Cheney Free Press -


By Paul Delaney
Staff Reporter 

Cardinals surprise coach with boys' track victory


It’s not often Medical Lake co-head track coach Gene Blankenship has to walk back a prediction, but he did.

The veteran coach has been correct in seeing the future enough to predict his cross country team would win the 1A state title last fall. And he’s been accurate in a number of other instances.

But he missed when he thought his Cardinal boys would fall to Riverside in the final Northeast A League track meet held last Wednesday in Medical Lake. The boys toppled the visiting Rams, co-leaders in the NEA, 87-48, but the Riverside girls returned the favor with a 96-35 win.

“Let me put it this way, the kids had more confidence than the coach did,” Blankenship said with a chuckle. “We outscored them just about everyplace.”

Medical Lake did its most damage in the sprints and distance events. They finished 1-2-3 with Tellas Johnson (11.19 seconds), Tyler Garrett (11.43) and Jared Wright (11.44) and then saw Domenic Rehm win the 800 and 1,600 meters with respective times of 2 minutes and 4:30.80. Jacob Dingfield collected the 3,200 victory in a time of 10:13.60.

“We swept the 100 (meters) as usual,” Blankenship said. “I was originally going to run Domenic (Rehm) in the 32 and I got him to switch down to the 1,600 and 800 and he wins them both.”

“Jacob’s done exceptionally well,” Blankenship said of his emerging sophomore distance guy, the younger brother of Micah Dingfield who has been dogged with a foot injury since cross country season.

But again, it was the field events where Medical Lake collected some additional points as Elijah Farmen won in the discus with a throw of 118 feet, 3 inches and a 150-07 in the javelin. Nate Davis led a 1-2 finish in the shot put with a heave of 41-feet even while Farmen was next at 40-11.

“Again, we came through,” Blankenship said. “I was not expecting us to win and we just crushed them.”

On the girls’ side Mariah Pena’s 800-meter victory was the lone distance victory while Nyirenda Ross collected wins in both the shot put (30-08) and discus (98-09).

The Cards top girl’s sprinter, Lexie Rolan, is hurt and Blankenship is hoping she is well for districts.

District competition takes place this Saturday in Newport and rather than overwork his team, Blankenship will find the events athletes have the best chance of advancing in Bi-Districts and then state.

“I was going through my predictions and I think we’re going to send about 12 boys to Bi-Districts and maybe two to three girls,” Blankenship said.

Paul Delaney can be reached at


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