Cheney Free Press -

Staff Reporter 

Medical Lake track will rely on distance, sprints for success

If field events improve, so will Cardinals, coach says


File photo Medical Lake's Micah Dingfield, a distance ace from the Cardinals' state cross country champs, is trying to work himself back into shape – and put a smile back on his face – after suffering a stress fracture in his foot.

Medical Lake co-head track coach Gene Blankenship has a couple of scenarios he's looking at for the upcoming season that kicked off yesterday (Wednesday, April 16).

If the team performs as it has so far through a handful of invitational events they'll compete amongst the middle of the pack in the Northeast A League.

However, if he and his other co-coach Steven Keith, can coax a little more distance out of field events, they just might challenge the top teams, specifically, Freeman.

The Cardinals will have some kind of idea where they stand after their opener at Newport that includes Kettle Falls – and the Scotties.

"Freeman might be a little too tough for us in the boys but I think we're going to give them a run for their money," Blankenship said. Medical Lake should dominate the distance events their coach said. "Freeman is really going to hurt us in the field events."

However, for now, Blankenship will hang his hat on the performers he has, which will be very competitive

Junior Tellas Johnson will run the 100 and 400 meters, as well as the 4 X 100 and maybe the 4 X 400 relays. "He's our fastest returning sprinter," Blankenship said. The junior has also recorded the fastest time in the Northeast A League so far.

Cameron Peake is competing in the 300 meter hurdles and also runs a leg in the 4 X 100. His hurdles time of 42.20 seconds is just behind Riverside's Tristan Downing at 41.69.

Elijah Farmen is the No. 1 competitor for Medical Lake in the javelin. Tyler Garrett and Jared Wright each compete in the 100 and the 4 X 100. "Wright has our best 200 meter time this season, a 51.61 (second time)," Blankenship said.

With a bulk of his runners competing from the defending state A cross country champions, distance events will be one of Medical Lake's strengths. Domenic Rehm has the second fastest 800 meter time so far in the NEA with a 2 minute, 4 second clocking.

In the 1,600 Micah Dingfield has only run once so far, Blankenship said.

"We're being real careful with him," his coach said. "He's still got some aches and pains and when you have a stress fracture you come off a little nervous."

Dingfield's younger brother, Jacob, a sophomore, has the fastest time of the season so far in the 1,600 at 4:43. Rehm has the second fastest 3,200 in the NEA at 10:01.77 and Jacob Dingfield third fastest 10:08.73.

In field events, Farmen is fourth the district but leads the NEA according to most recent standings with a 148 foot, 3 inch toss, ahead of Freeman's Kian Genteman's 140.9.

Tom Garrett leads Cardinal long jumpers with a leap of 17-10 inches, behind the 20-3.75 inch best of Chris Boring from Kettle Falls.

The girls lost sprinter Amarah Nicholson to a military transfer, part of life where transfers give and take gifted student athletes. But it looks like newcomer Lexi Rolan, a freshman, could fill the gap. But not immediately.

Blankenship said Rolan was sidelined due to a grade issue but got that taken care of and will make her debut April 23 at Lakeside.

"Boy is she going to be good," Blankenship said. "I watched her run in middle school."

Emma Davis, a sophomore, is ML's top 100-meter hurdler, ninth in the NEA at this time.

The No. 1 800-meter runner is Mariah Pena. "She also has our fastest 400-meter time so far," a 65.02, fifth in the NEA Blankenship said. Pena has been running longer distances like the 1,600 and 3,200, too, and has the top time in that distance at 12:13.41, all from a freshman.

Maleeka Wegner is currently the Cardinals' top performer in the 1,600-meters with a time of 5:56.46 and is second in the 3,200.

Senior Nyirenda Ross is the top thrower for Medical Lake in the discus with 82-11 and 26-10.5 in the shot put. While she's not among league leaders, Lilly Outhenthpanya is the Cardinals top javelin prospect.

"On the boys' side I think we could finish as high as third," Blankenship said. "On the girls side I think we're going to struggle, just because of numbers."

The strength of the girl's team is in the distance runners, he said. "I'm really pleased with their efforts."

Blankenship said new sprint coach David McNeil is learning a lot and has done a great job with the kids. McNeil assisted with the cross country team, too.

Paul Delaney can be reached at


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