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Wildcats end Panthers’ dual-meet win streak

Sam Johnson of Mead clears the last obstacle en route to a victory in the 110-meter hurdles. (Colin Mulvany)
Sam Johnson of Mead clears the last obstacle en route to a victory in the 110-meter hurdles. (Colin Mulvany)

Is there such a thing as a comeback in track?

One happened Thursday afternoon as the Mt. Spokane boys took over first place in the Greater Spokane League and, in so doing, snapped Mead’s 66-dual-meet winning streak dating back to 2007.

The Wildcats swept the 3,200 meters to pull within striking distance, setting up a winner-take-all race in the 1,600 relay.

Roy Hyatt, who had been denied a victory in a photo finish in the 200 earlier, anchored the relay, holding off Mead’s Garret Norris as the Wildcats ran a season-best time by 6 seconds giving his team a 74-71 victory.

It was sweet redemption for Hyatt, who thought he had won the 200 only to find out that Mead’s Sam Brown outleaned him at the tape. Brown’s win was confirmed by the automatic-timing camera at the finish line. Brown’s time was 23.03 seconds, two hundredths ahead of Hyatt.

“I was so inspired,” Hyatt said. “We stopped their streak. All that matters is we got them in the (1,600 relay).”

Hyatt teamed with Jacob Krantz, David Hipes and Cam Goodwin to finish in a time of 3:25.46. Mead’s time of 3:26.33 also was a season best by nearly 3 seconds.

“This is huge. I don’t know what to tell you,” an emotional Mt. Spokane coach and Mead graduate Pat Kostecka said. “When people buy in and believe it’s something special. Our coaches are amazing and these kids are amazing.”

Mead’s current streak dated to 2007. Kostecka’s brother, Joe, was Mt. Spokane’s coach in 1999 when the Wildcats ended a 157-dual-meet winning streak by the Panthers.

Another Mead streak is in jeopardy. Mt. Spokane moved to 6-0 and with a win next week at Central Valley would stop Mead’s consecutive league titles streak at six.

Mead coach John Mires expressed no disappointment.

“To have a throwdown in our backyard and to have a phenomenal (in-district) battle to be that close, you couldn’t ask for more,” Mires said. “It couldn’t have happened to a better group of guys. Might as well keep the love in our district. It was a perfect epic dual meet.”

The team’s strengths were evident. Mead (6-1) swept the 110 and 300 hurdles and Mt. Spokane, led by John Dressel, outscored the Panthers 25-2 in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200.

Dressel won the 3,200 (9:51.73) and was second to teammate Jacob Vandenberg in the 800 and 1,600.

Mead’s Sam Johnson won the 110 hurdles in 14.98 seconds and the Panthers’ Bryan Anderson took first in the 300 (40.26).

The Panthers got an unexpected victory out of injury-plagued Josh Richter in the javelin. He threw 190-7 – a personal best by more than five feet.

Richter missed last season when he suffered a broken elbow at the end of the basketball season. Then while warming up for Mead’s first dual, he threw his back out.

He was ordered to rest for two weeks. He tested his back last week in a junior varsity dual. Thursday was his first varsity dual in about a year and a half.

“I knew it was there,” Richter said of the big throw. “I just went for it. I’ve been working hard in practice and it paid off.”

Hyatt also anchored the winning 400 relay as he combined with Krantz, Dakota Hipes and Zach Vogel. The Wildcats and Panthers were each credited with times of 43.74 as Hyatt held off Johnson at the finish.

“They had a faster time than us coming into the meet,” Hyatt said. “We were the underdog.”

Hyatt said the Wildcats are looking forward to the final meet at CV.

“We’ll have a hard workout Monday like always, medium workout on Tuesday, handoffs (for relays) on Wednesday and then take care of business on Thursday,” he said. “No one can stop us in the GSL.”