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Latest from The Spokesman-Review

Saturday’s highlights

Volunteer Shannon Braithwait, left, puts out clothing at the Council Closet, a clothes bank at Barker High, on Wednesday. Students and their families can choose clothes from the donated items when the closet is open. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

I abandoned the blog for a day off Friday, but now it's Monday and I'm back with some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has two interesting stories. The Central Valley School district houses the Council Closet in Barker High School. The closet provides used clothing, shoes and other items to students in need.

At Pasadena Park Elementary, students got the chance to vote on a new rock climbing wall for the playground earlier this year. The wall is now installed and students have been eagerly climbing all over it. The new equipment was purchased by the school's Parent Teacher Organization.

Correspondent Deborah Chan has a touching column on her struggle with breast cancer. Correspondent Steve Christilaw wrote about the Central Valley High School cross country team, which recently won the state championship.

Idaho X-Country Star Rebounds

After her health took a sharp turn for the worse last year, Idaho cross country star Emily Paradis has had to live by two simple words - patience and perseverance. “I really struggled with it a lot. It wasn't just a physical barrier, it was mental, too,” Paradis said.Entering her sophomore year, the former Moscow Bear was one of the promising young runners who had helped Idaho win the 2010 Western Athletic Conference cross country championship. She didn't disappoint in her follow-up campaign, as her strong performance helped the team win the WAC championship once again. But before she could run indoor or outdoor track, she started feeling ill. “I started feeling light-headed when I was running. I would just feel really fatigued,” Paradis said. “I wasn't myself”/Ben Handel, Moscow-Pullman Daily News. More here. (Daily News photo: Geoff Crimmins)

Question: Did you run track or cross country in high school or college?

PM: Running Along The Waterfront

Sue Hutter's daughter, Chloe, kept up her training for the Lake City High cross-country and track teams, even with snow on the ground this winter at City Park. Chloe, a LCHS sophomore, has been running since the first grade. As a freshman, she qualified for the state track meet in the 1600. You can see more photos of Chloe running along the waterfront & read about her training efforts at Sue's Wine Chocolate & Friendship blog (which now has a link in the right rail) here.

PM: Vik Star Signs With Oregon State

Coeur d'Alene High School cross country runner Kinsey Gomez is shown during practice in October. SR sports buddy Greg Lee reports that Kinsey has chosen to run cross country at Oregon State, rather than Arizona State and Utah, which also pursued the standout. Story here. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

Two ways to tune in to area’s nordic skiing

NORDIC SKIING — Two great ways to meet up with the area's cross-country skiing community are coming up:

  • Snow Ball Potluck and Moonlight Ski Tour, Jan. 15, starting at 5 p.m. at Selkirk Lodge on Mount Spokane. Bring potluck item and headlamp for the skiing, which will start about 6:30.  Sponsored by Spokane Nordic. RSVP:  Jack Benedetto jackbenedetto@hotmail.com
  • Spokane Langlauf 10-kilometer classic style citizens race, the largest nordic skiing event in the region, Feb. 13, at Mount Spokane. Pre-register at Fitness Fanatics or online.

Nordic skate skiing primer

Former Spokane residents Torsten Kjellstrand and his son, Bjorn, reach to their Swedish roots to demonstrate a few basic skate-skiing techniques to try on the groomed cross-country ski trails.

Mic: WAC Right To Whack BSU Coach

Mic Armon (re: WAC slaps trash-talking BSU coach): The cross country coach from BSU must have attended a different WAC championship then I did. I was at the meet and I will admit that it was one of the more well-attended and loud X-C meets that I have ever been at (and I have been to a few). But the Idaho fans were more then respectful for all of the teams, even to the point of cheering when the BSU men’s team was announced as the champions. BSU ran a very good race and had a couple of their guys have huge PR’s, but U of I had a great year and the Vandal Ladies are WAC champs. As a very proud Dad of a Vandal X-C runner, I am certain that I would never want my son to run for a coach that can only feel good about his program by belittling others.

Question: Have your children ever had been athletic coaches?

WAC Slaps Trash-Talking BSU Coach

Cross country might not seem like a sport filled with trash talk, but even it has given us a bit more fodder during the buildup to Friday’s Idaho-Boise State football game. Broncos cross country coach Brad Wick had this to say after the recent WAC meet at Moscow, in which his men’s team won the title: “Even though their team (Idaho) wasn’t our rival in the meet, it feels good to go there because their fans have very poor sportsmanship, so it feels extra good to get the WAC championship on their turf.” The quote appeared in the BSU student newspaper, the Arbiter. Here’s a link to the story. Perhaps these comments would have gone unnoticed, but on Wednesday morning, the WAC issued a reprimand of Wick/Matt Baney, Idaho Vandals blog. More here.

Question: Anyone have a good one-liner to toss in the thread below to trash talk one of the rivals involved in this week’s big game between visiting Boise State and Idaho?

Hardware haul at state cross country

Once again Spokane area runners were outstanding at the state cross country meet.

There were eight team trophies for the boys, highlighted by championships for North Central (the Indians fifth straight) and Lakeside, and five for the girls, with Riverside winning 1A.

As for individuals, Greater Spokane League runners were 1-2 in 4A (Lewis and Clark’s Kenji Bierig/Mead’s Andrew Gardner) and 3A (Shadle Park’s Nathan Weitz/NC’s Vince Hamilton) and second in 3A (NC’s Katie Knight) and B girls (Colfax’s Morgan Willson) and third in 2A (Cheney’s Sanne Holland) and 1A (Riverside’s Jess Mildes).

Here is the boys story and the girls story.

A third state championship

UPDATED

Coeur d’Alene senior Kinsey Gomez did something no other Idaho 5A runner has done - she captured a third state championship today at the state cross country finals. Also, the Coeur d’Alene boys, second a year ago, took third. Gomez (19 minutes, 01.92 seconds) was as dominating Saturday as she was a year ago, winning by more than 32 seconds. In 3A, Timberlake’s girls defended their state title and Timberlake sophomore Ashly George, third last year, was second (20:50.60).

Gomez is pictured above.

More later including Washington state-qualifying results.

NC runners do their thing

North Central cruises to the Greater Spokane League boys cross country championship in a showdown with University - both were unbeaten - and leads the way in 3A qualifying for regional, which is Oct. 30 in Wenatchee. The story there is that Mt. Spokane and Shadle Park, ranked in the top 5 3A teams, didn’t come close to making it. The Wildcats advance five runners, enough to score at state but … One coach was heard to mutter, “It’s so frustrating.”

On the girls side, which had no bearing on the GSL regular-season title, Shadle Park and Mt. Spokane qualified.

The top seven individuals not on a state qualifying team also advance. The GSL standings and the 3A regional qualifiers are below. The story is here.

Cross country on home stretch

The regular season ends for cross country this week so we’ll try to sort out what’s happening in the Greater Spokane League and Great Northern League, with their standings on the extended entry, the next post-season step or steps with State at Pasco on Nov. 6. Idaho regionals are this weekend and we’ll have something on Wednesday’s Prep Page.

To get you in the mood for foot racin’ we visited with one of Spokane’s all-time great female runners in a Then and Now on Tuesday morning. There is also the occasional tweet on cross country - it comes from SRtrim. However, we won’t be able to keep you updated from the GSL boys championship race on Thursday or any post season events for two reasons. One, even though I’m now a tweeter, the company hasn’t given me a tweet-capable phone, which is OK, because, two, God didn’t give me a brain capable of figuring it all out if they did.

CV girls win, Knight shatters record

It was a pretty big day in Greater Spokane League cross country, three records broken and a championship to help mend a broken heart - or broken hearts, because though running is individual, this is definitely a team sport.

We couldn’t be everywhere, particularly at Manito Park, where Kendra Weitz and Katie Morris of Shadle Park broke the girls record and Kenji Bierig won the boys record in beating Shadle’s Nathan Weitz.

We were, however, at Audubon Park, when amazing North Central sophomore Katie Knight broke the 6-week old record of Coeur d’Alene’s senior star Kinsey Gomez, which got overshadowed somewhat by Central Valley surging past Mead for the GSL title. With so much to write and so little room, we are providing you with an extended version of the story online here.

Thursday Prep Page

A few things to link to. Click the tab below for more.

Also, see results of early September poll.

Gomez sets Walters record

A great football Saturday, but maybe even a better day to run. The Tracy Walters Invitational with state cross country championship teams from Montana, Idaho and Washington, lived up to the billing with a couple of course records. North Central boys and Bozeman girls have the best teams but the records go to Kamiakin junior and Coeur d’Alene’s amazing Kinzey Gomez. There were also big meets at Mead (Meadlander) and Silverwood.

Gardner hightlights deep cross country field

Andrew Gardner (above in a great Chris Anderson photo) is one of many outstanding young distance runners in Spokane that should make for an interesting - and successful - cross country season. However, the Mead sophomore’s story is quite different from most. Gardner was the subject of our GSL cross country preview feature that ran on Tuesday.

More on Ferris cross country win

Talk about confident! A week or so ago Mike Hadway talked about looking forward to a dunk in the 18th hole water hazard at Sun Willows Golf Course. It was a tradition started when Mead cross country coach Pat Tyson was tossed into the pond after winning state. It became something of a traditiona and has been chronicled by The S-R over the years.

Hadway’s fifth title and the entire contingent of Saxons took the plunge. A new website, CoachesSaid.com was there and did a blowout on this year’s dunking.

An amazing era ended

It had to happen sometime. The incredible Mead boys cross country state run has ended and will likely be something never duplicated. From 1988 until this year, 21 straight seasons, the Panthers dominated like no other placing in the top four every year, winning two-thirds of those  state 4A titles, including the last two, and finishing second five other times.

Mead set a standard of excellence that has been emulated in the Greater Spokane League, and them some, and envied by all. Ferris and University winning the other seven titles, North Central adding the last three 3A titles and finishing second the previous two years.

But the Panthers based on scoring minus 3A schools in Wednesday’s district meet at Plantes Ferry Park, lost their chance to qualify for state when they lost the third GSL regional team berth to U-Hi, in a sixth-runner tiebreaker.

The trouble with predictions

The trouble with having your pre-season preview and predicted standings come out after the first game, meet or match, you don’t have the advantage of passing time allowing people to forget before you prove yourself the fool.

It appears I gave up too early on Mead boys cross country, failing to take into consideration the power of tradition. Behind freshman phenom Andrew Gardner, the Panthers look to be in the Greater Spokane League hunt after all, behind Ferris and North Central and can contend for a state team berth as usual.

The Panthers lost 21-34 to Ferris in Wednesday’s season opener but won the others, including over Lewis and Clark who I picked ahead of them, and Gardner finished third overall at Shadle in 15:58.8, just 9.4 and .4 seconds behind state placers Adam Thorne of Ferris and Nathan Weitz of Shadle Park.

“Andrew is showing he’s going to be a great one already,” said coach Steve Kiesel following the season-opening biggie.  ”He has to learn how to race over three miles and what better way than trial under fire.”

Gardner did fine.

Girls proved truer to form. Shadle Park beat Mead and LC doing nothing to diminish their favored status.

Top cross country teams square off

Ferris is ranked No. 1 and North Central 14th nationally among boys cross country teams. They meet early season Saturday at Audubon Park in the annual Tracy Walters Invite. It will be a good preview of things to come.