Spangle prep athletes have never had a track.
Check that. There’s a tiny track around the football field at Liberty High School. It has weeds, mud puddles common in the spring, dips and other impediments. It’s believed to be wide enough for four lanes.
That all changes next spring. Patrons passed a $12 million bond in November 2016. Money for an all-weather, eight-lane track was included along with a new performance gym, first wrestling room and a weight room the community can use. The old gym is also being spruced up.
Liberty athletic director Blaze Burnham is grateful the community stepped up. It’s another example of the momentum that’s been created by the success from the football and basketball programs.
“It’s been a lot of work by a lot of people,” Burnham said.
The track is being built between the football field and the school. Construction began last year. The dirt has been compacted and lifted to form the eight-lane oval. The dirt is being allowed to settle this spring.
Burnham said the asphalt and final topping will be put down in the fall. He hopes to host a league meet and junior high meet next year.
Coach Brian Harrington reported the best turnout in his four years.
“When I started, we had eight or nine kids,” Harrington said. “We didn’t even have enough girls for an official team.”
Liberty had a combined 50 boys and girls this spring. Harrington has taken his athletes to Cheney and Freeman at times for practice.
“We’ve had to do some creative coaching,” Burnham said.
Greater Spokane League teams conclude their dual season Thursday with championships on the line.
In a showdown at North Central, boys co-leaders Ferris and Mead (both 6-0) face off along with 5-1 Mt. Spokane. The meet begins at 4 p.m.
The girls title is expected to be shared between Lewis and Clark and Central Valley, both 6-0-1. They tied in a season-opening dual.
At Post Falls, the annual District I Meet of Champions – where athletes of all classifications face off against each other – takes place. All events begin at 2:30.
The CV boys and girls captured titles at the Strandberg Invitational last Saturday.
Meanwhile, the Lakeside boys and girls cruised to victories at the Undeberg Invite at Ritzville.
The North Central girls traveled west to take third at the Shoreline Invitational.
Here are the top times/marks from area athletes last week:
Boys: Preston O’Neil, Ferris (800, 1:57.27); Tony Pizzillo, Shadle Park (200, 21.98; 400, 48.84); Ryan Leaming, North Central (800, 1:58.54); Ryan Kline, Central Valley (1,600, 4:18.28); Gabe Romney, CV (3,200, 9:18.40); Markus Taylor, NC (3,200, 9:18.97); Aron James, Pullman (800, 1:58.72); Kamron Kinkade, Pullman (pole vault, 14-0); Ben Shaw, Riverside (3,200, 9:05.42); Zach Annanie, Lakeside (pv, 14-6); Phillip Croft, Valley Christian (1,600, 4:14.32); Grant Clark, Lake City (200, 22.47).
Girls: Anna Pecha, CV (800, 2:16.39); Claire Dingus, University (800, 2:18.57); Rebecca Lehman, U-Hi (1,600, 5:05.50); Erinn Hill, NC (3,200, 10:47.87); Allie Janke, NC (3,200, 10:49.10); Samara Nelson, CV (shot put, 44-2); Hailey Leeking, NC (shot, 41-9); Annika Briggs, Ferris (high jump, 5-6); Alvanique Smith, Mead (triple jump, 36-5 3/4); Maya Lebar, Lewis and Clark (tj, 36-5); Mayyi Mahama, Pullman (shot, 42-3); Taylor Bogle, Clarkston (tj, 36-11); Faith Kennedy, Lakeside (400, 57.64); Lillian Kirry, Chewelah (100 hurdles, 15.56; 300h, 46.03); Ashley Sande, St. George’s (400, 58.87); Darby Soliday, Davenport (300h, 46.96); Hannah Davidson, Sandpoint (400, 59.73; 1,600, 5:10.74).