The Central Valley girls track team’s depth never allowed Mt. Spokane’s speed to get out of the blocks Thursday afternoon.
The visiting Bears captured a third straight Greater Spokane League championship – this time outright – by topping the Wildcats 91-59.
For CV it wasn’t one individual standout but a handful of seniors and several sophomores and freshmen. The Bears’ seniors finish their careers 34-2 in duals – the first loss coming as freshmen by a point to Mead and the second coming last year when Mt. Spokane won by two points and the teams finished in a three-way tie for the league title with Lewis and Clark.
CV’s biggest concern was Mt. Spokane speedy senior Ashlee Pedersen, who had another spectacular day winning the 100-, 200- and 400-meter dashes and anchoring the winning 800 relay.
But their were too many Bears (9-0) prowling about for the Wildcats (8-1) to dodge.
“That senior group is unbelievable,” CV coach Geoff Arte said. “What I’m most proud of today are the kids whose names will never get into the newspaper or on our record board. It was worth it to them to fight for a point in a dual meet.”
Mt. Spokane coach Annette Helling paid homage to CV.
“They’re so tough. They’re loaded everywhere,” Helling said. “And they’re nice, polite kids. I was proud of the girls for giving it their all and competing.”
CV senior Mariah Cunningham and sophomore Briegan Bester led the way with two wins apiece. Cunningham won the high jump (5 feet, 2 inches) and long jump (16-11) and Bester won the 800 (2 minutes, 21.99 seconds) and 1,600 (5:18.05).
Arte tipped his hat to his seniors.
“This comes from them,” he said. “As talented as our sophomore and freshmen are it could even be better in years to come if they’ve been watching the seniors.”
Pedersen, who is headed to play soccer and run track at the University of Montana, had season best times in the 100 (12.73), 200 (25.56) and 400 (57.27), and she ran the anchor leg on the 800 relay that broke a league record. She teamed with Katie Nilsson, Ciara Bland and Cheyenne Konrad to finish in 1:43.19, eclipsing the record (1:44.0) set by LC in 2007.
Pederson’s 200 and 400 also broke stadium records. Maria Johnson of Mt. Spokane held the 200 mark (25.7) she set in 2002 and Baylee Mires of Mead set the 400 record (57.3) in 2011.
The Mt. Spokane boys, meanwhile, captured their first GSL championship, ending undefeated at 9-0 capped by a 79-66 win over CV.
Junior Roy Hyatt led the way with wins in the 100 (11.69) and 200 (23.14) along with anchoring the 1,600 relay (3:30.23).
“When I got here last year we talked about (winning a league title) from Day 1,” said second-year coach Pat Kostecka, who coached and taught for 24 years at Chewelah. “I told them we’d fight like heck the first year and go get a GSL title next year.”
The Wildcats were in position to clinch the title outright after knocking off perennial league power Mead 76-69 last week, snapping the Panthers’ 66-dual winning streak.
Kostecka was particularly proud of the win from Kees von Michalofski in the 3,200 (9:47.33).