A look at some of the top area qualifiers for the State 4A/3A/2A track and field championships at Mt. Tahoma High School in Tacoma starting today at 4:30. Events start at 10 a.m. on Friday and Saturday:4A boys
Mead, third last year behind Heritage and Todd Beamer, is probably favored, especially with Kentridge losing the state’s top sprinter, Devin St. Clair, to an injury. “We’ve got as good of chance as any,” Mead coach John Mires said. “We have 11 guys qualified with marks across the board that are pretty strong.” Three veteran placers with state-best marks lead Mead: defending high jump champion A.J. Maracich, javelin thrower Justin Graff (fourth last year) and pole vaulter Keith Webber (third). The strongest event for the GSL is the 800, in which Ferris’ Justin Zimmerman, Mead’s Jordan Curnutt (fifth last year) and Central Valley’s Brad Whitley (third), are the top three in the state. Ferris has a shot at a trophy with Zimmerman, second-ranked shot putter Kjelby Oiland, double distance qualifier Adam Thorne and the No. 2 400 relay team. Lewis and Clark could sneak in with javelin throwers Joe Zimmerman (third) and Levi Taylor, also a placing triple jumper (fourth), and 100 qualifier Zach Robinson (third). CV vaulter Kyle Brown is tied with Webber atop the rankings.4A girls
Mead has a good chance to get a trophy. Baylee Mires, 800 and 1,600 (second), and pole vaulter Tasha Clark (third) lead the way for the Panthers, along with Jazmine Redmon and Alexa Banaugh, who are on all three qualifying relays, the mile quartet as state leaders. “I never pay attention to that stuff,” Mead coach Dori Robertson said. “I don’t study it. We lost to Southridge (at regional), but I think we have more big points. We just have to go do the best we can. There’s nothing I can do.” Ferris sprinter Kelsey Linn (sixth in 100) and University hurdler Maddy Fuchs (fourth in 300s) are the other returning placers.3A boys
North Central is favored to defend its team title with the bulk of its points coming in the distances. “If we compete well, we have a great chance,” coach Kelly Walters said. “Union was second last year and has everyone back.” Leon Dean (800, 1,600), Ben Johnston (1,600, 3,200) and Andrew Kimpel (3,200, 1,600) are state leaders and double up, providing depth, along with Alex Avila (800). The Indians also have two contending relays, both ranked second, along with javelin thrower Luke Evans and 300 hurdler Spencer Wordell, who is on both relays. Dean (fifth, fourth) and Kimpel (fifth, second) in both of their events and Wordell in the 400 (seventh), are returning placers.3A girls
Shadle Park could get a team trophy with distance runner Andrea Nelson, versatile Amy Before (long jump, 800), hurdler Shayle Dezellem and javelin thrower Bianca Pope and the 3A-leading 1,600 relay. “Wishful thinking or hopeful thinking, it looks like we could score enough points to get a trophy,” first-year coach Ryan Murphy said. “I’ll keep my fingers crossed.” Nelson was second in the 4A 3,200 last year after placing in both long races as a freshman and Pope was third in the javelin. The other returning placer is Mt. Spokane’s Courtney Zalud in the 800 (sixth) and 1,600 (second).2A boys
With only two advancing, Cheney, West Valley and Pullman may have split up the berths too much to contend, although it would appear the Greyhounds have the best chance at a team trophy. Returning placers are Nick Cassleman of Pullman in the 300 hurdles (fourth) and Cheney’s Diondre Moore-Young in the 110 hurdles (sixth), Nathan Youmans in the long jump (fourth) and Jon Quisenberry in the shot (seventh).2A girls
Sprinter Shelby Maurer leads Cheney toward a trophy after placing in the 100 (fourth) and 200 (second) last year, with Crystal Simmons in the 400 (eighth). Returning placers include Riverside’s Elizabeth McKinney in the 100 hurdles (eighth) and Pullman’s Niina Al Hassan in the 300 hurdles (third).