This was the easy week for Greater Spokane League track teams at Spokane Falls Community College.
Things will be dramatically different next week when the 4A and 3A regionals return to SFCC.
The top eight individuals and top four relays in 4A and 3A advance to regionals against the Mid-Columbia Conference teams. Next week, the top two in each event advance to state.
Mead’s boys (200.75 points) and Central Valley’s girls (223.83) romped to District 8 4A championships as the two-day event concluded Friday while North Central’s boys (150) prevailed in a tightly contested District 8 3A team race and the Mt. Spokane girls (200.75) prevailed.
4A: Andrew Gardner paced Mead, firing out when the gun sounded in the 1,600 meters as if it were a sprint.
Gardner, a state champ last spring in the 1,600 and 3,200 and a state cross country champion last fall, set a brisk pace early with Lewis and Clark’s Sumner Goodwin.
Both runners went through the finish line on a 4-minute-mile pace halfway through. But the pace slowed measurably on the third lap before Gardner secured the win with a time of 4 minutes, 11.99 seconds. It was his season best.
“I was going to go from the start of the gun,” said Gardner, who is headed to the University of Washington. “My mouth got hot and dry (on the third lap). It will only get faster at state.”
Mead advanced more than 40 to regionals.
“We took the approach that the top eight placers were winners,” Mead coach John Mires said. “Next week there will be a lot of pressure. There will be no wiggle room.”
The CV girls rode depth to their title.
“Our depth really showed through today,” first-year Bears coach Geoff Arte said. “We had a lot of kids have (season bests). This group just keeps finding ways to win.”
Ferris sprinter Alex Tullos was named the track athlete of the meet and Ferris thrower Damon Unland was named the field athlete of the meet in the boys while Mead thrower Courtney Hutchinson was the field athlete of the meet and Gonzaga Prep sprinter Kayla Leland was named the track athlete of the meet in the girls.
The evening was chock-full of outstanding performances.
Tullos was a double winner in the 100 and 200. It came down to a photo finish in the 100 as he won in a time of 10.98 seconds, just a chest lean ahead of Mead’s Davian Barlow (10.99).
It was the first time in three tries that Tullos beat Barlow. Tullos was trailing at the 75-meter mark.
“I just tried to catch up with him and lean,” Tullos said. “I got wider with the my strides.”
Tullos was part of a 1-2-3 Ferris finish in the triple jump. Isaiah Troutt won with a leap of 45 feet, 1 inch.
In one of the more competitive races, Daniel Schofield of Mead prevailed in the 800 (1:54.84) over G-Prep’s Frankie Hoerner (1:55.28).
3A: The Mt. Spokane girls swept the relays, and they did so with better times than the 4A schools.
The foursome of Kelly Brown, Cheyenne Konrad, Arizona Davis and Ashlee Pedersen broke the district record in the 800 relay (1:44.21).
Pedersen was victorious in the 400 (58.90).
Another Wildcat who stepped up big was Courtney Bray in the pole vault. She improved her personal best by 5 inches, clearing 12-9 and breaking the district record (11-0) she shared.
Bray had two good tries at 13-¼.
“I felt good today, like it was supposed to happen,” Bray said.
Bray was named the 3A field athlete of the meet while Katie Knight of NC, who ran a season best in the 1,600 (5:01.39), was the track athlete of the meet.
In the boys, Austin Upmeyer of University – who won the 200 (22.30) and 400 (49.45) and anchored the winning 1,600 relay (3:25.86) – was named the track athlete of the meet and Brandon Gleese, who captured the long jump (22-3), was named the field athlete of the meet.
Andrew Morgan of U-Hi had a breakthrough in the high jump. In the shadow of defending state champ and teammate Eddie Gonzalez much of the season, Morgan won with a personal best 6-8.
“When I got here (Friday), I put it in my mind that no matter what happens I’ve got to do my best and it doesn’t matter what anybody else does,” Morgan said.
A talented distance corps led the NC boys.
Keith Williams of NC doubled in the 800 (1:57.71) and 1,600 (4:15.77).
David Blue, also of NC, won the 300 hurdles (40.22) and ran a leg on the Indians’ winning 400 relay (43.08).
“I should have cracked 40 in the 300s,” Blue said. “I expected to do that.”