The state meet last year whet the appetite of Coeur d’Alene hurdler Morgan Struble.
Now Struble is hoping to run times unheard of in Idaho this spring in the 100- and 300-meter hurdles.
Struble added to a modest résumé last year, culminating with a record performance at state. She broke the 5A state meet record in the 300 with a school- and personal-best 43.40 seconds running against a stern head wind. She finished second in the 100 in 14.44, four hundredths of a second behind the winner. Although both times were better than the meet record (14.45), the race was wind-aided.
Those times would have been fifth best in Washington in the 100 and third best in the 300 last year.
Her goals this season are mind boggling. She wants to break 14 in the 100 and 43 in the 300.
“To me it’s reasonable considering how much time she took off last year,” CdA coach Linda Lanker said.
“The amount I improved last year was so dramatic if I do that this year I can reach my goals,” Struble said. “I feel a lot stronger this year. I did a lot of endurance work during the winter and when the season started we did a lot of long running, more than my race distances.”
Struble was living in Missoula through her sophomore year when her father got a job transfer to the Coeur d’Alene area.
About a month before the Strubles moved, they visited the area to find a school and place to live. When Struble walked into Coeur d’Alene High, she was beyond excited when she discovered that the school’s head track coach was a national-level coach who has been coaching hurdlers for 30 years.
“She’s had a crazy impact on me,” Struble said. “She’s helped me better my times and strive to get really good. She’s such an inspiration.”
The horrid weather this spring has reduced her speed work. In fact, she wore shorts at practice for the first time Monday.
She started working on speed and polishing technique in a special Easter Sunday practice with Lanker.
“You cannot hurdle in the rain, snow or hail unless you want to get hurt,” Lanker said. “Obviously, the weather has gotten in the way. She’s only going to get faster from this point on.”
Struble is the complete package. She carries a 4.15 grade-point average and wants to study engineering and alternative energy in college.
She signed with the University of Hawaii after discovering the school had the engineering program she desired. She was offered scholarships by Arizona and Sacramento State and visited all three schools.
Struble will have no problem leaving the traditionally wet and seasonable spring weather for the warmth in Hawaii.
She hopes to make some strides on her goals Saturday at the 51st Pasco Invite.
“She’s the best female high school athlete I’ve ever coached,” Lanker said. “I get so much more joy out of seeing kids succeed and go on and do well. It’s way more rewarding than anything I did.”
Next half century
The prestigious Pasco Invite, the largest one-day meet in the nation, reached 50 years old last year and begins the pursuit of the century mark Saturday morning at Edgar Brown Stadium. The meet begins at 9:30.
The meet offers state-caliber competition on the track and in the field. Wenatchee’s boys and Kentwood’s girls are the defending champs and Mead’s boys and girls are the defending combined team champ.
Perhaps the best news is a favorable weather forecast that calls for sunshine and mid-60s temperatures.
A handful of area athletes will be back to defend titles. They are: Aaron Castle of Newport (shot put), Wes Bailey of Mead (200 and 400 relay), the North Central boys 1,600 relay and Courtney Hutchinson of Mead (shot).
• Elsewhere Saturday, junior varsities and 2A schools will be at the Big Red Classic in Cheney; the seventh annual Undeberg Invitational, hosted by Ritzville and Reardan, is at Medical Lake; and the Interstate Invitational is at Freeman.
• With spring break behind them, Greater Spokane League teams have their second duals today.
The Mead boys (2-0) and girls (2-0) along with the University boys (0-1) and girls (1-0) are at Shadle Park, where the Highlanders boys (1-1) and girls (0-2) unveil their new track; the North Central boys (1-0) and girls (0-1) take on the Mt. Spokane boys (1-1) and girls (1-1) at Mt. Spokane; the Central Valley boys (0-2) and girls (2-0) face the Lewis and Clark boys (1-0) and girls (1-0) at Hart Field; and the Rogers boys (0-2) and girls (0-2) and Ferris boys (2-0) and girls (1-1) meet the Gonzaga Prep boys (0-1) and girls (0-1) at G-Prep. All meets begin at 3:30.
• NC junior Katie Knight finished third Saturday in the 3,200 at the Arcadia (Calif.) Invitational. Her time was 10:20.11, about 5 seconds off her personal best. It was her first 3,200 of the season.