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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

‘For both of us’: North Central hurdler Cameron Dewey carries memories of his mother into state track meet

North Central’s Cameron Dewey runs during practice at the school track on May 14.  (Kathy Plonka/The Spokesman-Review)
By Greg Lee The Spokesman-Review

There were several sighs of relief uttered at state-qualifying track and field meets last weekend.

There may have been none louder – or come from the deepest part of the diaphragm – than that of North Central senior hurdler/sprinter Cameron Dewey.

He qualified for the State 3A meet in the maximum four events, a couple coming by the thinnest of margins. The state meet begins Thursday and concludes Saturday in Tacoma.

As any coach will tell you, though, the state-qualifying meet is generally more nerve-racking than state. Many times getting to state allows an athlete freedom to let go and just perform.

NC coach Mark Vandine hopes that is the case for Dewey.

Dewey was built for hurdling. He’s 6-foot-4 and 175 pounds, tall and lanky, gliding over the high and intermediate hurdles.

He’s only been hurdling for a year and a half. It was four weeks into his junior season, late March, that Dewey finally tried the hurdles.

“Vandine always wanted to get me to try them, but I waited. I wasn’t ready, I guess,” Dewey said. “Then finally on a rainy day, I tried them. We were practicing inside and the sprinters were doing a boring workout, so I went with the hurdlers. We were doing drills over 1-foot-tall hurdles.”

And just like that, Dewey found a new event.

“Right away, he was the most natural hurdler I’d ever had,” said Vandine, who coaches the hurdlers. “In his third race, he qualified for the finals at the Pasco Invite.”

While Dewey had a proclivity for hurdling, there’s something much more inviting about him.

“First of all, he’s the nicest young man you’ll ever meet,” Vandine said. “He’s as kind of a person and a servant as you’ll find.”

And like anyone who has qualified for a state event, Dewey wants to win a state title. The odds are stacked against him, but he’s not going to go down without a fight.

“I just want to bring home as many medals as I can,” Dewey said.

Two weeks ago at the Greater Spokane League subdistrict meet, Dewey met a goal when he broke the school record in the 300, winning in a time of 38.43 seconds. That broke the previous best of 39.01, set by Spencer Wordell in 2009.

It was two days before Mother’s Day. He considered it a gift to his mom, Amy Dewey, who died a little more than 11 months ago.

“She died in her sleep,” Cameron said.

With no fanfare, Dewey dedicated his season to his mother. In fact, he dedicated his entire year to her.

“Every time I’m running, I’m running for both of us,” Dewey said. “Before every race I think about her. Prior to this year, my grades weren’t great, so I really wanted to improve myself because of her.”

A quiet, humble young man, Dewey has internalized much of his grief.

“It definitely comes and goes in waves,” he said. “Track helps get my mind off things. I’ve worked at not letting things hold me back.”

Dewey was a two-year starter at wide receiver and cornerback in football the past two years, but injuries slowed him. He gave it up this season.

“Going into track I wanted to be fit, in shape and healthy,” Dewey said. “I had to look at my priorities and track was at the top of the list.”

Dewey plans to continue hurdling when he attends Spokane Falls Community College this fall. He’d like to earn an NCAA Division I scholarship.

His work isn’t through this week. He’s going against a deep field of talented hurdlers in the 110 and 300, finds himself in a loaded 200 that features the best sprinter in the state in Mead’s Dominick Corley, and will anchor NC’s 4x400 relay that will try to catch the top relay team in the state at University.

Vandine is hopeful the best is to come this week.

“The potential is there,” Vandine said. “He hasn’t had his best race of the season.”

Among Dewey’s goals is to crack 38 seconds in the 300.

He’s spent time trying to polish his hurdle technique. It’s been frustrating at times because he feels like he’s taken more steps backward than forward.

Dewey knows the answer.

“I’ve got to fall in love with the weight room. I haven’t done that yet,” Dewey said. “That’s what is holding me back right now. I’m not as explosive as some of the other hurdlers and sprinters in general.”

Whatever happens at state, though, one thing is apparent: Dewey won’t be running alone. His mom will be there in spirit.

And win, lose or draw – that’s all that matters.