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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Coyle breaks from pack

It was a sight never seen before.

Nine runners were pounding down the homestretch of the boys 3,200 meters at the District 8 4A track meet Thursday night at University when a white-shirted Central Valley runner catapulted out of the crowd and won the sprint to the finish line.

Sophomore Sean Coyle became the first Bear to win the 3,200 at the Greater Spokane League’s district meet since the league was formed more than 25 years ago.

“That’s incredible,” said Coyle, who shaved a good 10 seconds off his personal record in running 9 minutes, 32.40 seconds. “The guys you look up to and to run right with them, that’s incredible.”

Coyle was running comfortably in the middle of the field and was able to respond after the midway point as the pack split in half.

“It was mental,” Coyle said. “The whole race I knew I could get to regional. It was all the last two laps. I found it inside me to get with the leaders. Laef Barnes (of Mead) was a real help. I’ve been talking about him since I started running. When I saw him, it was the best. It gave me momentum. When I caught him and the Ferris guys at the end, I knew I could get it.”

Coyle’s surprising win was one of many outstanding performances on the first day of the two-day meet that qualifies GSL athletes for the Eastern Regional at U-Hi next weekend.

There were two running finals and five field event finals for the boys and two for the girls. The top eight individuals and four relays move on to the battle with the Big Nine Conference in the State 4A qualifying meet.

No one had a bigger day than Shadle Park’s Bryan Braman, who had all four of his events going on simultaneously.

He was just set to begin the javelin, long jump and high jump when the Highlanders had to run the 400 relay. With Braman’s help on the second leg, Shadle won with an area-best time of 42.6 seconds.

The surprise was that top-seeded Lewis and Clark, with three of four runners from last year’s state runner-up, dropped the baton and didn’t finish.

“That’s really disappointing,” Braman said. “I don’t think they would have beat us today, but now they won’t be able to go to regional and state and represent Spokane.”

Braman then concentrated on his field events and had an outstanding day. He easily won the javelin with a throw of 196 feet, 4 inches, 2 feet short of his best but enough for his goal – throw it out the end of U-Hi’s 190-foot area.

Then he finished his long jump attempts, his best being 22-9½, which was a half-inch PR and second behind Mead’s Jeremy Brett, who had a one-inch PR of 23-1.

Finally Braman raced back to the west end of the field and polished off the high jump, again winning easily by matching his PR of 6-8, which is tied for the state lead, and just missing 6-9 on his final attempt.

“It was really hard, running back and forth between events,” he said. “It was my hardest day ever. When I’m rushed like this for some reason I tend to do better. It was hard, very hectic, but it was fun.”

Braman said the javelin was satisfying because he threw farther than the 189-9 PR that East Valley’s Chris Shearer had in winning the 3A. Shearer had beaten him in their last head-to-head competition. (Shearer also won the 3A high jump by matching his 6-6 PR.)

But even that paled in comparison to the relay win.

“That was great because we ran a great four legs,” he said. “We ran a PR. Everything went great. It felt good.”

Shadle’s Catie Schuetzle also used an EV 3A champion for motivation.

After EV’s Eleaya Schuerch went 18-3 to win the 3A long jump – nudging past Schuetzle’s area best by about an inch – the Highlanders star went out and broke Wendy Wilson’s meet record. Schuetzle went 18-10, 2½ inches past the mark set by the NC jumper 16 years ago.

She also soared 19-2 to take over the state lead, breaking into the top 25 all-time, the best by a Spokane jumper.

“Eleaya jumped 18-3. I’m competitive, I wanted to beat that,” she said. “It was my goal. I wrote 19-1 on my wrist. (Jump) Coach (Mark Hester) said to run hard all the way through. I slow down a little bit at the board.”

Handling pressure gave Ferris’ Cameron Elisara a chance to improve his area best in the shot put by 2 feet with a throw of 57-3, good for fourth in the state.

Elisa scratched on his first two throws by putting the ball out of the vector. Elisara, who scratched on three throws at the Pasco Invite, took a standing throw of 47-9, enough to get to finals and earn three more attempts.

“Then I just let it go,” he said. “I had more in me today. … I’ve had bad luck at Pasco. Last year it was nerves. This year I’m a lot more calm and controlled. I’ll do better at state.”

The other big mark for the day was a school-record 15-8 in pole vault for Mead’s Bron Tomeo. That was a 14-inch season improvement and 8-inch PR.

The meet resumes today at 3:30 p.m. for field events and 4:30 with running finals.

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