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Shadle Park's Nathan Weitz, left, and North Central's Casey Adams celebrate a photo finish in the 3A 1600-meter final. Adams won. (Colin Mulvany)

Perfect weather helps generate top-shelf track performances in GSL district track

Here is what some nice weather and hot competition produces.

The University boys 1,600-meter relay team runs a season-best by 4 seconds, which is faster than the state meet-qualifying time, but their season ended with the conclusion of the District 8 4A and 3A track meet Friday night at Spokane Falls Community College.

That’s because next week is the regional meet, so state-qualifying standards don’t factor in, and only two 3A teams advanced out of the Greater Spokane League. And that would be Mt. Spokane, which ran a state-leading, meet-record, 3 minutes, 21.52 seconds, and North Central, which, like the Wildcats, broke a school record (3:22.86).

That’s the kind of day it was.

There were, not counting relay participation, veteran multiple winners, including three triple winners in Mead’s Baylee Mires (400, 800, 1,600), Mt. Spokane’s Chase Naccarato (100, 200, long jump) and North Central’s Celena Ward (shot put, javelin, discus).

There were a couple of other impressive records in 3A: Casey Adams in the 1,600 (4:13.29), won by a hundredth of a second; Shadle Park junior Katie Morris in the 800 (2:14.58), with a time that shattered a 23-year-old school record; and Mt. Spokane sophomore Courtney Bray in the pole vault (11 feet, 1 inch).

And just for good measure there was a sub 4-minute mile by Central Valley junior Austin Pruitt in the wheelchair 1,600.

“The planets were aligned,” he joked after going 3:58.34.

If so, they were aligned for a lot of athletes headed to regional Friday at SFCC.

The Mead boys and girls easily won the 4A titles with Central Valley second. The Mt. Spokane girls and NC boys were the 3A winners.

3A

Start here because of the race between Adams and Nathan Weitz, who set the 3,200 record (9:07.55) the night before, in a real photo finish. Add a pair of North Central seniors Vince Hamilton and Andrew Wordell, who backed off down the stretch, and the race produced four of the top 11 times in the state this year.

That opened the door for NC sophomore Keith Williams to win the 800 (1:55.40), though Adams and Wordell also advanced, along with University’s Jon Smith.

“I knew Casey and Andrew ran the mile so I just raced Smith,” Williams said. “He went with 300 to go and I just went with him. Then I took off with 200 to go.”

It was a nice effort for Williams, who had some issues during cross country.

“It was all mental,” he said. “Now I’ve overcome that and I’ve been able to run. I had a lot of expectations in the cross country season and it got to me a little bit.”

The girls 800 was a little more surprising. Morris didn’t really get into the event until running a 2:16 split in the 4x800 relay at the Mooberry Relays.

“We’ve been trying to figure out when was the best time for me to go hard,” she said after taking out Lisa Dressel’s 1988 record. “Today was perfect weather. I was ready.”

Mt. Spokane owned the sprints with Afton McKinley (12.55, 26.34) joining Naccarato (11.04, 22.41).

After battling a hip injury to start the season, McKinley got in her first good 200 just last week.

“I feel good,” she said. “I’m really excited with my time in the 100. We got disqualified in the 4x200 and it got me fired up. I got a new PR. That’s really exciting.”

Shadle Park junior Tiara Pajimola won the 100 (15.83) and 300 (37.62) hurdles.

“I like the 100 hurdles,” she said. “I feel like I’m more prepared for it, it’s easier because I have the 4x2 before it. It’s an easier warmup.”

She was favored in that race but the longer one was a tossup with the emergence of NC freshman Deja Svastisalee.

“I was hoping for (a sweep), but there are a lot of good girls in the GSL,” Pajimola said. “It’s intimidating, girls like Deja, a freshman who’s just as good as the older girls.”

Ward had a simple day, easily winning the discus (122-10) after her Thursday double in the shot and javelin.

4A

The story of this meet mostly involved the usual suspects, such as Mead’s Wes Bailey, the state leader in the 200 and 300 hurdles, winning (21.99, 38.85), and teammate Andrew Gardner adding the 1,600 (4:17.31) to his 3,200, although Mires was somewhat unusual. The two-time defending champion in the 800 and 1,600 is opening the door to another challenge.

“I’m insane,” she said after her three races (58.84, 2:15.11, 5:20.78). “I’ve always secretly wanted to do the 400. … I think it’s my track ADD (attention deficit disorder) that wants it. But I have to see at the next step if it’s worth it, with the 4x4. Right now it’s a tester. I’m still kind of deciding but I want to do it.”

Teammate Tymen Grant entered the 100 finals with a few issues.

“I’ve been trying to beat that freshman CV girl (Savannah Hoekstra) all year,” the Mead junior said. “Malia (Maack), who goes to Mead, I haven’t beaten her all year. Since they’re freshmen I should be faster.”

And finally she produced, running 12.68 to edge Hoekstra and CV sophomore Michelle Nemeth.

In the 200, Gonzaga Prep freshman Kayla Leland closed fast to pass Nemeth and hold off Hoekstra in 26.41.

Ferris junior Megan Davis won the 100 hurdles (16.23).

“I have diabetes and I was having blood sugar problems before,” she said. “I was worried how that would affect my race. I’m usually able to keep a pretty good handle on it. I was nervous all day, I think that had a lot to do with it.”

Pruitt tried his first serious 3,200 on Thursday and had a huge PR of 8:33.

“They told me it was what I could do, I think it finally just processed because of what I did yesterday,” he said, clipping almost 19 seconds off his season best and 15 off his PR. “I totally killed it. It’s been one of my goals since I was a freshman. To finally do it two years later shows what training and practice can do.”

CV’s Billy Rowell had a PR of 57-8 in winning the shot put.

2A

Diondre Moore-Young stole the show in the District 7 2A meet at West Valley by winning the 100 (11.29), 200 (22.86), 110 hurdles (14.55) and 300 hurdles (39.84).

That helped the Blackhawks score 193½ points to outdistance East Valley (141).

West Valley’s Joe Aubert upped his area best in the pole vault to 14-6.

The Cheney girls scored 150 points with EV second (136½). Janssa Day won the 200 (26.25) and 400 (57.61) for the Blackhawks.