Despite missing some of its top performers, the Tigers best Tigard to finish 7-0 in Pacific Conference dual meets

TIGARD — Missing two of his top guns, Newberg track coach Brandon Ramey knew the season-ending four-way meet at Tigard would be a nail biter.

The NHS Tigers also faced off against Century and Forest Grove, but were solely focused on beating Tigard, which would wrap up an undefeated season and secure the last Pacific Conference dual-meet crown.

Newberg was without senior 400 specialist Jonathan Bos and hurdler Andy Tautfest, but had several athletes step up to beat their Tigard counterparts for all-important second and third SETH GORDON - Clearing the way to a league title - Brandon Cortez clears the bar at 5 feet, 8 inches en route to a third-place finish at the Pacific Conference four-way meet May 7 at Tigard High School. Cortez's points from the event helped Newberg best Tigard 76.5-68.5 and capture the league dual-meet title with a 7-0 record.

Looming largest, however, were unexpected wins by Jacoby Wolfe and Stefan Vincent, as the Tigers prevailed 76.5-68.5 over Tigard, 85-59 over Forest Grove and 108-37 over Century to finish 7-0.

Wolfe set a personal record by clearing 6-1 to win the high jump, in which Brandon Cortez also placed third overall, and Vincent seemingly came out of nowhere to score an upset win in the 1,500.

“I know it’s not known as a team sport and I try to convey that to our kids a lot,” Ramey said. “The four-way meet was definitely an indication that I’m starting to get through to them a little bit.”

Wolfe had been stuck on 6-0 since early in the season, but didn’t scratch until attempting to clear 6-2.

“I just felt good,” Wolfe said. “I wasn’t worried and just jumped and didn’t think about it.”

With the meet pretty much running according to script up until that point, Ramey said Vincent’s win in the 1,500 in 4:12.23 really set the tone for rest of the competition after entering the race a 10-second underdog.

“He saw the guy he had to race against and went out and beat him,” Ramey said. “I think that put us right in the mix of it, got the kids fired up and it just continued from then on out. That was definitely a major turning point in the meet.”

Leading the way among Newberg’s usual suspects was Colin Hyatt, who won the 100 (11.41), the 200 (23.11) and ran a leg on the runner-up 4 x 100 relay team (44.66).

Stanford recruit Trevor Danielson has been battling a back injury and threw the javelin just once, but his throw of 171-2 was good enough for the win and he also took third in the 100 (11.61).

Newberg also got key sweeps over Tigard, for dual-meet scoring, in the shot put and discus. Dane Jensen (46-10), Brandon Zimmerman (42-11) and Dakota Church (41-0) went 2-3-5 in the shot. Zimmerman then won the discus (132-8), with Church taking second (131-0) and Jensen sixth (105-11).

Also earning wins for the boys were Jack Kerwin, who was first in the long (21-1.5) and triple jumps (42-0.25), and Zane Burgess, who cruised to victory in the 110 hurdles in 15.05.

The Tiger girls also had a strong meet, besting Forest Grove 85-58, blasting Century 97-48, but falling 73-70 to Tigard to finish fourth in the league at 4-3.

Newberg is one of the youngest teams in the league and it may have cost them against Tigard.

“Me not placing a few girls where I could have to get a couple more points kind of messed us up,” Ramey said. “We had a few little freak injuries where girls didn’t make their races and I didn’t get there in time to put somebody in their place.”

Still, the Tigers will be a force to be reckoned with Thursday and Friday at the district meet, which Newberg will host, after making great progress over the course of the past month.

Freshman Madeline Whalen swept the 100 (13.23) and 200 (27.36) dashes, with fellow freshman Madison Hergert taking the 400 in 1:00.22. The two also teamed up to help the 4 x 100 relay win (50.58) and the 4 x 400 relay finish runner-up (4:11.26).

Rebeca DeLeon and Irena Pia also went 1-2 in the 3,000, with the former edging the latter by just four-tenths of a second with a winning time of 11:18.19.

“I think there will be some eye opening Thursday with some of the girls we have,” Ramey said. “They’re going to be at home in front of friends and family. They’re going to want to go out and compete and don’t want anyone coming in here and beating them.”

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