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Spring back: Patterson joins three-time state track and field champions

Skyview senior wins third javelin title

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Kara Patterson of Skyview, now Kara Winger, captured her third state javelin title, becoming only the third three-time winner of the event at that time. She would go on to be an All-American at Purdue, a three-time Olympian and the U.S. record holder in the event.

This is the story from her third state title in 2004.

PASCO — Skyview’s Kara Patterson enhanced Vancouver’s rich history in girls javelin, even if she didn’t know it.

Patterson became a three-time state champion Saturday when she won the javelin competition at the Class 4A state track and field meet at Pasco High School.

Patterson, who claimed first place with a throw of 148 feet, is not only the javelin’s third three-time Class 4A state champion, she’s the third from Vancouver. The other three-time winners are Columbia River’s Tracy McCarthey (1981-83) and Fort Vancouver’s Laurie Merlino (1985-87).

Patterson was unaware that the previous three-time champions came from Vancouver, although the Skyview senior thought she had heard of McCarthey.

Patterson knew all about another three-time champion from Vancouver, however, and she was a source of inspiration. On Friday, Columbia River senior Jane Demme won her third consecutive Class 3A state title in discus.

“I really wanted that three-peat, too,” said Patterson, who is headed for Purdue in the fall.

Winning never gets old, even if Patterson’s primary goal was to break 160 feet and challenge the state meet record of 170-6. Patterson’s personal best was 159-2, a mark she set two weeks ago at the Southwest district meet.

Patterson didn’t come close to notching numerical goals, although her winning throw was comfortably ahead of runner-up Jasmine McCormick of Auburn.

“It’s bittersweet,” Patterson said. “I wanted to throw over 160 feet. But there’s no complaining about a state championship.”

Patterson’s state title, combined with several worthy performances by other Skyview athletes, helped the Storm score 24 points and a team finish of fifth place. Curtis of Tacoma won the meet with 64 points.

Hudson’s Bay senior Fontella Hooper didn’t give back her second-place medal in triple jump, although she might have thought about it had she been given the option. Hooper was noticeably upset that her best jump, although the second best of the day, was only 37-21/2.

“I would be happy to get second, but not with the jump I had,” Hooper said.

A week ago at the regional meet, Hooper cleared 38-21/2 and had hoped to improve that number at state.

Skyview sophomore Chris Michels couldn’t stop smiling after he finished third in the boys 400 meters.

Nowhere near the state meet a year ago, Michels set a goal of top-five state placing after breaking 51 seconds a month ago. Michels, who posted the fastest 400 qualifying time at the regional meet, ran the 400 state final in 49.52 seconds.

“Third place, I would have never guessed that,” said Michels, who plans to run track this summer in hopes of grabbing an even better prize at next year’s state meet.

Battle Ground’s Brian Cronrath capped his high school career by finishing fourth in the 1,600.

Cronrath tried to lay back and make a big late run, a strategy similar to the one he employed a week ago in winning the regional 1,600. But the frontrunners were a little too tough, particularly Mead’s Evan Garber, this year’s 1,600, 3,200 and cross country state champion.

Cronrath said he didn’t think his placing would have significantly changed had he tried to run with the frontrunners.

“I think I did as good as I could have,” said Cronrath, whose time was 4:18.19.

Other second-day Class 4A place winners from Clark County include Evergreen’s Corey Fredericks, fifth in triple jump; Skyview’s Kristen Ellsberg, fifth in shot; Heritage’s Shyanna Davis, sixth in javelin; Mountain View’s Lynsey Stepan, eighth in the 1,600; and Prairie’s Maria Bribiesca, eighth in the 800.

Inglemoor of Kenmore won the boys team title, scoring 55 points to easily outdistance runner-up Mead of Spokane.

Two runners set meet records. Shelton’s Alex McClary ran the boys’ 800 in a record-time of 1:50.43, while Roger of Spokane’s Becca Noble established a meet best in the girls’ 400 with a clocking of 54.31 seconds.

Written by Nick Daschel, The Columbian, May 30, 2004.

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