Justin Rich and Tori Johnson each won two events to lead Estacada at Sandy Invitational on Saturday

There was nothing particularly spectacular about Estacada’s Justin Rich as he warmed up for the shot put competition at the Sandy Invitational on Saturday, at least to the casual observer. Once the throws actually counted, Rich flipped a switch and caught everyone’s attention.

While most of the other hurlers were cautiously navigating the slick platform, Rich ignored the rain and out-tossed everyone in the field. He prevailed with a winning throw of 52 feet which was more than two feet better than what anyone else could produce.

“The weather conditions can definitely have an impact on some people, and it probably affected me a little bit,” Rich said. “For me, I just have to zone it all out and focus on what I’m supposed to do. If I can do that, I know it will work out.”

Rich was the catalyst in the Ranger boys’ track and field team taking seventh place in the 12-team preseason meet. His win in the shot put early in the day got Estacada headed in the right direction. Rich moved from the shot-put pit over to the discus range where he was even more impressive, if that is possible.

The other discus athletes were locked in a battle with one another with the top slingers hitting marks of about 137 feet. Rich then stepped up and smoked everyone by 15 feet.

“These early meets kind of show you how the rest of the season will go,” Rich said. “So it helps to have the experience, and definitely helps confidence-wise to win a meet like this.”

The Estacada girls left the competition with fifth-place honors. Star runner Tori Johnson shined on the track with her sprints in the 200 meter and 400 meter. She edged Barlow’s Sara Turner in a fight for the finish in the 200 meter final to earn her first win of the meet. Johnson came back in the 400 and defeated each of her competitors by more than a second in the final.

Johnson also participated in the high jump where she cleared the bar at five feet to take second place.

Estacada stole the show in the triple jump to pad the team’s overall score. Sarah Davies won the event by jumping 31 feet, 7.5 inches. She was followed by teammate Jessica Wheeler who came in second with a distance of 31 feet, 1.5 inches. Aside from the two Rangers, only one jumper surpassed the 30-foot mark.

The Estacada track and field team will be back in action on Saturday at the Willamette Falls Invitational. The Rangers host La Salle and Molalla in a Tri-Valley Conference tri-meet on Wednesday.

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