TACOMA – After a long day, when it didn’t appear that any area track teams with aspirations of a team trophy hurt themselves, the combined State 4A/3A/2A meet came to a wild close Friday evening at Mt. Tahoma High School.
It started when Mead’s Keith Webber won the pole vault on his final attempt at 15 feet, 6 inches, followed shortly by teammate A.J. Maricich coming in third in a dramatic high jump competition and ended with Shadle Park’s Bo Schuetzle getting a gold medal in the long jump snatched away at the last moment.
The “losers” summed it up best.
“I gave it my all, that’s all that matters,” Maricich, a junior, said after barely scraping off the bar on a 7-foot attempt that would have given him a second straight State 4A title. “Third, that happens. I’m excited there was such good competition here.”
Schuetzle took the 3A long jump lead on his first attempt and held it until the fifth round, when he was aced out by 2½ inches by Ronnielle Kelly-Battles of Renton
“I thought I had it but I knew anything could happen,” he said. “He was on my tail and he got me.”
In each class, there were only two running finals, the 110-meter boys hurdles and 100 girls hurdles, and seven field event finals spread out over the second day of the three-day meet.
The only other area champion was Colville freshman Tasha Luu in the 2A girls high jump with a mark of 5-4.
Mead jumped to the lead of the 4A boys with 26 points, five ahead of Snohomish with Ferris tied for third at 18.
North Central’s boys didn’t add to their 18-point first day total in 3A and dropped seven points behind Renton, with Shadle at 17.
Pullman boys have 23 points for fourth in 2A, with Ephrata leading at 29½. Cheney is sixth with 18.
Shadle is third in 3A girls with 17 points, well behind the 33 of Columbia River.
Curtis has 28 to lead 4A girls, with Mead, a contender, scoreless but with all potential scorers advancing to today’s finals.
In 2A Archibishop Murphy leads with 18.
4A: The boys pole vault was a tense event with Greater Spokane League seniors Webber, Central Valley’s Kyle Brown and Ferris’ Scott Kolb the top three seeds.
With a somewhat tricky wind, all managed to spend some time in first place, along with Mountain View senior John Brenteson, who was progressing at 3-inch increments.
Brown had a miss at 14 feet, Webber at 14-6 and Kolb was perfect until 15 feet.
However, both Brown and Kolb failed at 15, though just barely. Brenteson kept the pressure on as he cleared 15 on his third attempt and 15-3 on his first, giving him a personal record by 9 inches. Webber, who cleared 15 on his first attempt, didn’t match his 15-6 PR until his third attempt.
“I was really confident,” he said. “I knew I could do it if I did what I’ve been doing in practice. I wasn’t patient enough. I was too focused on getting over the bar and not on my form.”
Webber was third as a junior after not placing as a sophomore. It was the first trip for Kolb and Brown, also seniors.
“I knew what to expect,” Webber said. “I couldn’t get flustered with the atmosphere. I had to be confident.”
Brown, who was fourth, was particularly disappointed because his best is 15-6 and he won regional last weekend at 15-0.
“I had the standards in the wrong place on the first two and psyched myself out on the last one,” he said. Maricich won state last year by clearing 6-8 and his goal all year was 7-0, which he reached last weekend. But so did sophomore Rahmel Dockery of Curtis.
However, when all was said and done the winner was sophomore Kasen Williams of Skyline, who came in with a season best of 6-6 but cleared 6-10 on his first attempt. Dockery made it on his second, Maricich on his third.
“I was not bringing my speed to my turn,” Maricich said. “I’m just glad I broke the 7-foot barrier.” Mead had a good points day with junior Casey Monahan placing sixth in the 110 hurdles with a PR of 14.89, and Mike Banta getting third in the discus with a throw of 155-11, a PR by 20 inches.
Banta picked up a point on Thursday by placing eighth in the shot put, a competition that was extremely tight.
•3A: Schuetzle had a goal of 23 feet for the long jump, which he made with an initial attempt of 23-¾. As the competition went on, as the heat took its toll, as the tailwind died down, he began to think he might win, matching the title his sister, Catie, who was watching, won in 2004.
But on his fifth jump, Kelly-Battles, who entered with a season-best 2-inches better than Schuetzle, improved on that by a half-inch.
“I got my goal, 23 feet, I’m happy about that, but I wanted to win. But if you PR, you can’t be too unhappy.”
Highlander Shayle Dezellem was third in the 100 hurdles despite a horrible start. She ran 15.13, which is just off the PR of 15.06 she ran in Thursday’s qualifier.
“My goal was 15.5, once I got that I was thinking 14’s,” she said, not at all disappointed with her success. “I wanted to make state. Last year I was in the regional finals and just missed it.”
Shadle also got a second place and eight points from Bianca Pope in the javelin with a throw of 138-11.
2A: DeAngelo Jones and Nathaniel Youmans, who were eighth and fifth, respectively, for Cheney in Thursday’s long jump, both scored in the triple jump as well.
This time it was Jones third with a nice 16-inch PR of 44-2½ with Youman’s seventh.
“To be honest I really don’t know where it came from,” Jones said. “My coach said to keep my head still when I jump and I tried to focus on that.”
In the 110 hurdles, Pullman’s Nick Cassleman had a good weekend with a small PR and finished third with Cheney’s Diondre Moore-Young a hundredth-behind with a bigger PR for the weekend of 14.93.
The Great Northern League also had a 3-4 finish on the girls side with Riverside’s Elizabeth McKinney beating Emily Stralser of Cheney by .01.
“I wish I could have gotten a better time for my last 100 hurdle race,” McKinney said after running 15.69, .02 slower than her prelim. “I just wanted a PR. I was hoping top four. I was watching (Stralser), for me she’s been the competition. I kind of just wanted to beat her.”
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