Chinchur chugs out another gold medal

Journal Reporter

TACOMA -- Chinchur chugs out another gold medal

Michael Chinchar\'s change up led to another district distance gold medal. The Kentwood junior showed he\'s more than just a sit-and-kick racer as he cruised to the 1,600 title.

Chinchar made his move on the third lap, ran virtually by himself in the final 400 meters and broke the tape at 4:17.79. Gig Harbor\'s Charlie Williams was second with a 4:20.51.

The tall, lanky distance star used an impressive kick in the final 300 meters to win the 3,200 crown on Friday. But on Saturday, Chinchar decided to ``change it up.\'\'

Chinchar lingered with the leaders during the first two laps, but with the pace going slower than he expected he decided to pick it up. He surged ahead early in the third lap and cruised to the easy win.

``I was running scared,\'\' Chinchar said. ``I made my move and I knew I had to keep it up. I decided to pick up the pace earlier than usual and it worked out.\'\'

Jessica Duran started her day with a strong sprint, then uncorked a hefty heave and finished her stellar day with a photo finish.

The versatile Kent-Meridian senior took home three gold medals at Saturday\'s Class 4A West Central District track and field meet at Mount Tahoma High.

In the morning, she blazed to victory in the 100-meter hurdles in 15.00, one-hundredths of a second off her personal-best. Later in the afternoon, she popped a personal-best 40-6 ½ throw to win the shot put. She capped the meet by edging out South Puget Sound League rival Julie Futch of Auburn Riverside by seven hundredths of a second for the 300 hurdles title.

``You could say I\'m ready for state,\'\' said Duran, who also qualified for Star Track in the long jump on Friday. ``I can\'t wait.\'\'

The top eight finishers in the finals advance to the state meet May 26-27 at Pasco\'s Edgar Brown Stadium. Duran accounted for 34 of K-M\'s 38 points as the Royals claimed fifth place in the team standings, the top South County girls finisher. Olympia won the team title with 87 points.

Duran\'s win in the 300 hurdles was close one. In their first head-to-head race of the season, Duran out-leaned Futch at the finish line with a time of 45.47. Futch, who didn\'t train this week because of a strained knee, clocked a 45.54.

``I thought I had her,\'\' said Futch, who will play basketball at Oregon State next year. ``I thought I had the lean. State will be completely different.\'\'

Duran burst out the blocks and took the early lead, before Futch caught up with her on the back stretch. The rivals were neck-and-neck in the final 20 meters before Duran used a late surge to pull off the narrow win.

``At the end, I didn\'t know who won,\'\' said Duran, who will compete in the heptathaon at Eastern Washington next year. ``I was excited to have a close race. I thought it would be neck and neck. State will be even better.\'\'

Duran began the meet with a strong win in the 100 hurdles, beating out Emerald Ridge\'s Jenna Malinen by 27 hundredths of a second. Then in the shot put she bettered her old personal best by two feet before pulling out the dramatic win in the 300s.

Tahoma teams shine

Versatile senior Luke Lemenager was a beast for the Tahoma Bears.

The state-caliber cross country runner won the 800 gold medal in 1:56.16 in addition to running the anchor legs on Tahoma\'s runner-up 400 and 1,600 relay teams.

``If there\'s no hurdles, he can run it,\'\' said Lemenager\'s teammate Stephen Praast, who was also busy, winning the high jump with a mark of 6-6 and also was part of both relay teams.

The Bears, a state-title contender, placed third in the team standings with 64 points. Gig Harbor won with 74.

Tahoma\'s 400 relay team clocked the same time of 43.03 as Beamer, but the Titans got the win in the photo finish. Lemenager uncorked an impressive 400 run in the 1,600 relay, but he couldn\'t quite catch Wilson\'s Zac Johnson as the Bears finished in 3:24.76, 68 hundredths of second off the Rams\' winning time.

Sprinter Sean Skidmore also ran legs on the relay teams and qualified for state in the 100 (third place, 11.35) and 200 (fifth place, 23.13).

The Tahoma girls qualified all three relay teams to state and Kristen Felderman finished fourth in the 400 (58.39) as the Bears finished in ninth place with 30 points. Felderman won a bronze medal at state in the 400 last year.

* ALSO: Auburn Riverside senior Carli McCrabb won the javelin gold medal with a mark of 127-9. Her teammate Jenna Marshall won the silver in the pole vault, clearing 10-6. ... Decatur\'s Erika Hughes flew 38-1 to take home the triple jump gold medal. ... Sumner senior J.J. Jackson won two golds and silver, taking both hurdles and finishing second in the 200. He won the 110s in 15.06 and the 300s in 38.78 before clocking a 22.69 in the 200.