Avery leads 4 Mid-Columbians to Pasco Invite wins

By Rene Ferran, Herald staff writerApril 18, 2010 

PASCO -- Marques Avery shut his mind Saturday afternoon to any pressure of performing well at his hometown track meet.

"The Pasco Invite is always a fun day for me," the Bulldogs senior said. "Last year, I was stressing about how I've got to do something big here. This year, I felt more relaxed about it. There was no downside. I'm just out here competing."

And winning. That always eases the pressure.

Avery became the first Bulldog to win a title at the Pasco Invitational in five years, powering past a loaded 100-meter field to win in 10.95 seconds at Edgar Brown Stadium.

"Oh yeah, this is great, especially on my home track," said Avery, who'll play football at West Point next fall. "This is the Pasco Invite, the biggest meet around besides state."

He later added a third in the 200 and anchored a pair of relay teams to the podium -- the 4x100 took second and the 4x400 eighth -- as the Bulldogs just missed trophying as a team, finishing fifth by one point.

Avery was one of four Mid-Columbia athletes to take home titles from the 49th running of the nation's largest one-day track meet.

Walla Walla senior Garrett Gerling moved into fifth on the all-time area list in the 110 hurdles, winning in 14.38, while Southridge junior Andrea Smith won the girls 100 hurdles in a personal-best 15.05 and Othello junior Courtney Kirkwood won the javelin in a personal-best 153-10.

Three meet records were set on a sun-soaked afternoon, including a state record in the boys javelin.

Tahoma (Maple Valley) senior Derek Eager barely had time to get a few warmup throws in after finishing up in the shot put, but that's the way he likes it.

"I don't know why," Eager said. "But whenever I rush into it, I just seem to do my best."

Eager's best sent the javelin flying 229 feet, 5 inches across the infield -- breaking his own state record by almost 11 feet and the meet record (set with the old-style implement) by Pullman's Timm Rosenbach in 1985 by more than 4 feet.

Eager's first throw of 219-8 set the tone. He finished his series with five throws further than 200 feet.

"After hitting that 219, I knew I had a big one in me," Eager said. "I just like throwing here. I've been looking forward to this meet the last couple of weeks. I just knew it would be a good meet for me."

Eager later added the discus title with a throw of 177-4 and was named Outstanding Male Athlete of the meet.

The other meet records were set by a pair of Mead girls -- junior Baylee Mires in the 800 on her way to Oustanding Female Athlete honors, and senior Tasha Clark in the pole vault.

Mires set her sights on the 800 record from the get-go, opening up a big lead by the midway point of the race and finishing in 2:11.98.

"I just really wanted to get the record really bad," said Mires, who earlier won a tight 1,600 race in 5:01.38.

"I ran the 1,600 pretty smart, and then coming back and running a really fast 800 for the beginning of the season, that's all I needed to do down here. Getting my name in the (record) book is a plus."

Clark tied the meet record of 12-0 in winning the pole vault a year ago. This time, she cleared a personal-best 12-3 on her first attempt, then took a good crack at 12-6 on his first try before tiring.

"I wanted to be the only name up there," Clark said of the record. "My first attempt at 12-6 was really good, but the standards were a little off. I'm definitely going to get that this year."

Mead's boys won the team title for the 11th time and first since 2003 despite having only one individual champion -- Jeremy Beck in the high jump.

Kentwood's girls romped to the title thanks in large part to junior Holly DeHart, who won the 100 and 200 and took second in the long jump.

Complete results

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