who flew to Phoenix on Thursday for an AAU basketball tournament.
Bears freshman Briegan Bester was a double winner, taking the 800 meters (2 minutes, 21.60 seconds) and 1,600 (5:21.28).
Bester, who had never run competitively until seven weeks ago, did her first 800 Thursday, and the impressive time shot her to the top among 4A runners in the GSL. She has the league’s overall best 1,600 (5:17.11).
“We didn’t know she was going to turn out,” Arte said. “We knew from her P.E. (physical education) class that she ran 5:50 in the mile. So we knew that with some training she’d be good.”
Bester, who usually plays soccer in the fall, says she’ll drop the sport to run cross country.
“She could be scary good in cross country,” Arte said. “She’s so mentally tough.”
Bester didn’t know what to expect when she turned out for track.
“I hadn’t run anything before track,” Bester said. “I didn’t have any running experience so I didn’t know what I was capable of doing.”
Arte knew his team would bounce back after losing to Mt. Spokane. He just didn’t know if they could beat LC without Cunningham and Hovren.
“Our back-end kids had to slide up a spot,” Arte said. “They were amazing. Many kids stepped up. We took care of business this week. No disrespect to Mt. Spokane but we left some points on the track last week. It really stung and the girls were really motivated.”
Hannah Hudson led LC with wins in the three jumps and Olivia Ellis captured the 100 and 200. LC also won the 400 and 1,600 relays and finished in a dead heat with CV in the 800 relay.
LC coach Stephanie Splater said her young team will chalk the loss up to a learning lesson.
“I think it’s experience at being champs,” Splater said. “We’re almost there. It’s great for the girls because they’ve gotten a taste for winning. It will carry us the rest of the season.”