PASCO – The 52nd Pasco Invite was a day for Inland Northwest track and field athletes to shine.
On a partly cloudy day with a chilly breeze that steadily freshened into a stiffer wind as the meet proceeded, Spokane-area teams took a backseat to 11 individual winners and a victorious relay.
More than 1,400 athletes representing 110 schools participated in what’s believed to be the biggest single-day meet in the nation.
Jordan Ward of Lakeland had to go to a sixth jump-off with Harley McBride of Columbia-Burbank before Ward prevailed in the high jump.
A two-time Idaho 4A state champ, Ward and McBride both missed on three attempts at 5 foot, 6 inches. An audit of their previous jumps revealed both had the same amount of misses, requiring a jump-off to determine the champ.
With Ward jumping first in the head-to-head tiebreakers, both made 5-6. Both missed when the bar was raised to 5-7.
Then both missed at 5-6, both cleared 5-5, both missed again at 5-6 and then Ward made 5-5 and McBride missed.
“It was a long day,” Ward said. “I’m so tired.”
Ward’s exhaustion was heightened considering she had jumped Friday afternoon in a meet at Freeman before she and her parents drove to Pasco in the evening.
She tied her personal best.
“I took 17 jumps,” Ward said. “I’m extra tired from (Friday). I had a couple of doubts, I wasn’t expecting to win, but I was definitely confident in myself. It means a lot. It shows that if you work hard you can improve.”
Mead thrower Courtney Hutchinson didn’t break the invite record in the shot put, but she couldn’t argue with her consistency as she defended her title with a throw of 45-5½.
She fouled on her first two throws – attempts that hit the 50-foot chalk line in the pit. So she had to scale her final throw to advance to the finals. That shortened attempt of 42-5 would have won.
In the finals, she had successive throws of 45-5, 45-5½ and 44-4.
Katie Knight of North Central cruised to victory in the elite mile (4 minutes, 52.80 seconds) and took second in the shortest distance race, the 800.
“I always keep knocking at the 4:50 door,” Knight said. “You could really feel the wind.”
Post Falls hurdler Wednesday Walton ran two personal bests in the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles. She won the 300 (44.95) and was second in the 100 (15.41) after posting a 14.98 in the preliminaries.
“It went really well,” Walton said. “I ended up finishing exactly where I thought I would. I wanted to come out with two (personal bests) and I did.
“It’s the most fun I’ve ever had a meet.”
Courtney Bray of Mt. Spokane matched her personal best in the pole vault to win with a jump of 12-3.
Kara Story of Coeur d’Alene won the 1,600 (5:11.83).
Kamiakin’s girls, led by four-event winner and female outstanding athlete of meet Ellie Heiden, lapped the field to defend their title with 101 points. North Central (33) was fourth and CdA (28) tied for sixth.
Steven Beck of Post Falls had a day he’ll remember a long time.
Beck won the pole vault with a school-record vault of 14-6.
There were four vaulters left at 14-6. Beck jumped first and he aborted his first sprint down the runway.
After regrouping, Beck made 14-6 on his first attempt. His competitors all went out.
It’s a vast improvement over the way his season finished last year. He took eighth at state (13-10) but broke the tips of two vertebras when he landed off the protective pad on concrete.
He took three attempts at 15-0 but fell short. That’s the height he wants to clear this season.
“For me this is a really big meet. It’s bigger than state,” Beck said. “I came down with my ‘A’ game and was ready to do my best.”
Damon Unland of Ferris had a mixed bag of results – after posting the second-best discus throw (190-3) in the nation last weekend to win at the Arcadia Invitational near Los Angeles.
He captured the discus Saturday with a throw of 176-11 and placed third in the shot with a personal best 57-8, a half-inch out of second.
Not bad after Unland didn’t practice all week. He wanted to give an irritated groin injury some rest.
North Central long-distance runners Keith Williams and Tanner Anderson won the elite mile and 3,200, respectively.
Williams finished in a time of 4:15.46 and Anderson posted 9:10.97.
“I wanted to run really fast today but the race didn’t pan out that way,” Williams said.
Anderson ran 5 seconds faster at Arcadia.
“I was happy with the win. Any win is a happy win,” Anderson said. “And 9:10 is nothing to frown at.”
Carson Murray of Rogers captured the triple jump (44-6¾) to lead a 1-2-3 finish for Greater Spokane League jumpers.
Wenatchee speedster Isaiah Brandt-Sims captured the 100 and 200 to earn outstanding male athlete of the meet honor. It was good enough to lead the Panthers past defending champ Mead for the team title.
Wenatchee finished with 47 points, five better than Mead.
Mead’s hopes were bolstered by a foursome that won a specialty event, the distance medley.
Andrew Gardner, Nate Medellin, Nathan Ellis and Daniel Schofield combined in a time of 10:36.71 to edge NC.
NC tied with Garfield for fourth (35), University took sixth (33.5) and Ferris was seventh (25).