PASCO – The Mead boys track team, the winningest team in the history of the Pasco Invite, came within a handful of points from winning its 13th championship.
Hanford, a 3A team from Richland, used a victory in the discus and a second in the 200 meters to vault past Mead at the 53rd annual Invite. Hanford finished with 50 points to Mead’s 43 at Edgar Brown Stadium’s John Crawford Track.
It was Hanford’s first Pasco title.
For Mead coach John Mires, it was just another step in the maturation of his team.
“With such a young team, this is a pretty remarkable deal,” Mires said. “It’s a good testament to the young kids at this point in the season. It’s always nice to be in the hunt at this meet because it gives you an idea of where you’re at on a state level.”
Leading the way for Mead on a day that started with not a hint of wind and lots of sunshine to a meet that ended with strong wind was senior pole vaulter Braden Barranco.
Barranco, a transfer from Newport, climbed his pole 14 feet, 6 inches to win. It was 6 inches shy of his season and career best. He took three attempts at 15-0, just barely unseating the bar on his second attempt.
“I’m glad I won but not satisfied with the height,” Barranco said. “I was hoping for a (personal best) today, but you’re always hoping for it.
It was a splendid day for Greater Spokane League and North Idaho athletes.
Carlos Riojas of Mt. Spokane, the shortest thrower at 5-foot-9½ among the medal winners, heaved the javelin a personal-best 190-9.
He got the mark on his next-to-last throw, eclipsing Mead’s Luke Hilmes (186-3).
“My arm was hurting at the beginning after my first throw,” Riojas said.
Riojas wasn’t noticing any pain afterward, though.
Tanner Anderson of North Central easily defended his title in the 3,200 (9:05.86). Scott Kopczynski of East Valley was a distant second (9:24.19).
The breeze was mild for the first half of the race but the second half had Anderson thinking he was running in concrete.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever been in a more windy race,” Anderson said. “It felt like we were hitting a brick wall the final 110 meters. Overall, it was a good day.”
Lewiston sophomore Zion Stuffle zipped to victories in the 110 (14.31) and 300 hurdles (38.35).
Jake Finney of Lake City had a big-time personal best in the 800, winning in a time of 1:55.32.
John Dressel of Mt. Spokane was cruising along in the elite mile, leading through all but 50 meters when he was overtaken.
Dressel said what was frustrating is he did most of the heavy lifting in the race.
“I’m not down about it but I’m not satisfied,” Dressel said. “It’s a good indicator of what I have to work on.”
Gonzaga Prep sophomore Nick Johnson won the high jump (6-4), breaking his personal best by an inch.
“I was hoping for it but didn’t think it would happen,” Johnson said.
Sam Levora of Sandpoint won the 1,600 (4:17.86), breaking his school record. He wanted to run in the elite mile but his coach had a different plan.
“I felt good. I was happy with my overall strategy,” Levora said.
Junior Kaitlyn Gunnerson of Coeur d’Alene captured the 100 hurdles in a season-best time of 15.25.
“I felt more aggressive in the finals than I did in the prelims,” she said. “The last few meets there wasn’t much competition. Definitely the bigness of this meet made me run faster.”
Amanda Konynenbelt of Shadle Park took the long jump with a season best of 17-8 ½.
“Honestly, coming into today, I didn’t know what to think after I didn’t do well (in a dual) Thursday,” Konynenbelt said. “I feel a lot better after Thursday. I’m happy but not satisfied.”
It was the first meet of the spring for Rogers senior Tierra White, who had been academically ineligible.
White soared 5-4 to win the high jump.
“It just shows that hard work pays off,” White said.
Megan Murphy of North Central captured the triple jump (37-3½). Not bad after Murphy didn’t make the finals in the event last year.
Central Valley, behind three freshmen and a sophomore, won the distance medley (12:51.63).
Shevaun Ames of Lewiston won the 1,600 (5:12.42). Lauren Dunnell of Shadle Park captured the 3,200 (11:22.03).
Kamaikin was the team winner.
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