It wasn’t the type of robust, talent-stocked track and field meet North Central girls coach Kelly Harmon was accustomed to opening his season with, but that didn’t matter.
The NC girls – and the state of Washington at large – were competing in spring high school athletics again, albeit in a delayed and truncated fashion.
A year after the coronavirus pandemic wiped out the 2020 track and field season, Harmon and NC were at a dual meet in Othello thin on numbers.
“It was the first meet we have been to in over a year and it was wonderful,” Harmon said.
But things are going to be much different in a six-week track and field season that culminates May 15 with several district meets per classification.
For the second time in as many years, there won’t be a WIAA state meet, preventing some of the state’s all-time best talents like NC’s Allie Janke from adding to her championship total.
Janke, who will run at national power Arkansas next year, has multiple 3A cross country titles and also owns the classification’s record in the 1,600 (4 minutes, 43.60 seconds) and 3,200 (10:10.83)
“I believe she would have won four more titles,” Harmon said.
This year, NC makes the move to 2A, where Janke and her cohorts are expected to do even more damage after finishing fourth at the 3A state meet in 2019.
The final local 2A boys and girls meet of the season is at West Valley. The bigger 4A and 3A schools in the Greater Spokane League are ending the year with a meet at Central Valley. The smaller 1A and B schools will also end their seasons with district meets.
Most Washington schools will compete in four meets over the next few weeks.
The Greater Spokane League still boasts plenty of talent from its previous full season, including talented Ferris boys leaper Cole Omlin.
Omlin won state 4A titles in 2019 in the high jump and long jump as a sophomore and signed to jump at Texas Tech this fall.
Jordynn Hutchinson is back for the Mead girls after winning a 4A state title in the shot put as a sophomore in 2019.
Several state championship athletes and placers from the 1A and B levels also return, including Davenport multisport star and state champion hurdler Darby Soliday.
Soliday will run at Idaho State next year.
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