Staff Reporter 

Surprises emerge for Cardinals from windy Freeman track meet

Sophomore Tellas Johnson ‘blew everybody’s doors off’ in 100, 200


Tellas Johnson

The first Northeast A League track meet produced some pleasant surprises for Medical Lake.

The meet, which featured Medical Lake and Newport visiting Freeman last Wednesday saw the Cardinals turn in some better than expected team scores and see the emergence of what may be a secret weapon.

The Cardinal boys earned a 94-44 win over Newport but fell to Freeman 74-56. The girls got a 76-55 decision over Newport but lost 90-58 to Freeman on a windy, windy day.

“We didn’t do as well against Newport as I thought and Freeman we actually did better than I thought we would do,” Medical Lake co-coach Steven Keith, said.

A pair of sophomore speedsters dominated the sprints for Medical Lake, Tellas Johnson with the boys and Amarah Nicholson on the girls’ side.

The biggest surprise, Keith said, was from Johnson who won both the 100 and 200 meters, plus finished second in the high jump with a 5 foot, 2 inch leap.

Johnson came out of nowhere this season after joining the team late, Keith said. “He just went out there and blew everybody’s doors off. He’s ranked in the state in 1A in the 100 and 200 in his first meet.” His 11.33 second time beat Freeman’s Max Axtell (11.34) in a photo finish.

Just from practice it was evident he was a sprinter and jumper, Keith said.

In the high jump Johnson had just run the 100-meters and had issues with a wet approach and did not do so well. But the day before in practice had a pair of 5 foot, 8 inch jumps which let coaches know he has the ability.

“He’s definitely got potential to do six feet and above,” despite only having high jumped a handful of times. Johnson, who played basketball this past winter, enrolled at Medical Lake after his family transferred here from Virginia. He’d last competed in track in middle school.

Nicholson is a well known commodity for the Cardinals and she performed as expected sweeping the sprints. Her 100 meter time of 13.02 was a over a second better than the runner-up. Nicholson’s 200 time of 27.56 allowed her to edge Newport’s Arielle Walden (28.15) and breezed to the 400 meters with a 1:08.50-1:16.90 win over Carol Sperling, also from Newport.

“Her 400 time was not too good because she was literally running into a 30 mile-per-hour headwind,” Keith said. “Everybody on that backstretch didn’t know if they were running or standing still.”

Libbie Klettke had a great afternoon in throwing events winning the shot put, javelin and discus. Her 104 foot, 3 inch toss in the jav gave her an easy win over Beth Primmer of Freeman (76-11) and was just a foot off her all time PR.

Klettke’s always been a powerhouse for Medical Lake, ever since freshman year. “She’s been doing really well but just not competing to her top form,” Keith said of the senior. “Now all of a sudden she’s starting to get some throws off. That’s really awesome to see.”

Senior Zeb Klemke collected a pair of wins in the 800 and 1,600 meters – and he wanted more.

“Zeb was running like crazy,” Keith said. “There was one point where he was doing so good he wanted to run the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 and we decided to take him out of the 32.” Klemke led the way in both events with the Cardinals claiming the top three spots.

Klemke’s 2 minute, 13 second time bested Domenic Rehm (2:16) and Micah Dingfield (2:17) in the 800 as well as in the 1,600 where he finished with a 5:04 to Rehm’s 5:07 and Dingfield’s 5:08.

Klemke wanted to try for the triple win. “Coach I really want to run it, I want to win all three by myself,” Keith said. He and coach Gene Blankenship decided to pull Klemke from the 3,200 and let Dingfield run instead. The sophomore won in a four-way Medical Lake sweep with an 11:30, topping Luke Alvarado (11:32), Tim Chernishoff (11:39) and Noah Kroeze (11:51).

Other Medical Lake wins on the boys’ side came from Micah Tappero with a 113-06 in the discus. The boy’s 4x 100 relay team of Jared Wright, Cody LaPorte, Jackson Tappero and Johnson scored a big win when their 47.19 second time topped Newport’s 48.76. Freeman’s favored team was disqualified after dropping the baton.

The girls 4 x 100 team of Sabrina Earle, Holly Marsh, Elani Fitch and Alexandria Viloria also collected the win in a time of 1:02.55.

Medical Lake hosted Lakeside in an NEA dual-meet this past Wednesday and are scheduled to send competitors to both the Quincy Invite and Mooberry Relays in Spokane Saturday.

Paul Delaney can be reached at


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