Pat Kostecka has wasted no time putting his handprint on the Mt. Spokane boys track team.
He is in his fifth year at Mt. Spokane after spending 24 at Chewelah.
The Wildcats captured their first Greater Spokane League championship two years ago and have finished third at state the last two years.
Perhaps the best feat, though, came last Saturday when Mt. Spokane captured the team title at the 56th annual Pasco Invite – a prestigious meet at a state meet level.
It’s a difficult meet to know where a team stands in the point totals. So when it came time to announce team awards, Kostecka figured the Wildcats were in the top five.
When it came down to the final two places, the always-energized, always-moving Kostecka knew something special was in the offing. And sure enough, when Shadle Park, powered by three victories from ultratalented Jakobe Ford, was announced as second place, Kostecka started celebrating.
“When they announced second I said, ‘Oh my gosh, we won this thing,’ ” Kostecka said. “We’ve never been a player there before. What a cool thing to see what those boys accomplished.”
Leading the way was senior thrower Dillon Lionello, who is having a breakout season.
Lionello won the discus with a personal-best heave of 173 feet, 3 inches. He took second in the shot with a throw of 61-2 1/2, which is the school record. He needs another 2 feet in the discus to own both school records.
On his final attempt in the shot, Lionello knew he had thrown a whopper. In video, he was struggling to keep his balance at the toe stop in the front of the ring. Finally, his momentum caused him to foul.
Meet officials agreed to measure the throw. It was 64-3.
“He’s made some big strides,” Kostecka said. “He is such an amazingly focused hard worker. And he’s extremely educated.”
Kostecka, a former thrower, gives all credit for Lionello’s improvement to Ironwood Camps and director Bart Templeman.
“I totally believe if you want to be a good thrower you have to do Ironwood Camp,” Kostecka said.
Lionello agrees. He spent his offseason throwing at Templeman’s facility near Rathdrum, and Lionello also committed to getting stronger.
After last year, when he took fourth at state in the discus, Lionello dug in and dedicated himself to improving. He also gives praise to standout Coeur d’Alene thrower Grady Leonard.
“He’s really helped me a lot too,” Lionello said.
Lionello has offers from Montana and Eastern Washington. He has a trip scheduled to Washington State.
Now when Kostecka offers advice, Lionello understands where his coach is coming from.
“He’s a really good coach,” Lionello said. “I know what I’m capable of. I have potential to go far. I just need to listen to him.”
Lionello wasn’t the only standout for Mt. Spokane at Pasco. Pole vaulter Cade Neumann won with a personal-best 15-0. He came close to breaking the school record (15-3) with three attempts at 15-4.
Jacob Adams, Spencer Barrera, Evan Boschma and Jacob White combined to take second in the 1,600-meter relay in a time of 3 minutes, 27.53 seconds. Barrera, who has been working in the triple jump for a week, took third (44-11 1/4).
- Ford accounted for 30 of Shadle Park’s 39 points. He hit 7-0 in the high jump and did 23-8 1/4 in the long jump and 46-4 3/4 in the triple jump.
- There were a number of other outstanding times/marks at Pasco. Here are some: Leonard of Coeur d’Alene won the shot (63-0); Rodrick Fisher of East Valley won the 200 (21.67) and was second in the 100 (10.62); Zac Magee of CdA took second in the 400 (49.12); Jack Ammon of Northwest Christian won the 800 (1:56.81); Austin Byrer of Lewiston won the 1,600 (4:17.14) and 3,200 (9:17.69); Joseph Heitman of Mead took second in the 300 hurdles (39.21); Josh Farr of Mead was second in the javelin (191-10); Lexi Rolan of Medical Lake took second in the 100 (12.20) and 200 (25.35); Aisatta Bakana of Cheney took second in the 400 (58.65); Rebecca Lehman of University was second in the 1,600 (5:10.73); Katie Thronson of Lewis and Clark took first in the 1 mile (5:03.31); Lizzy Shaw of Riverside was second in the 3,200 (11:02.60); Zella Conley of Mead won the 100 hurdles (14.49); LC’s 400 relay quartet of Anna Rodgers, Emily Greene, Isabella Millsap and Maya Lebar took second (48.26); Delaney Warren of Mt. Spokane won the javelin (130-10); Jocie Osika of Lake City tied Warren but took second; Rylie Pease of Cheney took second in the javelin (138-3), 3 inches short of her season best and 6 shy of her career best; Katie Rhodes of Mt. Spokane won the high jump (5-4); and Rodgers of LC won the long jump (18-2½).
- The Central Valley girls and boys went to the Oregon Relays at Hayward Field in Eugene last Saturday. The CV girls placed fourth. In the boys javelin, Erik Fitzgerald won with a throw of 180-9.
Amanda Chan of Mead, the defending state champ in the high jump, was all set to go play volleyball at Western Washington. She has been playing club this spring.
She’s decided to drop volleyball for track. She has signed to jump at Vanguard in Costa Mesa, California.
Chan won state with a jump of 5-6 last year. She wants to do at least 5-8 this spring.
Gonzaga Prep coach Matt Blaine is going to hold a 15-minute ceremony during a dual meet Thursday honoring former Bullpup track athletes who were killed in action during the Vietnam War.
Creighton Dunn and James Blaine, 1964 and 1967 graduates, respectively, were killed in action. Blaine is Matt’s uncle and the uncle of CV girls coach Geoff Arte.
Ferris, CV and Mt. Spokane will be at the dual meet. Blaine plans to do the ceremony at 6, before the meet concludes.
The boys part of the meet should be entertaining. CV, Mt. Spokane and Ferris were picked to finish in the top four with Mead.
- The 54th annual Mooberry Relays is Saturday at Rogers. Field events begin at 8 a.m. with running events starting at 9.
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