Several Hillsboro-area athletes turn in season-best performances during the 46th annual Elden Kellar Invitational at Hare Field

No sophomore slump this year for Anna Dean.

Hilhi’s star second-year hurdler/sprinter continued to impress this season by playing a part in three victories and adding a third-place finish in the 46th annual Elden Kellar Invitational last Friday.

Dean, who won three Pacific Conference titles on the track in 2012, picked up an individual victory in the 100-meter hurdles on a warm and sunny Friday at Hare Field. She also ran legs on the Spartans’ winning 400- and 1,600-meter relay squads, and she placed third in the 200 in a personal best for good measure. by: HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: AMANDA MILES - Liberty junior Elizabeth Pecsok clears 5 feet, 4 inches to take second place in the girls high jump at the 46th annual Elden Kellar Invitational track meet last Friday at Hare Field.

Dean’s performances led Hilhi to a fourth-place finish in the team race with 91 points. Kelso (Wash.) won with 120 points, city rival Liberty took second place with 104, and Columbia River, of Vancouver, Wash., finished third with 102½. Century (77 points), Canby (61½), Glencoe (52½) and Grant (50½) rounded out the meet.

“I kept thinking that it was just another meet, because it’s at Hare Field, and then I was like, ‘Oh, it’s the Elden Kellar. It’s a big meet.’” Dean said at the conclusion of the event. “So I had to prepare my mind this morning when I was thinking about how I was competing today and how it was going to be a big meet.

“I was just really excited, because running with competition is really good for me. I always PR.”

Dean cruised to a win in her specialty, taking the high hurdles in 15.21 seconds, just .08 off the personal-best time she set the week prior at the Oregon Relays in Eugene. Jikuesiah Jones of Century was second in 16.30, while Liberty’s Elizabeth Pecsok was third in 16.53.

“I’m consistently getting low 15s,” Dean said. “We’ll have two meets next week, so maybe I can push to get in the 14s. It’s my goal for the end of the year.”

In the short relay, Dean teamed with Cassidy Estep, Kylee Taube and Krissy Thomas to take the win in 49.39, the fastest time of the season for Hilhi and a mark that ranked fifth in Class 6A entering this week. Liberty’s quartet of Hannah Langbehn, MacKenzie Beeler, Sarah Martinez and Ashley Martin finished second in 50.09.

And in the meet concluding 4x400-meter relay, the Spartans’ squad of Thomas, Tanya Jones, Dean and Sami Moellmer ran a time of 4:07.50 to turn back Liberty’s school record-setting quartet of Martinez, Rachel Khaw, Simone Wilson and Langbehn (4:10.66).

In between, Dean completed the 200 in 26.64, finishing behind Columbia River’s Emily Morgan (26.17) and Canby’s Lauren Morgan (26.44) but slicing .57 seconds off her personal record in an event she runs only sparingly.

While Dean posted the most victories by a Hillsboro-area participant in the meet, she was by no means the only one to win an event.

Competing in her first Elden Kellar Invite, Liberty freshman Rachel Khaw successfully completed the 1,500-800 double. She took the longer race in 4:54.77 — Braanna Weber of Century was second in 5:00.47 — and the two-lapper in a personal-record time of 2:22.38. After sitting in the pack for much of the 800, Khaw broke away in the homestretch to pick up the win in her second attempt at the distance.

“The first time was worse than this one,” Khaw said about racing the 800. “I feel better today.”

Weber scored a win of her own later in the meet in the 300 hurdles, which proved to produce the tightest finish of any race for the day. The Century sophomore held a slight lead over Hilhi’s Moellmer over the final hurdle, but Moellmer closed hard to the finish line and almost caught her — 46.70 to 46.72.

“We both started out really strong, and then she kind of just came back towards the end,” explained Weber, who also won the intermediates the following day at the Aloha Relays. “She had a really good last couple hurdles, and she caught up. It was pretty intense.”

The finish was so close, in fact, that Weber was not sure she had held on for the win after she crossed the line.

“I definitely thought that Sami had caught me,” Weber explained. “I saw her lean out of the corner of my eye, and it looked like she had gone farther, so I thought she’d won.”

Though Moellmer did not quite get the win, her time in the intermediate hurdles was her second personal best of the meet. She ran 59.45 in the 400 to take second place behind Liberty’s Martinez, who is on something of a PR streak of her own. The junior’s winning time of 58.75 was her third consecutive PR, as well as her third in nine days, dating back to the Falcons’ dual meet against Wilsonville on April 17. At the Elden Kellar, she dipped under 59 seconds for the first time and inched closer to the school record, Ashleigh Mitchell’s 58.43 from 2007.

“I’ve been working so hard, because last year, placing eighth (at state), I don’t like being eighth,” Martinez said. “My goal from last year’s state was to be at least top four, and I feel like I can definitely get that this year.”

Competing primarily in the field events, Pecsok might not have drawn quite as much attention as those in the track races, but she provided one of the most impressive performances of the meet. The well-rounded junior not only finished third in the high hurdles, but she also won the shot put (34 feet, 11¼ inches), placed second in the high jump (5-4) and added a fourth-place effort in the triple jump (32-7). Pecsok’s winning throw in the shot put was a PR by more than a foot, and her 29 points were the most by a single Hillsboro-area girl in the meet.

Hilhi’s Mikayla Webb rounded out the list of girls winners from Hillsboro schools with a victory in the discus (103-6). Other top finishers from Hilhi were Erika Moellmer in the pole vault (second, 10-0) and Krissy Thomas in the 100 (second, 12.82).

Glencoe earned a trio of third-place finishes in the meet. Leah McClain was third in the 300 hurdles (48.30) for the Crimson Tide, as was Madeline Buss in the javelin (104-1). And the short relay team of Cassandra Acosta, Dominique Mossman, McClain and Caprina Crocker was third in 50.26.

For Century, Jamie Adams was the runner-up in the discus (98-4). Jumpers Cassidy VanDomelen (33-¼) and Ashley Brown (16-¾) recorded personal bests and third-place results in the triple jump and long jump, respectively, and Chelsea Ronek was third in the shot put (32-4).

All four Hillsboro teams were back in action in Pacific Conference and Northwest Oregon Conference duals on Wednesday (after press deadline). Glencoe traveled to Forest Grove, Century entertained McMinnville, Hilhi was at Tigard, and Liberty took on Sandy at home. The Spartans and Falcons are scheduled to compete in today’s Cotton Invite in Portland, while Glencoe is expected to take part in the Nike/Jesuit Twilight Relays in Beaverton.

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