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Take my advice

Don't call up a bunch of "javelin accident" videos.


No, not this kind. The track and field kind.

Monday morning links

From Pullman — Hey there, it's been awhile. Spring sports are coming to a close and we spent this week wrapping up track and field with the Pac-12 championships, which were held in Pullman at Mooberry Track and Field Complex this year. Runners, jumpers, throwers and spectators braved the Sunday weather that was predicted by weather persons to be a storm of some rain and much lightning. There was a storm on Sunday, alright, a pollen storm, and the generic antihistamine I popped prior to the meet might as well have been jujubes. 

In between sneezes I saw enough to write this recap. I also wrote a story from Saturday on WSU's high jump champion, Charlotte Muschamp, who hails from a tiny town in New Zealand that is close enough to Antarctica that she claims to have seen icebergs ("Ice cubes? The things from Titanic) float past. Muschamp's victory was one of few notable performances for the Cougars, and John Blanchette examines how WSU can get back to track and field dominance. Photojournalist Tyler Tjomsland has a gallery from the meet.

In men's basketball news, the Pac-12 got a little weaker and Gonzaga got a little stronger with the news that Byron Wesley is headed to Spokane. Today Oregon State may announce that it has finally found a basketball coach. Death, taxes and Washington crew winning.


An uplifting Monday post


Mondays always hold a special place in the workingman/woman's heart. The first day of the workweek is usually the toughest day to attack with fervor, especially this time of year. The light at the end of the tunnel – Friday – is dim, the physical demands of the weekend may have left its toll and most of your co-workers are wandering around like extras from "The Walking Dead." Even in semi-retirement, I've designated Monday as laundry day, just so I can share in the misery a bit. But we do offer a respite, a jump-charge so to speak to your week. Nothing too elaborate, mind you, just some commentary and news links. Read on.

Late night, late post


I usually hit the sack pretty early, even on Saturday nights. A product of having walked the planet quite a few years I presume. But last night was different. As I prepared for my typical 9 p.m. bedtime I turned on the TV and grabbed my phone. And ended up being hooked by Denzel Washington and the Shock. Not together, mind you, but in tandem. Read on.

Three for a June Saturday


So where to start as the month of June winds down? The Mariner results are starting to get a bit redundant (though we offer some discussion today on Felix Hernandez's future with the team). The other major sports are basically in hibernation (though we offer some discussion today on LeBron James' place in history). And the Olympics are a bit far off still (though we offer some discussion today on what the trials are for). Read on.

Basketball is finished


As the confetti rained down onto the floor in Miami last night, I wanted to get on my horse and ride around Spokane yelling, "the NBA is over, the NBA is over." Then I realized I don't have a horse. Read on.

Sliding inexorably toward winter


Yesterday was the longest of the year in the northern climes. The sun was over the horizon for more minutes than any other, though I can't give you the exact figure. What I can tell you, however, is that means one thing. It's all downhill from here. Yep, I'm a glass half-empty type of guy. Read on.

Spokane’s Redman crosses paths with Dan O’Brien at Olympic Training Center

Jamie Redman of Spokane crossed paths with a former University of Idaho track star as she works out with the U.S. Women's Rowing Team at the Olympic Training Center near San Diego.

Redman took time out to chat with former Olympic decathlete Dan O'Brien, who won a gold medal in the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta.  O'Brien is one of the Center's ambassadors to athletes training for the 2012 Summer Olympics. He helps Redman and other athletes prepare for the pressures of the Olympic spotlight.

Redman, a product of Lewis and Clark High School and Yale University, said the U.S. Team training is hard work, but the center has a wealth of professional trainers, therapists and dieticians to help them hone their way toward London.  Said Redman:

"In between rows, I’m trying to utilize the many resources the O.T.C. offers the athletes: the newly renovated and expertly staffed Performance and Rehab Center; the delicious dining hall (serving plenty of vegetables, but no desserts, alas); the sports psychology and nutrition counseling; the on-site laundry facilities; the big-screen TVs in the Athlete Lounge… I am *so thankful* for the opportunity to train at this marvelous complex!"

More DQ’s at state, including wheelchair

So, after a certain reporter had a little rant on Friday about theThursday  DQ's at the State track and field meet in Tacoma, it turns out two Spokane 400 runners suffered the same fate. One was from Mt. Spokane, who was on the relay team that get zapped. So a senior, who is down to his swan song in high school, never gets a chance to run.

Now rules are rules, again. But by all accounts, not just from a grumpy reporter, there are just some trigger happy officials who want to show off their knowledge of the rules and they would rather add a notch to the handle of their flag than give an athlete the benefit of the doubt. I think the real problem is the Pac-10 meet only comes to Seattle every 10 years or so so these folks have nothing better to do.

One Westsider pointed out to me there was a pretty high-profile DQ in a past meet in Pasco … which is true for those who remember Nichole Cochrane of Bellarmine Prep and Andrea Nelson of Shadle Park giving her the gold to make national headlines. The emphasis, though, is on one, not a rash year-in and year-out.

One relay team showed up at the meet today with matching T-shirts with a message on the back: State Champion Lane Team. Hopefully a judge saw it and got the point.

FYI, a red flag went up on an East Valley wheel chair athlete for being out of the proper lane. However, a check last night showed he was DQ'd. Then I heard this morning officials were searching for a CV wheelchair ahtlete who apparently scratched on Friday - scratch one event, scratch all. Fortunately that was cleared up. The girl competed yesterday, her time just went to the EV athlete, who really was DQ'd.

And to think, I was just thinking it was tacky there were only medals for first place in the wheel chair events, not 8 places (or the three or four needed). Granted, there isn't much competition, which could be considered good and bad, but it's pretty hard to encourage participation  with that kind of attitude.

Officials get in the way of a good meet

Spokane coaches were still fuming on Friday because both the Mt. Spokane boys and Mead girls were disqualified in the prelims of the 1,600-meter relay Thursday night.

The Wildcats are the second-fastest quartet in the state, the Panthers two-time defending champions.

Both, who easily qualified for the finals, were eliminated because a runner took more two strides stepping on the inside line of the lane.

That’s just par for the course when the state meet is on the Westside of the state, where it seems officials go out of their way to make sure everyone knows the meet is about the officials and not the kids.

Now it’s true rules are rules and cheaters should be penalized but there is a little bit more to this.

This is a rule that can have some wiggle room.

First, did the team gain a real competitive advantage? Mt. Spokane sure did, just eking out a win by a whopping 15-plus meters.

Second, think about it. Yes, the coaches teach kids not to run on the lines, but they’re never judged on that during the season. It’s close to impossible to get enough adults to help run a track meet these days, and believe me, there aren’t enough officials to cover the far corner. It’s not like the no-jewelry rule, which is old and clear – and can easily and uniformly be enforced – even if has to connection to an advantage

Third, there is an official out there, watching all eight lanes. Really, that official can see all eight lanes and still tell if there is any jostling going on at elbow height? And this is at night, in the shadows.

One coach said, “I’ve judged before, when you see a kid take two steps on the line, look at another lane. You’re not there to DQ kids. You should be looking for if runners get too close together and there’s contact.”

Put the red flag up, but then let common sense take over. How much advantage did Mt. Spokane get? The answer is none. Throw in a warning so that’s not a deciding factor in a photo finish.

And another Spokane area  person pointed that those DQ’s came from the same official, while one in another corner didn’t seem to be quite as intent on finding violations.

Track and field is a sport that is dying and as a response officials seem to go out of their way to help it along. Eliminating state contenders really helps.

And don’t get me started on the way a security person treated an overly-enthused relay member as she cheered on a teammate outside of the designated area. There is no call for that, but then again, over here it’s about the officials and not the kids.

Got crab?

Tomorrow is the last day to buy tickets for the fourth annual West Valley Track and Field Crab Feed fundraiser featuring fresh Dungeness crab flown in from the Oregon coast. The meal is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 11, from 6-7 p.m. at West Valley High School, 8301 E. Buckeye. The menu will also include bread, beans, salad and beverages.

Call the high school at 922-5488 for tickets, which are $27.50 per person. The annual event raises money for new equipment and other expenses.