High School Sports

Chiawana and Kamiakin boys gear up for district tournaments. Area track athletes also shine

Southridge's Emily Meek (1592), shown at last year's state track meet, ran a 14.89 time in the girls 100 hurdles at Saturday’s Strandberg Invite in Spokane, giving her the current sixth-best time in the state.
Southridge's Emily Meek (1592), shown at last year's state track meet, ran a 14.89 time in the girls 100 hurdles at Saturday’s Strandberg Invite in Spokane, giving her the current sixth-best time in the state. Special to the Herald

The regular seasons for two spring sports have finished already, and postseason play is starting.

The Chiawana boys soccer team ran through the Mid-Columbia Conference field unbeaten to take the conference title, while the Kamiakin baseball team edged crosstown rival Southridge by a game to win the MCC crown.

Here is a look at how they did it:

Boys soccer

“To go undefeated is tough,” said Chiawana coach Riley Dodson. “The key difference was the bad weather. Normally, we play each team twice in conference play. But because of the bad weather (in March), we played each team just once.”

Going unbeaten in conference play is hard enough at 8-0. But Dodson said he doubts that had they played the normal 16 games that would have happened.

“As it is, we lost three games. But they were all non-conference games,” he said.

Still, the Riverhawks enter the District 8 Class 4A tournament, which includes the top four MCC teams and top four Greater Spokane League teams, as the top seed.

Here’s a quick look at the final MCC standings: 1. Chiawana 8-0; 2 (tie), Hermiston, Kamiakin, Pasco and Walla Walla all at 5-3; 6 (tie), Kennewick and Richland at 3-5; 8 (tie), Hanford and Southridge at 1-7.

So here are the first-round district tournament pairings, with all games being played Thursday:

Game 1, Walla Walla vs. Ferris, at Gonzaga Prep, 5 p.m.; Game 2, Gonzaga Prep at Chiawana, 5 p.m.; Game 3, Lewis & Clark at Pasco, Edgar Brown Stadium, 5 p.m.; Richland vs. Central Valley, at Joe Albi Stadium, 4 p.m.

Once the Riverhawks clinched the MCC title last Friday, he gave his players the weekend to enjoy it. “Then we put it behind us,” he said. “They can enjoy it all the way until Monday.”

His coaching philosophy is taking things one game at a time, don’t look too far ahead. There are too many good teams in this tournament, including Ferris and Lewis & Clark.

And Pasco.

The Bulldogs, defending state 4A champions, can’t be counted out either.

“This year’s team is younger than we have ever had,” said Pasco coach Matt Potter. “They have been working hard and learning quickly, which has been fun to watch. We’ve had the chance to play over 25 different guys in varsity games this year. We play in a very difficult league each year, and we clearly know if one doesn’t play their best each night, there’s a great chance we will lose.”

It all begins Thursday.

• Hermiston snared the top seed in the Class 3A district tournament, and the Bulldogs get a first-round bye.

Here’s the first two rounds of the six-team district tournament:

Thursday, Game 1, Kennewick at Mt. Spokane, 4 p.m.; Game 2, Shadle Park vs. Kamiakin, Lampson Stadium, 4 p.m. Saturday, Game 3, winner 1 at Hermiston, 11 a.m.; Game 4, winner 2 vs. North Central, Albi Stadium, Spokane, 6 p.m.

Baseball

In just his second year as head coach, Steve Woods led Kamiakin to the MCC title.

Here are the final standings: 1. Kamiakin 14-2 MCC/18-2 overall; 2. Southridge 13-3/16-4; 3. Kennewick 11-5/12-8; 4. Richland 10-6/12-8; 5. Hanford 8-8/8-12; 6. Chiawana 7-9/9-9; 7. Walla Walla 6-10/7-13; 8. Pasco 2-14/4-14; 9. Hermiston 1-15/1-16.

“Personally, I think we exceeded our expectations there a bit (for this season),” said Woods. “Every game in this conference is tough. To be totally honest, I thought we were darn good last year too (with a 12-14 record). I think we took a look at last year and re-evaluated things. We emphasized leadership and our culture, and our senior group was able to lead this team.”

At least five of those seniors are headed to college ball next fall, including Trystan Vrieling, who is headed to Gonzaga University. But it’s what happens in the postseason that’s remembered. “Now it comes down to who can play the cleanest baseball,” said Woods. “Who can execute?”

Here is the six-team District 8 Class 3A opening games this coming Saturday: Game 1, Kennewick vs. Shadle Park at LaPierre Field, 10 a.m. Game 2, North Central vs. Southridge at Mt. Spokane, noon. Game 3, winner 1 at Kamiakin, LaPierre Field, 1 p.m. Game 4, winner 2 at Mt. Spokane, 2:30 p.m.

• Here is a look at Saturday’s eight-team Class 4A district tournament, with the GSL’s 3 and 4 teams to be decided: Game 1, GSL 4 at Richland, 1 p.m. Game 2, Chiawana at Mead, 1 p.m. Game 3, GSL 3 at Hanford, 1 p.m. Game 4, Walla Walla at Central Valley, 1 p.m.

Special kudos goes to Hanford, by the way. The Falcons started the season 0-10. But they rallied to win eight of their last 10 to take the MCC’s No. 2 Class 4A berth.

Track and field

One more round of MCC dual meets this week before athletes begin postseason. Here’s a look at the top times and marks from our area from April 22-29:

• Walla Walla’s Jared McAlvey just continues to get better. In last Thursday’s big showdown MCC meet at Kamiakin, McAlvey improved on his state-best 300-meter hurdles time to 38.38 seconds. He’s also No. 4 in the state in the 110 high hurdles, clocking in at Kamiakin with a 14.58. Oh, and he cracked the top 10 state list in the 200 meters at Kamiakin with a 22.09 seconds time.

• Hanford hurdler Nyenuchi Okengbo ran the girls 100 hurdles in 14.78 seconds in the Falcons’ MCC meet last Thursday at Pasco. That gives her the fourth-fastest mark in the state.

• The Kamiakin girls 4x100 team of Kaili Knapp, Britney Donais, Katherine Petsch and Rachel Harper clocked a 49.01 seconds lap at the Braves’ MCC meet last Thursday at Kamiakin, good enough for the fourth-fastest time in the state.

• Hermiston’s Jazlyn Romero threw the javelin 145 feet, 1 inch, at last Thursday’s MCC meet at Kamiakin. That gives her the fourth-best mark in the state.

• Kennewick’s Geraldin Correa-Cambindo ran the girls 800 meters in 2:15.70 at last Thursday’s MCC meet at Pasco, giving her the fifth-best time in the state.

• Kamiakin’s Jaxson Nichols cracked the state top 10 in the boys high jump, clearing 6-6 at the MCC meet against Walla Walla and Hermiston last Thursday. That’s fifth best in the state.

• Wa-Hi’s Patrick Utschinski continues to get better in the discus. At the MCC meet at Kamiakin, he tossed the discus 176 feet, 10 inches. That’s No. 5 overall in the state.

• Richland’s Maelyn George heaved the hammer 124 feet, 9 inches, at Saturday’s Lacey Hammer Meet. Although not a sanctioned event for the WIAA, her mark ranks sixth in the state.

• Southridge’s Emily Meek ran a 14.89 time in the girls 100 hurdles at Saturday’s Strandberg Invite in Spokane, giving her the current sixth-best time in the state.

Jeff Morrow is a former Herald sports editor and is now a freelance writer.
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