CHENEY - Following the preliminary round in the shot put competition at the WIAA State Track and Field Finals in Cheney, Friday, a mutter went through the crowd: To win, Colville tribal descendant Steven Flowers, a senior at Lake Roosevelt High School, would have to throw a personal record.
The mutter was just an idea - barely stated if at all - ephemeral, like a shared common knowledge amongst those who gathered around the shot put pit on the Eastern Washington University campus.
Last year, Flowers had placed second in the state field event, having thrown 47-feet-08.
Coming into the championship meet, Flowers held the best distance. His mark on the flight sheet of 47-feet-7 was a half-foot longer than Chewelah’s Wade Baker and nearly a foot longer than Napavine freshman Keith Olson.
But in the preliminary rounds, Olson threw for 48-feet-6.25. Baker hit 47-feet-0.25.
Flowers’ younger brother, Josh, scratched on his first throw, then threw for 41-foot-02.50 and 40-foot-03.50 in preliminary round of the same event.
Steven Flowers threw for only 44-feet-2.
“I hadn’t really done my best in awhile. I came in knowing I could hit 50-feet,” said Flowers. “Me and my coach were talking about hitting 52-feet. Deep down, I didn’t believe it. I wasn’t doing my best, so I came out and tried my hardest.”
In the short break between the preliminary round and the final round, as the judges widdled the field down from 16 throwers to eight, Flower said he took some time to himself.
He focused: “Got in the zone, I guess,” he said.
“Going into the finals, I just had a feeling I would hit 50,” he said. “I knew I would hit 50. I just kept telling myself I was going to do it.”
Flowers’ first throw in the finals round measured 47-feet-09.
His second throw dropped into the pit at 51-feet-3.25.
His final throw tallied 51-feet-8.75.
In the small stands, Flowers’ family exploded with excitement.
“I’m proud of myself,” said Flowers. “I’m just glad I got to throw my best in my last meet, in front of my family.”
Flowers’ had qualified for the state tournament in four events, shot put, discuss, 100 meter race and as the leg runner in 4x100 meter relay.
In discuss, throwing Saturday, Flowers finished in eighth place, throwing 126-foot-06.
In the 100-meter race, Thursday, Flowers ran a 11.75, failing to qualify for the finals race by 0.32 seconds.
In the 2B 4x100 relay, Lake Roosevelt was disqualified with a false start.
Okanogan girls win 1A state title after PR wins in 4x100, 4x200
The Bulldog girls ran away with the WIAA State 1A Track and Field title, bringing back to the Okanogan Valley 10 medals, including four first place finishes.
Colville tribal member Daniel Sparks jumped for 34-feet-7.25 in the triple jump, finishing sixth just behind her teammate, tribal descendant Myra Rasmussen, who jumped 35-foot, in the 1A girls triple jump.
Okanogan senior Kendra Sachse, who contributed 38 team points to Okanogan’s win, placed first in the javelin throwing nearly 18 feet further than any other girl in the competition, second in the long jump and first in the 4x100 and 4x200 relays.
Sophomore Renea Taylor, who contributed 36 team points, placed first in the 300 meter hurdles and third in the 200 meter dash, along with her two firsts in the 4x100 and 4x200 relays.
And it was in the relays the Okanogan girls really shined.
Coming into the championship meet, Okanogan was picked to win both the 4x100 and 4x200 races. After all, Okanogan was the returning champions in the 4x200, and they were the only team listed in the flight sheets with a time less than 50 seconds in the 4x100.
They did not disappoint, tallying PRs in both events.
Despite drawing the inside lane in the 4x200, Okanogan’s Caitlyn Barton, Sachse, Taylor and Rasmussen finished with a time of 1:44.40, a full second ahead of Cashmere’s second place 1:45.43.
“This is our second year winning the four-by-two,” said Rasmussen, who ran the anchor leg of the relay. “Doing it from the inside lane is really challenging. You can tell what position you’re in, but it’s hard to know if a girl is coming up. We knew we could do it, but there were a lot of nerves.”
“We were all really tired from yesterday. We just knew we had to push through our pain and get it done,” said Taylor.
In the 4x100, with the same relay team, Okanogan’s girls pushed through the pain again.
Rasmussen ran as the third leg and as she rounded the corner, handing the baton to Taylor, she smiled widely, cheering on her teammate.
“I saw we were in the lead and I knew Renae could keep it,” said Rasmussen. “She went out really strong. I was excited.”
Okanogan finished with a time of 49.11. King’s High School finished second with a time of 49.49.
“We were ready,” said Taylor.
“We had the fastest time coming in and we knew it was going to be a run off with Kings,” said Sachse - the only senior on the relay team (the rest are sophomores). “We knew we were the better and stronger team. We worked a lot harder this year to get to here.”
Nanamkin anchors Brewster’s 4x400 relay to fifth place
Colville tribal member Ernie Nanamkin ran the anchor leg of the 2B 4x400 meter race, in which his Bears finished in 5th with a time of 3:35.09.
Nanamkin finished the long jump with 19-foot-7.25, finishing 9th in the preliminary round.
Nanamkin three 151-feet-9 I’m the 1A javelin competition, tallying the 10th longest throw in the event.
Arden, W-C place in 2B 4x200, 4x100 relays
Colville tribal member MacKenzie Arden and the Wilbur-Creston 4x200 girls relay team placed third in the 2B division, Saturday, at the WIAA Track and Field Championships in Cheney with a time of 1:49.78.
The same relay team, Callie Haden, MacKenzie Arden, Emily Ross and Madison Clark, finished seventh in the 4x100 meter with a time of 52.82.
Cates and Okanogan boys fall in 4x400 preliminary race
Colville tribal member Julian Cates and the Okanogan 4x400 relay team fell out of competition in the preliminary round of the WIAA Track and Field State Championships after running a 3:35.17 race to finish 10th.
8th grader, William Dick runs 1600, 3200, anchor’s Wellpinit relay
Colville tribal members William Dick and Brendan Andrews, running on the Wellpinit 4x100 relay team failed to advance out of their preliminary race, finishing ninth with a time of 47.39. Washington School for the Deaf finished eighth in the preliminary round with a time of 47.36.
Wellpinit’s 4x400 boys relay failed to advance to the championship race, finishing fifth in their preliminary race, with a time of 3:48.13.
Dick, an eighth grader, finished 9th in the 1B 1600 meter race with a time of 4:55.07, and he finished 11th in the 1B 3200 meter race with a time of 10:49.09.