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GSL track championships: Central Valley distance runner Alex Wright primed; Allie Janke makes last runs for North Central

UPDATED: Wed., May 12, 2021

Arkansas-bound Allie Janke will finish her decorated North Central career Saturday at West Valley as the record-breaking distance runner competes in the GSL 2A championships.  (Patrick Hagerty/For The Spokeman-Review)
Arkansas-bound Allie Janke will finish her decorated North Central career Saturday at West Valley as the record-breaking distance runner competes in the GSL 2A championships. (Patrick Hagerty/For The Spokeman-Review)
By Keenan Gray For The Spokesman-Review

Central Valley’s Alex Wright had a career year in 2019 for track and cross country.

He posted personal-best marks in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter races during the spring as a sophomore and a few months later helped the Bears to a fourth-place team finish at the State 4A cross country meet as a junior.

With everything going his way, Wright was primed for a great track season and a hopeful first appearance at the state meet.

And then all that momentum just stopped.

Just two weeks in, the 2020 track season was put to a stop due to the coronavirus pandemic, leaving many student-athletes like Wright without a spring sport in which to compete to finish up the school year.

It was painful for him to comprehend what had happened since he felt like he had something to prove that spring.

“It really sucked not having the junior track season,” Wright said.

His distance coach, Geoff Arte, felt like Wright was on the cusp.

“He was primed to have a breakout year,” Arte said.

“He was coming off a (15-minute, 50-second) run at state and a top-25 finish, but of course all this stuff happens, so we aren’t able to see what he could do.”

But the lack of a track season didn’t stop Wright from training. It motivated him more to work toward his goals for the next school year.

“I just kept meeting up with the guys to run with so we could stay in shape,” Wright said. “I even came close to running my sophomore PRs in some time trials we did.”

Wright felt he had come off the best summer of training and was primed for the spring cross country season.

Wright won four of the five cross country races he entered, including his first GSL championship on his home course at CV.

“I was really grateful for this short cross season,” Wright said. “I felt like it got me into even better shape for the track season.”

Wright’s success carried over into the shortened spring track season.

On Wednesday, he won the 3,200 at the 4A/3A championships with a personal-best mark of 9:19.29. He will go for the 1,600 title Friday.

The victory was his seventh of the season and posted personal bests in the 800 (1:57.44) and the 3,200. His most impressive performance was his school record-breaking 1,600 time of 4:14.20 against Gonzaga Prep, a race he won by 20 seconds.

“We’re grateful he’s had a chance to race this spring,” Arte said.

“We knew how good he was, and you can see it in practice. To solo anything like that is tough to do, and I think it just gives you a perspective of how dialed in he is right now.”

The 4A/3A championships go through Friday at CV.

Last run for Janke

North Central’s Allie Janke is one of the most-decorated distance runners in state history – and that’s without a state track meet her junior or senior years.

She is the reigning and two-time state Gatorade track and field athlete of the year, the state meet record-holder in the 1,600 and 3,200 – set as a sophomore – and is a five-time state champ between cross country and track.

The Arkansas Razorback commit will run in an NC uniform one last time with season-best times of 4:55.88 in the 1,600 and 10:36.15 in the 3,200.

The 2A championships are Saturday at West Valley.

Who to watch

4A/3A boys

Cole Omlin, Ferris: Omlin signed to jump for the reigning outdoor NCAA national champions Texas Tech Red Raiders and ranks first in the state in the triple jump at 47 feet, 2 inches, and second in the high jump at 6-5.

Jacob McIntyre, Gonzaga Prep: The senior has run four personal-best marks this spring of 51.16 in the 400, 2:00.87 in the 800, 4:29.52 in the 1,600 and 10:03.74 in the 3,200. He ranks top five in the GSL in three of those races.

Ryan Reickmann, Cheney: The two-time State 2A competitor produced an eighth-place finish in the javelin at the 2019 state meet. Reickmann also ranks top 10 in the state in the 100 (10.94) and 200 (22.27) with personal-best marks.

4A/3A girls

Audrey Thronson, Lewis and Clark: The younger sister of 2017 State 4A cross country champion Katie Thronson, Audrey ran personal bests in the 1,600 (5:10.38) and 3,200 (11:24.25) this season. Thronson won four cross country races and finished runner-up at the GSL championships with a personal-best 5K time of 18:50.7.

Therisa Niven, Mead: Niven comes into the championship meet with an undefeated record in the 100 and 200 and with personal-best marks of 12.55 and 26.34, both ranked top two in the GSL. Niven competed at the AAU Indoor National Championships in March and finished 33rd in the 60 and 39th in the 200.

Jordynn Hutchinson, Mead: The 2019 State 4A champion in the shot put, the senior has one last chance to make a lasting mark in a Mead jersey. Hutchinson hasn’t hit her personal-best throw of 43-3¼ since winning the state title, but has a top-10 state mark of 41-11 this season.

2A boys

Keenan Kuntz, West Valley: The tradition of talented sprinters at West Valley continues with Kuntz. The sophomore ranks top three in the state in the 100 and 200, running personal-best marks of 10.74 and 22.25.

Marcus Lemon, Shadle Park: The recent Eastern Washington commit has run personal-best times of 2:00.01 in the 800, 4:26.58 in the 1,600 and 9:33.95 in the 3,200 – all in his first year of competing in track.

2A girls

Kyleigh Archer, Shadle Park: A three-sport athlete in soccer, basketball and track, Archer has had an impressive first year of sprinting for the Highlanders. Archer ranks first in all three sprinting events in the GSL 2A, running 13.00 in the 100, 26.84 in the 200 and 1:01.27 in the 400.

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