Teammate's injury clouds hurdles title for Southridge's Smith

By Rene Ferran, Herald staff writerApril 18, 2010 

PASCO -- It should have been the best moment of Andrea Smith's track career.

The Southridge junior had just won the 100-meter hurdles at Saturday's 49th annual Pasco Invitational in a career-best time of 15.05 seconds.

But right behind her, teammate Chelsea Bourque crashed after clipping her toe on the final hurdle. Her head slammed off the Edgar Brown Stadium track as she skittered into Smith's lane.

"It's bittersweet," Smith said. "I don't really feel like I can celebrate when my teammate's hurt. I heard her scream, and when I crossed the finish line, I turned around and started freaking out. I just hope she's OK."

Bourque quickly popped up, spun around and made her way across the finish line, but her day was done as it was concluded she suffered a mild concussion.

Her absence was felt in the 4x100 -- the Suns, a title contender, ended up sixth -- and ultimately the team standings.

Southridge still won a trophy by finishing third with 38 points, but Kentwood's winning total of 56 was within reach if Bourque had been able to continue.

"I was worried about Chelsea all day," said senior La'Quilla Upton, who posted third-place finishes in the 100 (12.61) and triple jump (35-8). "I know she wanted to run (the 4x100), but state is more important than Pasco."

But Pasco can be an important building block in hopes of success at state.

That's what Hermiston senior Mary Barnett took out of her pair of third-place finishes in the shot and discus.

Barnett is in the process of deconstructing her technique in the shot, hoping to get off the plateau she'd hit with her marks.

"My form was so much better than it's ever been," she said. "Before, I was throwing ugly, and it went far, but if I can throw only 41 (feet), that's not good enough.

"This is just the beginning. All that matters is district and state, when I need those big marks."

One thrower who did post a big mark Saturday was Othello junior Christine Kirk-wood, who improved her personal-best by 2 feet in winning the javelin in 153-10.

"I was hoping for the meet record (157-6), but I'm excited about the PR," said Kirkwood, who skipped an AAU basketball tournament in Arizona to throw at the Invite. "This was a good experience for me."

Area throwers went 1-2-3 in the event, with Hermiston's Crystal Schmidt throwing a career-best 136-8 on her final attempt to pass Southridge's Emma Murillo at 130-10.

"This is just my second year throwing the javelin, and I still trying to understand this event a little," Schmidt said.

Murillo, meanwhile, continues her comeback from a dirt bike injury in February in which she separated her right (throwing) shoulder.

She threw left-handed the first month of the season, and the Invite was only her second meet using her dominant hand.

"I haven't been able to do much throwing or lifting, so this definitely boosted my confidence," Murillo said.

Pasco senior Marisa Vander Malle also saw her confidence soar after running a huge distance double -- going 5:02.94 to finish fifth in the 1,600 and 10:52.58 to take third in the 3,200.

Her 1,600 time is No. 4 on the all-time area list, and her 3,200 time is No. 3.

"It's amazing," the Boise State signee said. "This just shows me I have the potential to make it to state in both. That would be an awesome end to my senior year."

Hermiston senior Angelica Rodriguez, an EWU signee, ran a career-best 2:16.81 to finish second in the 800 to Mead junior Baylee Mires' meet-record 2:11.98.

"I loved that she was here," Rodriguez said. "That helped me keep focused."

Walla Walla senior Garrett Gerling was focused on winning the 300 hurdles title coming into the Invite.

He came up four-hundredths of a second short (his time of 38.09 is No. 3 all-time in the area), but he received a nice consolation prize -- a victory in the 110 hurdles in 14.38, fifth-fastest in area history.

"That was a surprise," Gerling said. "The 300s were the one I thought I could win. But I got a really good start, and by the time we got to the middle of the race, I didn't see anybody around me and I thought, 'I might just get this.' "

Pasco senior Marques Avery also used a strong start to propel himself to victory in the 100 in a season-best 10.95.

"I got out good and just kept it going all the way through," said Avery, who was just five-hundredths off his personal best from last year's state meet. "The other guys were pushing me, though. I felt them there."

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