If anyone knows the nuances of the track at Edgar Brown Stadium, it’s Pasco High School senior Angela Cardon.
After competing in the former gravel pit the past three-plus years, she knows how to battle the wind, and she’s comfortable with the density of the track.
Cardon will pull all of her knowledge together today when she competes in her final Pasco Invite.
“I’m actually kind of nervous,” Cardon said after practice Thursday afternoon. “There is so much competition. You never know what will pop up.”
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The 55th annual meet begins at 9:30 a.m. with the boys distance relay and a variety of field events.
Cardon is entered in the 100- and 200-meter races today, along with the long and triple jumps. She is seeded first in the 100 meters with a time of 12 seconds, and is fourth in the 200 (24.91). She also comes in with an 18-foot leap in the long jump and 37-2 1/2 — her best this season — in the triple jump.
“She has put in the work,” said Pasco coach Leon Jackson, who placed second in the 100 at the Pasco Invite in 2002 (for Kamiakin) and 2003 (for Pasco). “As a sophomore, she didn’t realize what she had. She was driven, and asked what she could do to get to an elite speed. She trained her butt off in the offseason, and now she’s a monster.
“I think the (Pasco) invite is bigger than state. She will get pushed. This is the meet to see where you are really at.”
During the offseason, Cardon trained with Brian Rackley in Richland. She worked on her strength, flexibility and explosiveness.
“That helped me get a head start on the season and how to be a competitor,” Cardon said.
Cardon, whose best time last year in the 100 meters was 12.59, has shaved more than half a second off her time entering today’s meet.
“That’s huge since it is such a short distance to run,” Cardon said.
Cardon has played soccer the past two autumns, but when she was a sophomore, she ran cross country. It was former Pasco coach Nick Cumbo who taught her to run in the wind.
“He taught us that in the wind, you run with your knees and not your arms,” Cardon said. “You have to change your form.”
Might just be the edge she needs to be the first to cross the finish line.
DID YOU KNOW?: Action begins at 9:30 a.m. with the boys distance relay, boys pole vault, and the boys and girls long jump. Admission is $8 for adults and $6 for students. ... The Kamiakin girls have won the past four team titles. ... The Wenatchee boys have won three team titles in the past five years, including last year. ... Laser measuring devices will be used for the javelin and discus. ... The longest-standing boys record at the Pasco Invite is the 3,200 meters, where Rick Riley of Ferris ran an 8:57.1 in 1966. The oldest girls record is the 4x200 relay. Hazen turned in a time of 1:40.0 in 1980. The event is no longer run at the meet.
Athletes to watch
JOSH RILEY, SR., SUMNER: The 5-10, 160-pound senior is entered in the high jump, where he has gone 6-8 1/4, and the 300-meter hurdles, where his top time is 38.69. A budding decathlete, he has signed to compete in the event at Montana.
HEATHER DONAIS, SR., KAMIAKIN: The defending Class 3A state champion in the 100- and 300-meter hurdles, she will run both. She is coming off a victory in the 300 hurdles last weekend at the Arcadia Invite in Southern California. She’s also on the list to run on the Braves’ 4x100 relay team. She was third in the 100 hurdles last year at the Pasco Invite and second in the 300s.
JUSTIN JANKE, SR., NORTH CENTRAL: The reigning 3A cross country champion has opted not to the run the 3,200, which he won here last year. Instead, he will run the 1-mile race and on the Indians’ 4x400 relay.
NICK JOHNSON, SR., GONZAGA PREP: The reigning 4A state champion in the 110 high hurdles is back in Pasco to defend his title. He ran a 14.14 last weekend in a Greater Spokane League meet. He also will compete in the long jump (personal best of 22-5 1/2) and the high jump (has cleared 6-6, but only 6-2 this spring).
CHINNE OKORONKWO, SR., MOUNTLAKE TERRACE: The 2015 Washington track and field Gatorade Athlete of the Year. She won the 3A state pole vault (13-3), long jump (18-0) and triple jump (41-10 1/4) last spring. Okoronkwo, who has won the past three state triple jump titles, has signed to run track at the University of Wisconsin. In August, she finished third in the triple jump (42-1 1/4) at the Pan Am junior track and field championships in Edmonton, Alberta. Today, she will compete in the triple jump.
Events to watch
BOYS POLE VAULT: The meet record of 16-1 by McKane Lee of Arlington and Tyson Byers of University, set in 2002, could fall this weekend. Defending 3A state champion Zach Shugart of Bishop Blanchet has soared 16-6 this spring, while teammate Taylor Barnes has gone 15-8.
BOYS DISCUS: The top five throwers have all surpassed 160 feet, with Washington state leader Jose Padilla (Chelan) topping the field with a season-best 185-7 3/4. Padilla won the 1A/2B/1B state title last spring. Jakob Chamberlin of Bellingham has thrown 181-1, while Grady Leonard of Coeur d’Alene has hit 174-1, Kamiakin’s Wyatt Musser 166-5 and Mt. Spokane’s Dillon Lionello 163-7.
BOYS HIGH JUMP: University’s Noah Martin, the 2015 4A state champion, has cleared 7-0 1/2 feet this spring, while Jakobe Ford of Shadle Park and Mitchell Jacobson of Walla Walla each have gone 6-10. The Pasco Invite record is 7-2 1/2, set in 1985 by Rick Noji of Franklin.
GIRLS LONG JUMP: Lewis & Clark’s Anna Rodgers will not defend her title today. She was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis earlier this week and will be out of action for a couple of weeks. Even without Rodgers, the competition is fierce this year, with Wurrie Njadoe of Shorecrest eclipsing the 19-foot mark and Kamiakin’s Allison Stapleton going 18-7 1/2. Kentridge freshman Lauryn Ford could figure in the mix. She has a season-best mark of 18-4 1/2 this year. The meet record of 19-7, set in 1983 by Janell Thorsland of Kentwood, is within reach.
GIRLS TRIPLE JUMP: The Pasco Invite meet record of 40-3 1/4 set last year by Saudia Heard of Curtis, is in danger of falling as the top four jumpers entered have equaled or eclipsed the mark. Heard, a sophomore, returns to defend her title, but standing in her way is Mountlake Terrace’s Chinne Okoronkwo, who went 42-11 3/4 at the New Balance National Indoor meet in March and was third at the Arcadia Invite last weekend at 40-2 1/4. Alexis Ellis (Curtis, 40-8 1/4) and Peyton Russell (Tumwater, 40-8) also are top contenders.
GIRLS 100-METER HURDLES: Sophomore Zella Conley of Mead returns to defend her title, but she will be challenged by Kamiakin’s Heather Donais, who was third last year but then went on to win the 3A state title, and Ellensburg’s Jordyn Arlt, who won at the Davis Invite last weekend. Conley won last year with a time of 14.91, but she has not run under 15 seconds this spring.