TACOMA – They brought five qualifiers, two alternates and three scored points – and the Mead boys track team captured the State 4A track and field championship Saturday afternoon.
Three-event medalist Joseph Heitman scored 28 of Mead’s 39 points. A winner in the 110-meter hurdles on Friday, Heitman blew away the field in the 300 hurdles, including blowing away the school record.
Heitman also came within an inch of adding a state title in the long jump. He would have had a fourth medal but an exchange was botched in the 400 relay and the Panthers were disqualified. Mead likely would have finished no worse than fourth.
It was Mead’s eighth state title and first since 2010. The total points are the lowest-winning tally since Rogers of Puyallup won with 36 in 1983.
Jackson and Bellarmine Prep tied for second with 31 points.
Thomas Dammarell, the lone senior among Mead’s state qualifiers, finished third in the 110 hurdles and Josh Farr took fourth in the javelin.
Not exactly the blueprint for a state title. But Mead coach John Mires thought fate was on his team’s side for once.
“We’ve had harder fights and we’ve let state (titles) get away from us and points that we didn’t deliver on,” Mead coach John Mires said. “This is the first time that the track gods have smiled on us and said ‘Ok, we’ll take care of you this time.’ The north side of Spokane – pretty good track water. This was a great group of believers.”
The Panthers’ dauber was definitely hanging after the mishap in the 400 relay. But five hours later everything was fine.
Heitman’s time in the 300 hurdles was 37.61, topping his season best (38.66) and breaking the school record (38.20).
He had jumped 22 feet, 11¾ inches in the long jump on his last attempt in the prelims and then checked out so he could go run the 300s.
When he returned, he was in second. He vaulted 23-2 and pulled within an inch of the eventual winner. His last jump came up short.
Heitman said he had a good week of preparation for the 300s.
“I came in with a completely different mindset,” he said. “Me and Mires talked about it all week. I came in relaxed and that’s how I took the whole first half of my race. Then I gave what I had left at the end.”
He took more than a second off his previous best.
“The belief was there,” Heitman said. “I know I haven’t been running nearly as fast all year but my coaches believed in me to get it and I believed in myself.”
Clay Somes of Ferris broke through the 15-foot barrier in the pole vault. And because he did, he became a state champion.
Somes cleared 15-6 to take gold. He secured first when he made 15-0 on his third attempt.
He ranks as the second-best Ferris vaulter all time.
“It was a bigger pole,” Somes said. “Monday and Tuesday I just worked really hard to get on to the next pole. I was ready for it. I needed to move up.”
He made 15-6 on his first attempt.
“Once I get into the groove of things it goes,” Somes said.
He took three attempts at 16-0 but didn’t come close.
“I feel a lot of redemption honestly because I didn’t get to go to state last year because of injuries,” Somes said.
In the girls, Central Valley took third with 54 points. Tahoma won with 91.
Other top area placers Saturday were: Hailey Christopher of CV took second (5-6) in the high jump; defending high jump champ Amanda Chan of Mead tied for third (5-6); Kearan Nelson of CV took second (10:51.69) in the 3,200 and Katie Thronson of Lewis and Clark took third (10:54.85); Anna and Erica Pecha, Anna Fomin and Lacie Hull combined for second in the 1,600 relay (3:52.36); Anna Pecha of CV took third in the 800 (2:12.91); LC’s 400 relay of Emily Greene, Isabella Millsap, Maya Lebar and Anna Rodgers took second (48.22); and Samara Nelson of CV took second in the shot put (41-10¼).