Cheney Free Press -



Hawks compete well in difficult conditions at Highlander


John McCallum

Kameron Galm gets out ahead of a pack that includes teammate Steaven Zachman early in Saturday’s junior boys race at the Highlander Invitational.

It’s tough enough getting on a cross country course for the first time in a season and facing competition other than from teammates.

Add in searing blue skies, hot, 90-degree plus temperatures, a fleeting hint of wind and a tad muggy air conditions, and you’ve got what Cheney runners faced last Saturday at Shadle Park High School during the Highlander Invitational. Even with those conditions, the impacts of which were shown on many runners, Blackhawks head coach Jay Martin said his squads did well in their first race of 2013.

“We’ve worked pretty hard,” Martin said Monday night. “We were pleased with their efforts.”

The Blackhawk boys’ varsity seven displayed a tight time gap for early season competition, despite being in separate races. Senior Kyle Lerch led the pack, finishing 12th overall in the senior boys’ race in 13 minutes, 37.20 seconds on the 2.5-mile course.

Second and third fastest were juniors Kameron Galm and Steaven Zachman in 13:46.11 and 13:50.02, good for 14th and 17th in the junior boys competition. Senior Nick Steele was fourth fastest in 14:22.46 (26th), followed by sophomore Mason Van Stone in 14:48.11 (21st in sophomore boys), senior Dallin Olson 15:09.07 (46th) and junior Carson Kerr 15:09.97 (42nd).

The times represent about a 13-second gap for Cheney’s top three runners, and just less than 72 seconds for the top five, which provides scoring in regular and post season meets.

“We’re looking for a closer gap there,” Martin said.

Cheney’s girls have a bit more work to do when it comes to running together. Senior Mariah Brenton and junior Kelsey Schwendiman led the way Saturday, finishing 20th and 39th in the varsity girls’ race in times of 16:37.27 and 17:03.58. Johanna Sherman was 56th in 17:40.63, followed by junior Mattie McNair in 80th at 18:49.80.

Freshman Shannon Gladden posted the fifth fastest time for the Blackhawks, 27th in the frosh girls’ competition in 19:26.46 while Karli Eaker was 92nd in the varsity race in 19:29.99 and Alexis Brooks 31st in the frosh race at 19:33.87 to wrap up the top seven.

Martin said the girls are a mixture of experienced upperclassmen – “old salts” – and younger runners who need some time to gel as a group.

Another highlight of the day for Cheney was an eighth-place finish out of 29 teams by the freshmen boys’ squad. Matt Christianson led the way for the Blackhawks , 17th in 15:06.18, with Troy Traeger (15:23.04, 20th), Kaleb Lerch (15:23.04, 21st) and Jerry Frunk (15:51.59, 33rd) also scoring.

Thirty-four teams from throughout Washington, Idaho and Montana competed at the Highlander.

Cheney’s next action is an even larger meet – the Erik Anderson Runner’s Soul Invitational Saturday at Plantes Ferry State Park in Spokane Valley. As of press time Tuesday, 50 high school teams had registered for the competition.

John McCallum can be reached at


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