Cheney Free Press -

Staff Reporter 

Cardinals surprise at NEA track opener


Gene Blankenship will gladly embrace being wrong when the end result is better than he expected.

The Medical Lake co-head track coach looked at his team’s first Northeast A League track meet — which took place in Newport last Wednesday and also featured Freeman — as a competition where his team just likely could not stack up to the favored Scotties.

But they did, losing 73-72 to Freeman but beating Newport 95-44 on the boys’ side. ML’s girls edged Newport 60-59 but lost to Freeman 102-40.

Blankenship has been good in the past predicting finishes, specifically his team’s win at the state 1A cross country meet last November in Pasco.

“It was a lot better than I thought,” Blankenship said. He originally thought Freeman was going to have a pretty easy time of it. Blankenship admitted he made a big mistake by not entering someone in the high jump, which would have possibly pushed the Cardinals into the lead.

While he thought field events would be the Cardinals’ downfall, Blankenship said those results were much better than anticipated. Specifically were Cameron Peake’s runner-up finish in the 110-meter hurdles, Tyler Garrett’s 17-foot, 5-inch long jump, also good for second, and Elijah Farmen’s 40-1 heave in the shot-put.

Those were the surprises, while the workman efforts of ML’s distance runners, and of course sprinter Tellas Johnson.

Domenic Rehm scored wins in the 800 and 1,600-meter runs while brothers Jacob and Micah Dingfield were 1-2 in the 3,200. Micah Dingfield was also runner-up in the 1,600. “The guys really went after it,” Blankenship said.

“Again Tellas (Johnson) is our workhorse,” Blankenship said of his speedy junior who won in the 100 and 200-meters. In the 200, Johnson led a 1-2-3 Medical Lake finish ahead of Garrett and Jared Wright.

The girls took 20 of the 27 points in the distance events. Maleeka Wegner won the 3,200 with ease, by 13 seconds and Mariah Pena beat Wegner by 8 seconds in the 1,600. Pena also won the 800.

The Cardinals were at Lakeside in a meet also featuring Kettle Falls this past Wednesday.

Medical Lake took a small group to competitors to the Pasco Invitational last Saturday where Johnson had a 10th place in the 100, clocking an 11.21 second time in a race won by Zachery Smith from Olympic High from Silverdale in a time of 10.67. Micah Dingfield was 19th in the 3,200.

Paul Delaney can be reached at


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