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Mead Mania – How about an X-Country state title where the top 3 finalists are your runners? Part 3

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The key to Pat Tyson’s practice routine, as well as that of Steve Prefontaine and the University of Oregon, was training twice a day, a consistent run in the morning, and a specific training workout in the afternoon.

The spillover effect of Tyson’s personality, accessibility, and passion for running positively influenced Mead’s runners and attracted students to the program who might never otherwise have been involved in athletics.

Students who might have also played other sports just to ride on the bench entered Tyson’s program because they could compete rather than watch their teammates win.

Tyson’s philosophy and system became contagious in the Greater Spokane League. A league that had done well spawned other teams that won state titles when Mead didn’t.

To show just how dominant Mead was, I want to share with you what I saw at the 1993 state cross country meet in Pasco, WA. It was the year that Mead won his sixth consecutive title under the reign of Pat Tyson.

The distance was 5000 meters (3.1 miles) and the only question on my mind was whether Matt Davis (Mead’s best rider) would break 14 minutes to win the title. He wouldn’t, winning in 14: 09.3 (a 4:34 mile pace), but he set a course record in the process and won his third straight state cross-country title.

Standing near the finish line, I watched the Mead Panthers in their blue and gold jerseys make a statement like I’ve never seen before at a state competition.

First to cross the line was Matt Davis, followed by his brother Micah Davis at 14:46, followed by Rob Aubrey in third at 14:48, then Greg James finished eighth in 15: 13.9 and Skiy De Tray finished 28th in 15 : 43.

The mead runners in blue and gold passed in a 1-2-3-8-28 final and won with 31 points. Mead’s slowest scoring runner was 15:43! Kennewick finished as runner-up with 102 points.

In real numbers, Mead scored 42 points, but scored 31 in the final results, as the runners whose teams did not qualify ran alongside the runners whose teams did qualify, so the runners who finished ahead of the runners from the qualifying team were eliminated for scoring purposes.

I have no idea to this day what the actual finish was, but it had to have been 11 points less than the 1-2-3-8-28 finish that Mead recorded.

Matt Davis was one of the best middle distance runners ever produced in Washington state. For the record, Davis won the state cross country title as a sophomore in 14: 48.7, as a junior at 14: 39.5 and as a senior at 14: 09.3.

At the state track championships as a senior, Matt Davis would successfully defend his 3200-meter state title in 9: 04.37, one day after defending his 1600-meter state title in 4: 10.77, giving him 4 state track titles.

For the record, Matt Davis as a junior won the 3200 at 9: 12.57 and the 1600 at 4: 15.42.

At the 1993 state track meet, I splits for Matt Davis at 3200. His 400-meter lap times were 64, 68, 70, 70, 71, 69, 67, and 65. His 800 splits were 2:12. , 2:20, 2:20 and 2:12.

I could see him visibly picking up the pace after division 71. He punished his competitors with a strong and controlled finish of 69, 67, 65.

(Editor’s Note: This is Part 3 of a 4-part series on Mead High School career success.)

Copyright © 2007 Ed Bagley

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