Blackhawks down Pullman for first league track and field win


John McCallum

Eric Igbinoba prepares for landing in the long jump at Thursday’s league meet with Pullman.

It was a busy first week back from spring break for the Cheney High track and field teams. Both boys and girls squads notched their first Great Northern League dual meet win of the season Thursday over Pullman, and split up to compete Saturday at home in the Code Red Classic and on the road at the Pasco Invitational.

Thursday the girls won 12 of 18 events and placed in at least one of the top three scoring spots in 16 events to knock of visiting Pullman 82-68. The boys had similar results, winning 10 of 18 and placing top-three in 16, including a sweep of the 3,200-meter run en route to a 85-56 win.

Eight of the Cheney girls’ wins came on the track. Janessa Day was first in both the 200 and 400, Chae Brown was first in the 100, Sanne Holland in the 1,600, Mariah Brenton in the 3,200 and Kendall Dunn in the 300 hurdles. Mattie McNair was second in the 3,200 and Dunn second in the 100 hurdles, notching a new personal record of 15.60 seconds head coach Tom Stralser said was “huge.”

“She is going to run faster too,” Stralser added. “She’s starting to put it together.”

Cheney notched wins in the 4x200 and 4x400 relays. In the field, Brown collected wins in the triple jump and with a leap of 5 feet, 4 inches, won the high jump in her first time competing in the event.

“Surprised the Pullman people,” Stralser said.

Also collecting wins were Erin Clark in the pole vault and Kinsey Pease in the javelin, with Jamie Bradley and Kendall Case second in each respectively while Kalie Schwendiman was second in the discus.

Saturday the girls finished fourth out of six teams at the Code Red, scoring 92 points and trailing Mead, Mt. Spokane and meet champion East Valley. Cheney’s only first place finishes came in the field where Bradley won the pole vault and Hailey Ottosen set a new PR by 12 feet to win the discus with a throw of 90 feet, 6 inches.

“I was talking to her and she said ‘It felt like I didn’t even throw it, just left my hand and kept going’ and I said ‘yeah, that’s what you do,’” Stralser said.

Brenton was second in the 3,200 and Sherman had a “good time” in finishing second in the 300 hurdles in 51.20, a season PR. The 4x200 team of Schwendiman, Savannah Hyde, Sherman and Kelsey Filmore was second.

Stralser said the weather in Pasco wasn’t much better than in Cheney Saturday, meaning cold and windy. The Blackhawk girls managed to finish 18th with 12.5 points, well back of meet winner Kamiakin.

Day turned in a season-high time of 58.59 for second in the 400, Dunn was seventh in the 300 hurdles and Holland seventh in the 1-mile run.

In boys’ action against Pullman, Calvin Berstler and Samson Brown went 1-2 in the 100 while Eric Igbinoba and Brown went 1-2 in the 200. Jesse Hallstrom captured the 400, with Kyle Lerch and Matt Duray going 1-2 in the 1,600 and Lerch, Duray and Joey Hatzinikolis sweeping the top-three scoring spots in the 3,200.

Berstler won both the 110 and 300 hurdles, with Igbinoba second in the 110 while the 4x100 team took first. Thomas Littau won the pole vault, Joey Kowalski the triple jump while Igbinoba finished second in the long jump. Kyle Labish, Bradley Kinman and Josh Baker went 1-2-3 in the javelin.

Saturday in the Code Red the Blackhawks finished fifth with 64.5 points, well back of meet winner Mead with 200. Samson gave Cheney its only win on the track, capturing the 100 with a time of 11.64, while Kowalski was second in the triple jump with a leap of 40-05 1/2.

Berstler had the only top-10 scoring finish for the boys at Pasco, tying for ninth in the 110 hurdles in 15.64.

John McCallum can be reached at


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