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Mead shot putter Courtney Hutchinson is the State 4A favorite. (Tyler Tjomsland)

Mead’s Hutchinson eyes 50 feet in shot put

In the Hutchinson family, throwing the shot put has become a rite for the five sisters.

Corissa and Ashley won state championships at Mead and the middle sister, Courtney, joined her older sisters with a state title two years ago as a freshman before finishing runner-up last spring.

Courtney is favored to earn a second state title Friday morning at the State 4A meet at Mt. Tahoma High School in Tacoma. The meet, in conjunction with the 3A and 2A meets, begins Thursday afternoon and concludes Saturday.

Wanting to be just like her older sisters, Courtney said she started throwing as soon as she could walk.

“After they were done throwing (at meets), I’d grab baseballs or rocks and jump in the ring and throw,” Courtney said.

Her two youngest sisters, Jordynn, a third-grader, and Emily, a second-grader, are mimicking Courtney.

“They’re doing the same exact thing I was doing at their age,” Courtney said. “I see a lot of myself in them.”

Courtney took a big jump near the end of the season a year ago. She cracked the 40-foot mark at the district meet and her winning marks have remained more than 40 feet for 11 straight meets.

She eclipsed 45 feet when she went 45-1 in a Greater Spokane League dual in early April. She followed it up with her farthest throw of the year, 47-5, at the Mooberry Relays. At the time it ranked her second in the nation.

“I’ve gotten stronger and my technique has gotten better,” Hutchinson said.

Yet she’s been frustrated lately that she hasn’t exceeded her personal best. She’s thrilled with the consistency, but wants to break 50 – her season goal.

“I haven’t been attacking and throwing like I know I can,” Hutchinson said.

She’s hoping competition at state will get the adrenaline pumping. Seven other state qualifiers have broken 40.

“There’s a lot to not having competition,” Hutchinson said. “Sometimes you throw down to the level competition. I need to really get into the mindset that everyone is throwing over 45 and keep pushing myself. If I bring my best I feel like I will accomplish many great things.”

Team in track: There’s a team element in track beyond the obvious tallying of points.

It occurs in the relays. And two area boys relay teams hope to challenge for state titles.

Mead’s 400-meter relay team of seniors Wes Bailey and Evan Maack and juniors Gunnar Kayser and Austin Stone have been ranked No. 1 most of the season. They’ve shaved time off their personal best in recent weeks and take a season best of 42.31 seconds to state.

They’re ranked second behind Gig Harbor (42.23).

The Mead foursome has wanted to break 42 all season. But a subpar handoff here or there has been the hurdle.

It may take a sub 42 to win state.

Another top area relay team is the University boys 1,600 foursome of senior Matt Fry and juniors Adrian Bonner, Danny Brunner and Austin Upmeyer.

They ran a season-best 3:24.78 to capture a 3A regional title last Saturday. They did so by breaking out a set of throwback jerseys.

Whether the retro look has had an impact on their races is unknown. But they certainly believe more good things are in store at state.

“We’re going to go lower (at state),” Upmeyer said.

Top runners in nation: Six of the top 10 runners in the 1,600 in the nation hail from Washington.

Senior Isaic Yorks of 3A Lakes has the top time in the nation at 4:04.00, which he ran at regionals last weekend. The second-best time belongs to Marcus Dickson of 2A White River (4:05.83).

One area runner is in the top 10. Senior Nathan Weitz of Shadle Park (4:08.30) is seventh.