Although the Rogers girls finished behind University for the 1986 track and field race in the GSL, coach Dick Kinzer found himself with a talented team of sprinters as his small contingent of five left for the state AAA tournament in Tacoma that year.
His five sprinters, Kellie Gamby, Keryn Shines, Tina Braman, Trish Matlock and Dee Dee Bell were young and talented. Braman was the only senior among them.
At the Greater Spokane League district meet, Gamby, a junior, broke two records in the preliminary heats, running 25.1 in the 200, and 56.9 in the 400. The next day, she bettered her mark in the 200, posting a mark of 25.0, and tied her previous effort in the 400.
At state, Gramby won the 200 event, was second in the 400, and anchored the 400 and 800 relay teams, which included Braman, Shines and Matlock. Braman finished second in the 100.
Puyallup’s girls won three events at state, the most of any school, but as the girls lined up for the final event of the day, the 400 meter s, Puyallup with 40 points, was done. Rogers and Garfield of Seattle entered the event with 34 points each. It was Gamby, representing the Pirates, against two Garfield girls, as the gun went off.
Jennifer Brannon of Moses Lake won the 400, but Gamby made a stretch run to finish a close second. The two Garfield girls finished not far behind.
Because of the close point totals, it was unclear at first which team came out on top. When the numbers were finally announced, the Rogers girls were the first state champion in track and field for the Greater Spokane League. It wasn’t until the finishers were lined up on the awards stand that Kinzer and his girls were aware they had won. It was razor thin, as Rogers wound up with 42 points to Garfield’s 41. Puyallup finished third with 40.
The only other prior state track and field champions for the Pirates were their 1946 boys team. It was also the school’s first state championship since their boys cross country squad in 1965.