A volume of short stories and history lessons, the Eastern Regional 4A/3A track meet was everything but ordinary, not with what these young athletes did at Spokane Falls Community College on Saturday, the first 80-degree day of the year.
The remarkable day began with East Valley winning the 3A boys shot put and girls discus. The winners were James Dorr, who will attend college in South Carolina on a volleyball scholarship, and Melissa Youmans, an alternative school senior who knew nothing about track a few months ago and is now a regional champ in the shot and discus.
Along the way were a number of stellar performances, including a standout 800-meter race and Mead junior A.J. Maricich becoming Spokane’s fifth 7-foot high jumper.
It ended with Spokane teams winning all four 1,600 relays. The Greater Spokane League dominated its Columbia Basin League rivals, except for the Southridge girls.
At one point Spokane runners won 10 straight races, all four 300 hurdles, all four 800s and the 3A boys 200, where Corde Bailey of Rogers completed his sprint double (11.2 seconds, 22.34). In the boys meet, the GSL took 14 of 18 spots in 4A field events and won 16 of 17 3A events.
Spokane won three of four team titles. The North Central boys won 3A 170½-123 over Mt. Spokane, while the Shadle Park girls edged Mt. Spokane 155-142½. Mead’s boys won 4A handily, 140-80 over Ferris, but the Southridge girls slipped past Mead 97-94.
Individually, 3A boys took 28 state berths (two advanced per event) and had four other athletes reach the state standard. The CBL is sending only seven to state, one by virtue of the state standard. Among girls, it went 34-12 for the GSL, which won 12 of 18 events, with both leagues getting an extra qualifier.
The 4A domination wasn’t quite as absolute, where three advanced to state, but the CBL had an edge in participants, 10-6 in individual events, 6-2 in relays. GSL boys won 11 of 17 events and had a 28-23 in state qualifiers. The CBL girls had a 30-24 edge and won 10 of 18 events.
•3A: Dorr and Youmans made nice stories and, according to both, they were a testament to EV throws coach Chuck Dunning. And that sentiment was echoed by Zach Ames, who won the javelin to go with his Thursday triumph in the discus, giving Dunning’s charges wins in five of six throws.
Youmans threw a personal record by 8½ feet to win the discus (124-3) by just doing what she was told.
“I listen to my coach and did everything he told me to do,” she said. “Apparently he knows what he’s talking about because I did good.”
Dorr, the son of the Knights’ volleyball coach, has been playing the sport as long as he can remember. As a member of the Space Needle club team, the 6-foot-2 outside hitter will attend Limestone College, a Division II school in Gaffney, S.C., on a full-ride scholarship.
NC’s Spencer Wordell smoked the 300 hurdles field (39.09) from the eighth lane, giving the Indians a hurdles sweep because Desean Svastisalee won the 110 highs (15.37). Wordell posted one of the best times in the state (39.01) a few weeks back. He won district last week despite falling on the final hurdle. Then on Friday he fell midway through his preliminary heat.
Wordell qualified for the eighth and last spot in the final by 0.14. He won the race by 1.84.
“There’s a reason I qualified for finals,” Wordell said. “I don’t know what it is, but there’s a reason.”
Shadle’s Bo Schuetzle added a triple jump personal record (44-4) to his PR in the long jump on Friday, and teammate Shayle Dezellem continued her late-season surge in the hurdles (15.22, 46.33). Amy Before, who anchored Shadle’s winning 1,600 relay (4:10.71), won the 800 (2:18.80) and was second in the long jump.
Mt. Spokane sophomore Afton McKinlay won the 400 (1:00.25), was second in the 100 and ran on the Wildcats’ winning 800 relay (1:45.82) and second-place 1,600 relay (4:11.67).
NC’s heralded distance corps, led by Andrew Kimpel, after winning the 3,200 on Friday, came back to win the 1,600 (4:14.20), and in the process led an extra qualifier across the line as he did in the 3,200. In this case it was teammate Ben Johnson, second in the 3,200, who was third behind teammate Leon Dean, who doubled back to win the 800 (1:54.37).
Kimpel was concerned about coming back, but despite feeling flat for three laps the NC trio was right on track for the plan to get an extra qualifier.
“It was perfect execution,” Kimpel said. “We were right on pace – that motivated me. It wasn’t just me. It’s a credit to my teammates.”
•4A: Maricich cleared 7-0 before Ferris’ Justin Zimmerman (1:52.60) led Mead’s Justin Curnutt (1:52.67) and Central Valley’s Brad Whitley (1:52.95) across the line in the 800.
“I was excited after my first run through,” said Maricich, the defending state champion (6-8). “My steps felt right on.”
He broke the 26-year-old school record of Steve Lucas (6-10).
Maricich is the first area 7-footer in 10 years.
Then came the 800 and a chance to see what Zimmerman would have after last week’s 21st-best time in state history (1:51.69). Curnutt and Whitley stayed with Zimmerman every step until the last few meters.
Spokane has had only 10 other runners beat 1:53 in the 800, and never more than two in the same season (1988 and 1966).
Justin Graff of Mead increased his state best in the javelin to 201-01, leading a GSL sweep. Ferris’ Kjelby Oiland increased his area-best shot put to 57-1¼ to top a GSL sweep that included two other PRs.
Mead freshman Wes Bailey, fourth in qualifying, overcame the disappointment of not making the 100 finals to win the 300 hurdles (39.46).
Ferris junior Kelsey Lin won the girls 100 (12.35) and 200 (25.37), and Mead sophomore Baylee Mires won the 800 (2:14.70) and 1,600 (4:58.35) before running anchor on the state-leading 1,600 relay (4:56.52).
Ferris girls went 1-2 in the discus for the second straight week, but this time Alexa Lindseth (130-02) beat Natalie Kyllo (125-5).