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Top 2013 stories from Cheney sports - Cheney girls prove to be little team that did


Cheney girls track and field head coach Tom Stralser knew at the beginning of the season that the Blackhawks were going to be a good, big-meet team. Turns out he was right.

With just seven athletes the Blackhawks competed their way to a third place team finish in the 2A classification at last weekend’s 2A, 3A, 4A track and field state championships at Lakewood’s Mt. Tahoma High School. While individual state titles proved elusive, Cheney did come home with three seconds, a third, a fourth, a fifth and two sixth place finishes in nine events.

“Second by half a point,” Stralser said as the Blackhawks finished with 49 points, behind Bellingham – which sent 14 athletes – at 49.5 and state champion Sehome – with 20 – at 74 points.

“We were the smallest team in the top four. Everyone got on the medal stand though,” he added.

Indeed Cheney was the smallest team in the top 10, with East Valley-Spokane next with 10 athletes, finishing eighth.

Janessa Day finished second in the 400-meter run and sixth in the 200. The senior turned in a top qualifying time of 57.32 seconds in the 400 preliminaries Friday, and topped that with a new school record 56.98 Saturday in the finals. She went 26.07 in the 200 prelims, finishing with a 25.93 on Saturday.

Chae Brown took second in the triple jump with a leap of 35 feet, 10 inches, just over two feet behind state champ Janayla Scott of Lindbergh.

Stralser said prior to finals Saturday the junior actually pulled off a jump estimated around 38-39 feet, but officials ruled she scratched by a fraction of an inch.

The 4x200 team of Kendall Dunn, Johanna Sherman, Brown and Day took second with a time of 1:42.82, a season best and second best in the state behind state champ Sehome’s 1:42.33.

“I think it went really well,” Day said after the race. “I think we actually broke our school record, so I’m pretty happy.”

Senior distance runner Sanne Holland came up a bit short in her bid for a three-peat in the 3,200 meters Saturday, running well in the top three through the first five laps but fading towards the end to finish third in 11:11.18. She was fourth in the 1,600 Thursday with a time of 5:07.30.

Sehome’s Emily Pittis captured the title in both events in 5:04.29 and 10:52.46.

Dunn also had a disappointing finish in the 300 hurdles. The senior ran a 44.15 during the season, and was in good shape after a prelim time of 45.09. But in the 4x200 she pulled a hamstring, gritting out the hurdles finals to finish fifth in 45.68.

“That could’ve been the difference between the four by two (winning) and her placing in the top three in the hurdles,” Stralser said. “I told Kendall, ‘you got more races to run kid.’”

Senior Erin Clark took fifth in the pole vault with a vault of 11-06, while junior Kinsey Pease was sixth in the javelin at 117-05.

For the boys, Eric Igbinoba was fifth in the triple jump at 42-3 1/2 while Calvin Berstler was sixth in the 110 high hurdles in 15.45 and the 300 low hurdles in 39.62, a season best.

Stralser said he was happy with how things went during the season, noting the girls broke five school records.

“It was a great season,” he said. “I thought the team could be a good big meet team, and they were.”

John McCallum can be reached at



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