by Jack Kintner
Blaine track members bring home the brass
Two boys from the Blaine varsity track team and six girls
from the undefeated Lady B team went to the state tournament
in Cheney, Washington, last week.
When the dust blowing up the highway from such towns as Spangle and Ewan cleared, Blaine brought home some of the brass it was after even though two of its talented seniors, Jason Velasquez and Erin Lippie, failed to qualify for steps on the awards platform.
Blaine ended up with 11th place for the girls team despite heroic performances from Julie Meaker and Alisha Fisher, two who will return next year to battle the state’s best as the local champs gather on the picturesque palouse hills south of Spokane.
Meaker edged Kelli Tikker of Lakeside by .05 seconds for third in the 400 and anchored the 4x100 team to a fourth place finish at 50.95, just .14 behind third place Steilacoom.
King’s anchor, Kimi Mayhle, nicked Meaker at the wire by half a second to steal third place in the 4x200 relay, and the girls got fifth in the 4x400.
Talented sophomore Lacey Montgomery got a sixth in the 300 hurdles with a respectable 48.26, less than three seconds off the winning time, a comparatively slow 45.29.
Senior pole vaulter Erin Lippie, who’s jumped high enough to win it all, failed to clear the opening height of 8-6 at the district meet in Edmonds.
The hard-working senior thus finishes her second promising season much earlier than she wanted to and once again watched first place won at a height (10-6) she’s cleared herself more than once.
Fisher salvaged some Borderite pride in the event with a 9-6 vault that was good enough for eighth place.
Both Fisher and Lippie tore their knees up last year and are still working their way back after having set records in pole vault, in Lippie’s case, and in the long jump for Fisher, who set a school record as a sophomore before her injury.
No one would have blamed either of these girls if they would have walked away from further competition.
But despite injuries they both spent this year showing what it takes to come back from possibly career-ending trauma.
For the boys, the ever-smiling sophomore middle distance runner Douglas Ramirez found his state tournament competition came with a lot of tape, in this case around his knees.
He likes to run in second or third and then sprint for the finish, which means that the pain that comes with the distance, twice around a 400-meter (the old quarter mile) track, builds with each step, especially in the second lap.
His finishing kick this time got him a respectable 2:01:11, leaving him just .04 seconds behind third place finisher James Ervin of Lakewood.
Promising senior sprinter Jason Vasquez failed to qualify in both the 100 and 200 by the narrowest of margins. Vasquez finished tenth in the 100 at a slow, for him, 12.06.
He was just 11 seconds out of eighth, the final qualifying spot in the preliminary heats.
In the 200 he finished ninth, just .02 (that’s two hundredths of a second) behind Hockinson’s Colton Dunn.
Bukowski strikes fifth place
Blaine’s undefeated girl’s golf team ran
smack into the many trees of Spokane’s 90-year-old
Downriver Golf Course last week.
The links nestle down in the Spokane River Valley near Spokane Falls Community College and the 10,000-acre Riverside State Park. The holes are narrow, and at times it must have seemed to the Blaine golfers that most of the trees in the Lilac City had been planted right there, lined up alongside the old fairways like a picket fence.
On this course, as in life, one must stick to the straight and narrow to succeed.
The course also has a reputation for being short, but not according to Blaine ace Tegan Bukowski.
The competitive senior, who leaves for the Air Force Academy within the month, said “people say that but it’s not that short, a par 73. But the trees. It’s like they just eat your ball.”
If Bukowski gets her own F-16 at the academy, she could return and make a few more stumps.
Three of the four girls representing Blaine’s undefeated girls team soared over 100 on the first day, monster scores compared to their very successful league season.
They missed the first-day cut (as did the only member of the boy’s team to go to state, John Dudley), and Bukowski just made it at 90, four strokes ahead of the magic number of 94.
On the second day, according to team mate Hanna Hillard, the rest of the girls followed Bukowski like a gallery.
The course is tailored to shotmakers, people who can hit it straight more than long, so scores were elevated. The cut-of this year was 15 strokes better than last year.
Bukowski said she’d rather not talk about the first day. On the second day, however, her competitive instincts and skill produced par golf on six holes and birds on three others as to the cheers of her fans she charged from back in the pack to a respectable fifth place finish.