The usual spring weather returned Thursday, and Greater Spokane League track athletes persevered.
In a matchup between two of the three girls teams that tied for the league championship last year, Central Valley’s depth was too much for Lewis and Clark under steady rain at Hart Field.
CV piled up 105 points to LC’s 45 while the Bears also cruised past Mead 106-44. Mead topped LC 87-64.
In the boys, Mead’s league dual win-streak reached 60 with victories over CV (75-70) and LC (114-31). CV topped LC 116-29.
CV’s girls dominated the 400- and 800-meter relays and then swept the top three spots in the 1,600 among several highlights.
The sweep in the 1,600 in dual-meet scoring meant nine points for the Bears against both opponents.
It’s the first step for the Bears in trying to claim the league title outright as they did two years ago. It’s likely the title will be decided when CV meets Mt. Spokane, the third team that shared the title last year, in the final week of the regular season.
The Bears overcame several distractions going into the meet. First, it’s prom week, which culminates Saturday. Second, CV was coming off spring break, like the other teams. But third – and arguably the most difficult test for coach Geoff Arte – his wife, seven weeks removed from giving birth to their first child, a boy, underwent emergency surgery for a burst appendix Tuesday evening.
“I was really pleased with everything – the way we competed and the way we handled distractions all week showed a lot of character,” Arte said. “We’re an older team so that helps. Our older kids took care of our younger kids. This group finds a way to win.”
In the 400 relay, Savannah Hoekstra, Kelsey Turnbow, Hailey Hawkins and Mariah Cunningham combined for a season-best time of 50.74 seconds.
Hoekstra, Turnbow, Cunningham and Anna Fomin led the 800 relay, which also had a season best of 1:45.14.
Briegan Bester led the sweep in the 1,600 (5:31.04).
Arte was especially pleased with Hoekstra, a senior who missed last season with a hamstring injury.
“She’s been great and engaged and leading the kids,” Arte said.
CV’s Madison Hovren swept the 100 (16.24) and 300 (48.44) hurdles in season-best times.
“I felt good,” Hovren said. “I felt really confident.”
Hovren believes CV has much room for improvement.
“We can definitely improve in every area,” Hovren said. “We had contributions from everywhere. It was a real team win.”
Mead boys coach John Mires did some math before the meet and had his team falling 20 points short to CV.
A fellow coach pointed out that Mires isn’t a math teacher.
“I was pleased with our absolute competitiveness,” Mires said. “Everywhere, where there had to be a come-through, we had to come through. In 16 of the 17 events we competed our butts off.”
Mires doesn’t believe the streak is a heavy burden to his young team.
“If it’s (the streak) time to be broken it’s time to be broken,” Mires said. “I don’t put my hat on that win-loss thing. This group of young kids has helped me redefine why I do what I do.”
Mead wrapped up the sweep by sweeping the pole vault. Korey Jacque won with a vault of 13 feet, 6 inches and he was followed by teammates Colton McLendon and Braden Barranco, who also cleared 13-6.
There were many season bests despite the unrelenting rain.