The return of the pole vault to CHS track & field

Indians also return to 2A GNLBy Colville High track and field coach Ty Brown’s recollection, it’s been several years since the Indians have been outside for pre-season practice sessions for day one. Well, welcome to the relatively balmy spring of 2013 (so far).Brown and the Indians will take it. It fact, CHS had glorious upper 50’s, bright sunny conditions for their annual Black and White inter-squad Jamboree last Saturday with Kettle Falls.“It has been a great start to the season in terms of weather,” conceded Brown, who is well aware of a heavy dose of rain in the forecast this week. “We hardly had to remove any of the snow off the track and the fields cleared up on their own. It’s so nice to be able to get outside for practice on day one of the season. I don’t think we’ve had the pits set up and the hurdles out this early in a few years.”Key seniors goneGive or take a few, the Indians have 65 athletes out for track this spring. Brown says he likes the numbers and the kids he has out. Last season’s squad was peppered with veteran talent. This year, there are a lot of newcomers.“Last year’s team was full of seniors,” Brown said. “They will certainly be missed. But we are ready to reload and challenge the teams in the GNL.”Last Saturday’s scrimmage also featured a “Team Night” where CHS student-athletes ate, played games and silk-screened shirts in the colors of their team. Longtime CHS teacher Tracy Deleya and her art students designed a logo and the athletes silk-screened the logo on their shirts. “This is a fun idea to build teamwork and competition,” Brown said, adding that “it also incorporates other departments of the school.”This year’s coaching staff is long on continuity and returns intact: Randy Stebbins, distances; Bob Gumm, throws; Daniel Goble, sprints; Dean Fischer, longer sprints and 4x400. Volunteer coaches include Sandy Moore (pole vault), Jodi Lehman (jumps), Chris Loggers (hurdles), and Rob Shaw (throws).“We could not do this without these dedicated coaches and volunteers,” Brown said. “That does not even mention the people behind the scenes that help with the meets and (Athletic Director) Kelly Carr’s support.”There are a lot of new faces in terms of the athletes themselves. There’s also a new, or reprised, event that hasn’t been part of the CHS track and field fabric for many years—pole vault. “My understanding is that the pole vault was around in the 1980s,” Brown said. “With the changing of the standard sizes for the pits, the event went away with the cost of replacing the equipment,” Brown explained. “With a lot of blood, sweat and tears, we were able to return the event to our facility.”Used pits were purchased from Post Falls High School and the existing pole vault runway was extended to accommodate the larger pit size. Borrowed polesBrown said that the CHS program has been able to borrow “several” poles from Reg Hubert at University High School (Spokane Valley) to get started.“The process has been long and slow, but the end result is that we have a pole vault facility, poles and kids that are anxious to learn this new and fear-evoking event,” the coach explained.Brown, Fischer and Moore have all been certified to instruct pole vault at CHS. Moore will serve as the primary coach.“She has done a wonderful job of preparing for the position,” Brown said of Moore, who also serves on the Colville School Board. So far, there are from 10 to 12 athletes interested in trying the event out for the first time.AT A GLANCENotable seniors returning this spring are Joellee Buckner in the jumping events and Cainan Holte, who is out to improve on his third place finish at the State 1A meet last spring in the discus.In the sprints, the Indians will have Nick Last back from a solid performance on the boy’s 4x100 relay team. Mackayla McLaughlin returns for her senior season after helping the Indians’ State championship 4x100 team. She was also a member of the fourth place 4x200 State relay team.Another senior off those two outstanding relay teams is Chelsea Phillips. She finished second at State in the 100-meter hurdles last spring.Fellow senior Jacy Vining will be out to improve on her seventh place finish in the State javelin.Underclassmen include Kylie Brown in the throws, Aubrey Buckner in the javelin (she’s recovering from knee surgery and hopes to be back in April) and distance standout Kevin Carpenter, who finished fourth at State in the 3200 last spring (look for Carpenter to improve on his state rankings in the 3200 and 1600 events).Junior Malia Luu was also a key member of those state relay teams. She will be a major part of Colville’s sprint stable (100 and 200 meters). “There will be many others to look out for…we are excited about what we have seen so far in practice sessions with the freshmen and the others that have come into this season on a mission to improve and compete,” Brown said.OUTLOOKThe move up to 2A is never an easy one for a school better suited to 1A numbers.“The move up will be a tough challenge for our kids,” Brown conceded. “The biggest challenge will be to make it to the State meet.”The competition will be more strident. Ditto for the numbers (allocations).That won’t be easy this year. Unbelievably, there is only one allocation in the GNL per event for State. Colville has joined with Districts 5/6 and will compete for an additional allocation to State.‘Sharing’No, Toto, we’re not in the NEA any longer.“That meet (with District 5/6) will serve as our State Qualifying Meet in May (at Prosser High School),” Brown said. The top two individuals and relay teams from each event out of the GNL District 7 2A meet will travel to Prosser.The State 2A meet is at Tacoma over the Memorial Day weekend.The remainder of the schedule includes road trips to both Pullman and Clarkston and an overnighter to Pasco and the Pasco Invitational for a prestigious annual event that is billed as the largest high school track and field meet in the nation. Teams from around the Northwest descend on Pasco’s Edgar Brown Stadium for that meet.“We usually get from 10 to 12 athletes to the Pasco Invitational,” Brown pointed out.Other invitationals on tap this spring include West Valley, Deer Park, Riverside and the Undeberg at Medical Lake. Home meets start with the annual Ezra Gordon Invitational on Saturday, March 23. Nineteen teams are signed up to date for that meet, according to Brown. The Ezra Gordon was moved to Saturday to better accommodate the large number of teams and actually get the meet in before nightfall.A home GNL meet on April 25 will feature Cheney and West Valley. For the team members that don’t make it to District, a junior varsity championship will be staged at Deer Park in May. The District 7 2A meet will be staged at West Valley High School. The top two in each event move on to the aforementioned State qualifying meet at Prosser. COMMUNITY SERVICEThe Colville track and field team is involved in a pair of service projects this spring. The first is volunteering in Spokane at the annual St. Patrick’s Day 5k. CHS team members will be handing out shirts to the competitors.That race is organized through the Bloomsday Road Runners’ Club that promotes physical fitness in the community and provides scholarships to young athletes, Brown said. The CHS team will also be working with former CHS track and field athlete, and current city of Colville Recreation Coordinator, Jake Wilson, on a clean-up of Colville Mountain on April 20. The work will entail the removal of refuse.“The hope is to eventually put in a usable trail system on the mountain,” Brown said. “These projects are part of our mission to create solid citizens that want more out of this sport than just the physical activity.”