RICHLAND – North Central girls track coach Kelly Harmon paced around the infield of Fran Rish Stadium on Saturday, awaiting the final team tallies of the District 8 4A and 3A meets.
His team and hundreds of other athletes and coaches were packing up and heading toward their respective buses when a meet official carrying a stack of trophies tossed Harmon a hint.
“You might want to call your team back out here,” the official said.
A group of smiling, red-and-back clad athletes began running toward the podium before showing off their latest hardware with a celebratory chant.
NC’s girls racked up 134 points to share the 3A girls title with Kamiakin. Mt. Spokane placed fourth with 85.
The tradition-rich Indians leaned on their distance stalwarts in sophomore Allie Janke and junior twins Erinn and Mia Hill, who finished 1-2-3 in both the 1,600 and 3,200 meters.
Janke, a defending state champion and one of the countries’ best underclassmen, breezed to wins in the 3,200 (10 minutes, 46.96 seconds) and 1,600 (5:00.82), well below her top marks.
Janke, the Hill sisters and Amelu Ruff also teamed up to win the 1,600 relay (4:03.38), the day’s final event that ultimately vaulted NC to a share of the team title.
NC junior Elisa Tosetto won the long jump (17 feet, 6 inches).
“It’s fun when us distance kids get to sprint a little bit in that relay,” Mia Hill said. “Overall, though, I thought everyone did well in their events today. We really came together.
“Hopefully, we can score a lot of points next week, too, and bring home a trophy.”
Last season, NC finished second at the State 3A meet, which begins Thursday at Mt. Tahoma High School in Tacoma.
The State 4A and 2A meets also begin Thursday at the same venue.
Other 3A Greater Spokane League girls athletes to win District 8 titles on Saturday included Shadle Park triple jumper Victoria Arnold (36-2), Rogers 300 hurdler Lidiya Pankova (46.53), and defending state champion high jumper Katie Rhodes of Mt. Spokane (5-6).
Spencer Barrera did what many expected.
The Mt. Spokane standout and future Idaho Vandal won titles in 400 (48.83) and triple jump (44-10), and took third in the long jump (21-8), but his gutsiest performance came last.
He anchored Mt. Spokane’s winning 1,600 relay (3:24.52), switching to fifth gear in the final 200 meters to pass by Kennewick (3:25.07).
Mt. Spokane (154 points) placed second to Kamiakin (214) in the team race. The Wildcats also had wins by Ryan Miller (shot put, 48-2) and Joey Woodland (javelin, 165-6).
NC placed fifth (63 points), boosted by senior distance runner Alec Kness.
Kness raced in one of the state’s most competitive 800 finals and found himself trailing a pair of the 3A classification’s best, Cameron Gutierrez (Kamiakin) and Johan Correa (Kennewick), in the final 100 meters.
Kness was on their heels before finding his kick and maneuvering around them, pushing ahead for the win (1:54.81).
“I knew that I couldn’t go to the inside, so I took it wide,” said Kness, who also took second in the 1,600 (4:17.95). “That was a great race.”
Kness, who had personal-best times in both races, said he is running at Community Colleges of Spokane next season.
Lewis and Clark speedster Sativa Rogers took a season off from track last season for personal reasons.
Rogers promised her mom she’d lace up her track spikes for her senior season, though. She kept her word.
Rogers won a title in the 100 (12.05), beating second-place teammate Samiah Kuntz (12.26) and fifth-place Lillian Ellis (12.9), another teammate.
Rogers also won the long jump (18-0), and teamed up with Kuntz, Ellis and Kate Picanco to win the 400 relay (48.39).
Kuntz won the 200 (25.62) for LC, which placed third (97.5 points) in the team standings ahead of fourth-place Central Valley (82.50). LC and CV shared the title last year.
Mead sisters Jordan and Emily Hutchinson also won. Jordan was victorious in the shot put (141-11), and Emily won the discus (126-6).
Kate White won her second district title in the triple jump (36-11) for Mead, which placed sixth.
Gonzaga Prep, which finished seventh, had a pair of winners in javelin thrower Madison Tareski (133-8) and pole vaulter Reagan Crain (11-9)
CV (79 points) placed second behind Walla Walla (118), getting a pair of wins from its top distance and middle-distance runners.
Ryan Kline, who placed second at the State 4A meet last year, won the 3,200 (9:07.77), the best time of the future Idaho Vandals’ prep career.
CV’s Joey Nicholls won the 800 (1:56.24).
Ferris, which finished fourth, had wins from 300 hurdler Badradin Mohamed (49.34) and long jumper Cole Omlin (22-10).
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