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LC’s Cunningham wins javelin on last throw

Finally, someone broke tradition at a track meet and said doing your best wasn’t the only thing that mattered.

“I was bummed, I’m not going to lie,” Gonzaga Prep’s Jaz Crum said after losing the 4A girls javelin title on a last throw at the District 8 track meet at Spokane Falls Community College Thursday night.

But then, again, winning didn’t matter as much to her as throwing the pain-free personal record she popped to put her in position to be disappointed.

Crum, who threw 128 feet, 10 inches as a sophomore and 127 feet last year before a back injury shut her down, entered the regional-qualifying competition with a season best of 120-2. All her frustration was erased on her first throw of 133-0.

“It’s been tough, but I knew I had it in me,” she said. “I felt a good day coming on. It’s so nice and I’ve been getting a lot stronger. There was a lot of frustration before I threw that.”

Then just before Crum’s final throw, Lewis and Clark junior Caity Cunningham, who was sitting at 125-11, improved her PR by 13 inches with a throw of 133-5.

“You never know what to expect,” Cunningham said. “I just popped it out, it was a great feeling.”

Crum, who plans to throw at Montana State next year, felt the same way – after the initial disappointment.

“I had such a good meet and it’s been such a tough season,” Crum said. “She’s a good thrower, so I’m proud of her. Those 5 inches I can pick up next week.”

The girls javelin turned out to be one of the premier events on the first day of the two-day meet, which advances five 4A athletes and eight 3A athletes to the regional next weekend in Yakima.

Celena Ward of North Central unleashed a throw of 138-5, a 4-foot, 4-inch PR that matched the area best and No. 3 mark in the state of Central Valley’s Shannon Johnson, who was third in the 4A competition.

“Warming up, I just figured something out,” Ward said. “The season is coming to an end and the school record is 140-1, so I want 140-2 at least. I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I was hoping to stay in the 130’s, stay near my PR. Now I only need 2 feet.”

While those were just good old-fashioned performance stories, there were a couple of other redemption stories.

Chase Naccarato, who made state in the 100 as a freshman and broke the Mt. Spokane school record as a sophomore, false-started and was disqualified. He turned that into extra motivation to help the Wildcats set a school record of 43.13 seconds n the 400-meter relay.

“Actually it motivated me a little more,” Naccarato said of his first false start. “I was ready to run and I just had a slip-up. It motivated me to run faster for my team.

“I was leaning too far forward and my thumb buckled and I fell forward a little bit before the gun went off. It bothers me … I had high expectations of what I wanted to do this year. But live to run another day. I have a lot more races this year and next year I’ll come back ready to go.”

Jazmine Redmon had the same type of day. The Mead senior was straining to catch Kit Parker in a battle for second place in the 4A girls 400 relay when she dropped the baton barely a stride from the finish line. By the time she stopped, retreated, picked it up and stepped over the line the Panthers were fourth – when only three relays advance.

She took that frustration to the long jump pit, where she popped off a leap of 17-8½, breaking a school record that is almost four decades old.

“I went down and then went up,” Redmon said of her emotions. “I was so mad, so angry. It was in the back of my mind and I think it helped.”

But even after that she didn’t forget the teammates she let down.

“That hurts a lot,” she said. “I felt bad. I still do.

“I was focusing on getting the LC girl, I pulled my arm and the baton nicked my leg and dropped.”

Today will have at least one feel-good story when Central Valley’s Billy Rowell competes in the shot put. Rowell, who threw 52-10 as a sophomore, severely injured an ankle playing pickup basketball in January and had surgery in early March, effectively ending his season. He came back to qualify for district with a 53-foot throw last week.

Idaho Region I

Coeur d’Alene leads the boys and girls 5A competition and Sandpoint the 4A after the first day of the Region I track meet at Lewiston.

Shae Carson won the shot put and discus to lead the CdA girls.

Latecia Powell of Lakeland won the girls long and triple jumps in the 4A meet. Mike Hubbard of Sandpoint was also a double winner, with victories in the high and long jumps.