For track fans in the Northwest the place to be is Edgar Brown Stadium in Pasco, Washington, where the 50th Pasco Invitational will be held on Saturday, April 16. There will be over 80 teams from Washington on hand plus an additional five from Idaho & ten from Oregon. With the volume alone one can expect high quality but the meet promises to be truly special for lovers of distance races.
For starters Amy-Eloise Neale of Glacier Peak and Maddie Meyers of Northwest will resume their rivalry, which last weekend saw them go 1 -2 in the mile at Arcadia in California, which included a stellar field with many of California’s top preps. That duo boasts the top times in the state in both the 3200 Meters & the 1600 Meters, yet they are hardly the whole story. For starters Kati Knight of North Central will be on hand and she is ranked just behind the pair in both events. Kendra Weitz of Shadle Park, who qualified for Foot Locker last fall as a sophomore, is ranked fourth in the 3200, while Carly Wilczynski of Emerald Ridge holds fourth position in the 1600M.
The longer event holds most of the top runners in the state (8 of 10 by my count) and includes Rachel Atwood of Auburn Riverside (10:56), Erin Hegarty of nearby Hanford (11:04), Berenice Penaloza of Eisenhower and Marina Roberts of Kingston. The Jesuit Crusaders from Portland, Oregon should be on hand and they are led by Annamarie Maag, who leads the state of Oregon in the 3K with9:49.
The 1600 Meters will have Baylee Mires of Mead, who has run 5:10 and is ranked in the top seven in Washington. To that group may be Kinsey Gomez of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, who is the top runner in the state in the 3200. Jesuit can add not only Annamarie Maag in that event but also Payton Schutte, who is ranked third in the state in the 1500M.
The girls’ 800 field is not quite as strong but Meyers, if she chooses to run the event, is ranked second in the state. Lauren Perry of Richland has run 2:17 already & can challenge as well. While Perry is ranked third in the state her team mate Katie Mahoney is not far behind with her time of 2:19. Carly Wilczynski has also clocked 2:19 in the event. Oregon’s Maag & Schutte have already run 2:17 & 2:20 and could also make things interesting.
For the guys the 3200 meters appears on paper to be the top event with eight runners from the top ten. Anthony Armstrong of Kamiakin (9:02), Nathan Weitz, like his sister a Foot Locker qualifier, Aaron Nelson of Walla Walla (9:16) & Vince Hamilton (9:17) of North Central have the top four marks in the state. Not far behind are Jeff Bastian of Glacier Peak, Alex Kinsey of Joel Ferris, John-Paul Wolpert of Walla Walla & Jaziel Rodriguez of Eisenhower. Possibly added to the mix is Foot Locker National qualifier Andrew Gardner of Mead, while Jacob Smith of Wenatchee, if healthy, will be formidable. David Leavy of Jesuit has run 9:01 in the 3K and is ranked third in Oregon (plus he is ranked in the 1500).
David Norris of Coeur d’ Alene is the top ranked 1600 meter in Idaho & could be joined by Leavy of Jesuit but Washington will have a relatively strong cast to support its cause as well. Blake Nelson of Henry Jackson has run 4:17 in the event, while Nathan Weitz’ top mark is close behind. Grant Grosvernor of Henry Jackson and Keith Williams of North Central are also quality runners.
Derrick Daigre of Kent Meridian has been timed in 1:53, while Grosvernor, Williams & Bastian all have strong times. Andrew Wordell of North Central (1:55) and Izaic Yorks of Lakes have run 1:57 and are capable of damage as well. Pasco should provide some scintillating action on the track and this is just for distance. When you consider that the meet will put the best against the best, while at State everyone will be divided by school size, this is especially promising, when it comes to competition. The field events and the sprints can be counted on as well, so head on down to the Columbia River on Saturday.