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Michel, Willson impressive at district track meet

The age-old question of taking on a daunting challenge was answered emphatically – “because it’s there” – by a pair of runners who went to extremes during the District 7 2B track and field state-qualifying meet at Whitworth University Tuesday afternoon.

Republic’s Nik Michel and Colfax’s Morgan Willson took on a formidable distance quadruple, running the 800-, 1,600- and 3,200-meter races, then anchoring their respective schools’ 4x400 relay teams.

Michel’s was particularly onerous, with three of those races coming within the space of an hour and nearly pulling it off. He won the three individual races, the metric mile early, the other two nearly back-to-back before missing state by 0.4 seconds in the relay that came shortly thereafter.

The top three individuals and teams qualified for state May 28-29 at Eastern Washington University in Cheney. Michel took the baton in fourth place, raced into second-place contention, but couldn’t maintain down the stretch in the face of Reardan sprinter Chace Bell.

“I just warm up, eat right and try not to think about it,” Michel said. “I did a lot of training this year, feel healthier and fast.”

So he decided to give the foursome a shot. So did Willson, who made good on the quartet spread throughout the day. The state cross country champion, and state track placer the spring before as a freshman, said that with more training she has had an improved year.

“I’m not aiming at anything other than to finish in the top three,” she said following a 26-second 3,200 victory to begin her day. She won by 4 seconds in the 1,600 and gutted out 800 and relay first-place finishes late.

It was part of an impressive day for Bulldogs. The defending track champion girls rolled up 159 points and the boys surprised their coaches with 119 points for the team title sweep.

Colfax’s girls won eight events and send competitors in 13 to state, including double hurdles victor Kayla Johnson, who also anchored two relay titles. The boys won three events and advance state competitors in eight.

Reardan put together a strong boys team led by Bell, who won the 100, 200 and long jump, besides anchoring the long relay.

Teammate Grant Schultz just missed a meet record at 6-foot-6 in the high jump, but Lind-Ritzville’s James Coon got one at 170-7 in the javelin.

District 7 1B

This is the final go-around in Odessa for three-sport athlete Aaron Bruya’s track career and just the start for Northport freshman Kassie Guglielmino.

Bruya, a top-three placer in three events in the State 1B meet last year, and Guglielmino were among the many multievent qualifiers during District 7 competition at Whitworth.

The Tigers senior captured the long jump, which he won at state last year, and finished second in two other events. He was, however, denied a return appearance in the triple jump where he finished second.

Guglielmino, meanwhile, set meet records in three sprints.

The top two placers in each event advanced to state.

Columbia and Curlew flexed their team muscles. The Lions boys scored 139 points and advanced athletes in 10 events.

Curlew topped Columbia 141.5-126.5 in the girls meet.