The Mead boys and Central Valley girls are the favorites to capture the 4A portion of the Greater Spokane League, according to the majority of league coaches.
“We have a true track and field team,” said Mead boys coach John Mires, whose team went 9-0 in GSL dual meets last year. “All events are covered with outstanding, hard-working guys.”
CV and Lewis and Clark shared the District 8 girls team title last spring. The Tigers are expected to push CV again.
In 3A, the defending champion Mt. Spokane boys and girls are expected to add to their vast GSL trophy collection.
“The GSL is always competitive,” said Mt. Spokane girls coach Annette Helling, who has won 11 straight league titles.
Mead: The tradition-rich Panthers return a horde of athletes that finished high in last year’s district meet, including key relay man and sprinter Brendan Green. No individual state placers return for Mead. Girls: Defending district triple jump champion Kate White looks to repeat her senior year.
Central Valley: Longtime CV boys coach Charles Bowden likes his mix and young and experienced talent, including standout distance runner Ryan Kline, the 4A runner-up last season in the 3,200. Girls: The Bears lost a wealth of talent from last year’s team that placed fifth at state, but the program has 125 girls out for track. Molly McCormick, a state qualifier in the 100 and 200 last year, leads the pack.
Ferris: Sprinter and hurdler Chris Homen leads the Saxons after high finishes at the district meet last season and qualifying for state. Girls: The Saxons welcome back Grace Martin (long jump) and Madi VonBrethorst (pole vault), who finished in the top three of the 4A GSL last season in their respective events.
Lewis and Clark: A year after placing sixth in the 400 at the 4A state meet, Jake Hallesy, team captain, leads the Tigers. Girls: LC returns multiple legs from its defending state-champion 800 relay team.
University: U-Hi expects to be strong in middle distance and distance with return of state qualifier Ian Barville (800) and cross country standout Jacob Easton. Girls: Kylie Turner placed fifth and sixth, respectively, at districts in the discus and shot put last season and brings back the most points for the Titans.
Gonzaga Prep: Turlan Moran placed fifth at districts in the 3,200 last season for the experienced Bullpups. Girls: The G-Prep girls are young but experienced, bringing back the bulk of their talent from a year ago, including 4A javelin runner-up Kathleen Horn.
Mt. Spokane: Nine of Mt. Spokane’s 10 state qualifiers return, including triple 3A medalist Spencer Barrera (long jump, triple jump, 400) and discus thrower Tanner Brooks, who placed fourth at state. Girls: The Wildcats again have a loaded, deep roster headlined by defending 3A high jump champion Katie Rhodes. Hana Hill, who won a 1A pole vault title at Lakeside last year, transferred to Mt. Spokane.
Shadle Park: The Highlanders are rebuilding after losing a pair of state champions (sprinter Tony Pizzillo and discus thrower Caleb Johnson), but return promising sophomore Emmett DeLateur (200, pole vault). Girls: Multiple underclassmen placed high in the 3A GSL meet last year, including junior long and triple jumper Savannah Opap.
North Central:The Indians welcome back two legs from their third-place 3A 1,600 relay team. Girls: Sophomore sensation Allie Janke returns after winning state in the 1,600 and second in the 3,200. NC, which has talent across the board, will be paced by its distance runners.
Rogers: The Rogers boys and girls teams are young and still building up their programs, according to coach Brent Palmer.
Returning area state
Boys: Micah Holmes, Lakeside (100); Easton Pomrankey, Kettle Falls (800); Matt Hockendale, Oakesdale (javelin).
Girls: Katie Rhodes (Mt. Spokane, high jump); Allie Janke, North Central (1,600); Hana Hill, Lakeside (now at Mt. Spokane, pole vault); Faith Kennedy, Lakeside (400); Lillian Kirry, Chewelah (100 hurdles); Darby Soliday, Davenport (300 hurdles).
Idaho returning state
Boys: Tyler Trengove, Post Falls (long jump, high jump); Chase Gardom, Timberlake (triple jump).
Girls: Victoria Rae, Bonners Ferry (shot put).