Cheney Free Press -


Staff Reporter 

Cardinals collect PRs, podium spots at state competition


Paul Delaney

Medical Lake’s Amarah Nicholson leads runners across the finish line in last Friday’s preliminary heat in the 100-meter run at the State 1A track championships at EWU’s Roos Field. The win qualified Nicholson for Saturday’s final where she lost in a photo finish to Abi Kim of Seattle Christian.

The state 1A track championships staged last weekend at Eastern Washington University might not have produced a first place finish for Medical Lake but one of their coach’s came away with a smile.

“There were some excellent performances by Amarah (Nicholson) and Micah (Dingfield),” co-head coach Gene Blankenship said. “Amarah PR’d in the 200 (meter run), a lifetime PR for her, a 26.07,” in a losing effort to Abi Kim of Seattle Christian who clocked a 25.54 second victory. Nicholson’s time in the 200 was the second-fastest in ML history.

In the 100 Kim and Nicholson were clocked dead even at 12.68 seconds with some observers saying the Medical Lake sophomore won.

There will be no rematch since Nicholson has likely run her last race for the Cardinals, Blankenship said. Her father’s two-year stint at Fairchild Air Force Base has ended and the family reportedly will be moving to a new base.

Nicholson’s efforts helped the Cardinals earn a 14th place in the girls’ team standings with 16 points. Cedar Park Christian won the team title with 67 points while ML’s Northeast A competitors Riverside, (2nd, 44 points), Lakeside (3rd, 42) and Newport (8th, 28) rounded out the local finishers.

The Cardinal boys scored 18 points and finished 15th behind Hoquiam’s 71. Riverside (4th, 32) and Chewelah (13th, 19.5) finished ahead of Medical Lake. It was their best state finish since a third place in 2004.

Another sophomore, Tellas Johnson looked really good in the 100-meter his coach said of his 11.01 to 11.30 loss to Nolan Hoiness of Hoquiam. “He actually came out hurting a little bit after the 4x100 and it may have hurt his performance in the 200,” Blankenship said.

“The 4x100 kids ran real good, 44.09, we got a little behind on the first handoff and never could quite make it up,” Blankenship said. The finals did elevate the Cardinals to third after a fourth in the preliminaries. “There was some improvement there.”

Blankenship said he thought the best performance of the day came from sophomore Dingfield with a time of 9 minutes, 52.41 seconds. “That’s the second fastest time ever for a 3,200 meter runner in Medical Lake history,” Blankenship said. “He was 10 seconds off the school record. Dillon Quintana of Mt. Baker won in a time of 9:32.74. Dingfield was fifth just before the finish line “and just got nipped,” his coach said.

“All in all it was a good state track meet for us,” Blankenship said as four Cardinal competitors placed.

Zeb Klemke started strong but faded to finish 12th in a time of 4:40.74 back of the 4:25.98 recorded by Ruben Riordan of the Charles Wright Academy. To his credit through his four years running at Medical Lake, Klemke’s group will be remembered for returning distance running to prominence at the school his coach said.

Domenic Rehm, another sophomore, was15th in a solidly stacked field in the 800-meter preliminaries.

Senior Libbie Klettke finished 13th in the dicsus in her state debut with a throw of 95 feet, 5 inches in the finals.

“I’m pleased with the season, I’m pleased with the kids and it was really exciting for me to end with Micah’s 32 after not doing to good (as a team) in the 16 the day before,” Blankenship said.

Paul Delaney can be reached at


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