Before Coeur d’Alene hurdler Kaitlyn Gunnerson got to Central Valley on Saturday she knew she was going to have a good day.
Especially in the 100-meter hurdles. Then when she discovered the layout of CV’s track, she knew things were in her favor.
Behind a strong tailwind, Gunnerson flew to a personal-best 14.73 seconds, topping the closest competitor by more than a second at the 23rd Strandberg Invitational.
Gunnerson, a junior, topped her previous best of 14.91, also wind-aided, recorded at state last year.
She didn’t like her race overall in the 300 hurdles, but despite going against a strong headwind for about 150 meters, she managed to trim three-hundredths of a second off her season best. She finished second to Moses Lake junior Alysha Overland, who had three wins and probably would have been part of a fourth in a relay had her three senior teammates not decided to stay home for their prom.
It capped a busy week for Gunnerson, who competed in an invitational last Saturday and followed that with the District I Meet of Champions on Thursday when she won both hurdles races and ran a leg on two winning relays.
“The tailwind really helped in the (high hurdles), but even if there hadn’t been any tailwind I would have felt great about the race,” Gunnerson said. “After the meet Thursday, we rested completely Friday. We did heat and iced yesterday. I felt fresh.”
CdA coach Linda Lanker chose to bring a handful of her top girls to Strandberg to put them through state-like conditions. The two-day Region I state-qualifying meet begins next Friday at CdA and concludes Saturday at Lewiston.
Gunnerson was thrilled to go against Overland in the 300 hurdles. Overland is arguably the best hurdler, regardless of classification, in eastern Washington.
“I was hoping to run a better time in the 300s,” Gunnerson said, who finished in 46.23 seconds behind Overland (44.57). “I felt like I had a great start but the wind is what killed me.”
Overland cruised in the 100 (12.38) and the 200 (24.90).
A handful of the top athletes in the Greater Spokane League were competing in meets in the Seattle area. Most of the others didn’t compete at the Strandberg.
CV’s girls and boys took advantage, lapping the field. The CV girls finished with 195 points, well ahead of runner-up East Valley (81). The CV boys tallied 157.5 with University second with 70.
Sophomore Khalil Winfrey of Rogers won the the 100 (11.01) and 200 (22.35). Both were personal bests. Winfrey gave credit to Max Axtell of Freeman for pushing him. Axtell took second in both races.