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Prep track and field: Greater Spokane League athletes punch tickets to district meet

May 11, 2019

Mt. Spokane four-event standout Spencer Barrera called it a warmup on Friday.

Lewis and Clark sprinter Samiah Kuntz used it to record her best 200-meter mark.

Central Valley’s boys and girls teams used it to flex their talent and depth the rest of the Greater Spokane League.

North Central girls coach Kelly Harmon’s elite distance runners also used it as a primer.

The league’s 4A and 3A district-qualifying meets at CV serve a spectrum of purposes for coaches and athletes, but there’s one they all share: punching a ticket to Richland.

The top seven individuals in 4A and top eight in 3A advance to next week’s District 8 meets at Fran Rish Stadium in Richland.

That’s when Spokane’s premier track and field athletes turn it on, Barrera said.

But they have to get there first.

“I wanted to save myself for regionals,” said Barrera, who won the 200 (22.23 seconds), 400 (50.74), long jump (22 feet, 6 inches) and triple jump (40-1) for the Wildcats.

Barrera, who will compete at Idaho next year, bolted well ahead of the field in the 400 before down-shifting gears on the final stretch, finishing well below his best time.

“Coaches just wanted me to run comfortable today, so I just shut it off the last 50 meters,” Barrera said.

Kuntz, a junior, became the latest in her family to win 4A postseason race after claiming the 200 (25.22). Her mother, Celeste Kuntz, was a standout sprinter and jumper at Richland High. Her rather, Greg Kuntz, starred at Mead.

“I’ve always wanted to make them proud,” said Samiah Kuntz, who also placed second in the 100. “It felt good to get that win.”

Rivals LC and CV had the majority of individual wins in 4A, a year after they tied in their dual and District 8 meets in team scoring.

McKenzie Gaines paced LC, winning the 3,200 (11:17.52) a day after winning the 1,600 (5:09.15). Rylee Felgenhauer was among CV’s victors, winning the 300 hurdles (46.89).

CV girls coach Geoff Arte likes his team’s versatility.

“We come at teams from all angles,” Arte said. “We’re not just good at one or two things. We’re pretty balanced, and LC has really been pushing us.”

CVboys coach Chuck Bowden has the same luxury. Bears sprinter Austin Porter won the 100 (11.15); teammate Zach Jongeward won the 200 (23.08); Joey Nichols won the 800 (1:55.67) and Ryan Kline won the 3,200 (9:19) over the weekend.

“It was just a great, overall meet for us,” Bowden said.

NC’s star distance duo of Allie Janke (11:16.34) and Erinn Hill (11:19.19) finished first and second, respectively, in the 3,200 with times much slower than their personal bests.