By Brent Baker
CASHMERE – It wasn’t a great day for the Caribou Trail League at Friday’s Bi-District 6/7 regional meet.
But don’t tell that to Damon Halvorsen or Tonasket’s 4×100 boys relay team.
Halvorsen was one of just five CTL boys or girls to win a regional title in 35 events, and the sprint relay sped to a runner-up finish behind Riverside to clinch the Tigers two spots at next weekend’s 1A state championships.
Halvorsen jumped to ninth on the state top 10 list with his breakthrough performance, trimming 10 seconds off his personal best while breaking the 10 minute barrier in the 3200-meter run. Halvorsen ran a near-perfect race, taking going out fast to take a big lead over top seeded Kevin Carpenter of Colville, not varying his pace by more than two seconds through laps two through seven, then turning up the heat to pull away for good on the final lap. His 9:54.35 gave him a six second victory over Carpenter, whose 10:01 was also a PR.
Halvorsen’s ninth seed has him in position to challenge for a medal, as less than 10 seconds separates the fifth through twelfth-ranked times run this season.
The relay team clocked a time of 44.55, a full second behind state title favorite Freeman. The Tigers’ relay qualified for state last year, but only seniors Jake Hickman and John Stedtfeld returned from that foursome.
The additions of freshman Smith Condon and junior Zach Villalva have this year’s edition of the relay within .08 of the best time last year’s squad recorded until the state finals meet, where the Tigers finished fourth after being seeded seventh. Tonasket again heads to state with the seventh-fastest time of the year.
Stedtfeld’s anchor left no doubt for the Tigers as he took the handoff from Hickman and pulled away from third place Riverside for the runner-up spot.
The top three from each event qualified for the state finals. Halvorsen and Stedtfeld came the closest to picking up more spots from the Tigers: Halvorsen took fourth in the 1600 (4:40.81, another PR) and Stedtfeld was fourth in both the 100 (11.52) and 200 (23.04). Stedtfeld missed the additional qualifying times by .06 in the 100 and by .12 in the 200.
Also earning spots on the medal stand were Villalva in the 100 (6th, 11.78), and Hickman in the 800 (5th, 2:07.90).
For the girls, individual medal winners included Devan Utt in the high jump (5th, 4-10) and Kylie Dellinger in the 1600 (6th, personal-best 5:43.99).
Cassie Spear, Kelly Cruz, Amber Kilpatrick and Carlie Henneman took fifth in both the 4×100 relay (52.24) and 4×200 (1:53.10).
For the most part, the Northeast A League dominated the meet. Colville won the boys title with 91 points, with CTL champion Cashmere finishing fifth and runner-up Tonasket taking seventh with 33 points.
For the girls, Cashmere’s 116 points won the meet, but Chelan (32) was the sixth behind four NEA teams. Tonasket, with seven points, was 12th.
Halvorsen and Okanogan’s Marty Staggs (javelin) were the only CTL boys to win events. For the girls, Cashmere’s Jesica Bauer (100) and Jozie Kimes (300 hurdles), as well as Okanogan’s Maddie Timm (high jump) also won events.
The most dominating performances were turned in by Newport’s Aaron Castle, who proved Cashmere’s throwing pit was too small for him with his throw of 62-5 to win the event by 14 feet. For the girls, Anandae Clark cleared 12-0 in the pole vault. Both will be heavy favorites for state 1A titles.
The two-day state 1B/2B/1A finals begin at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, May 25, at Eastern Washington University in Cheney.