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Prep Watch: Many races come down to wire at state

by: PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: DAN BROOD - Roba Sultessa of Cleveland High holds off a pack of challengers down the stretch to win the Class 5A 800-meter state title at Hayward Field.State track meets always produce stories of guts and glory.

Here are a few of the highlights from the 2013 championships last weekend at Eugene’s Hayward Field:

Sultessa pushes himself

As he lined up for the start of Saturday’s Class 5A 800-meter final, Cleveland High junior Roba Sultessa was still burning from taking sixth place in the 400 less than 50 minutes before.

“I was so mad,” Sultessa says.

Cleveland assistant coach Tony Cantwell had been worried about Sultessa’s attempt to run both races.

“It’s kind of an impossible double,” Cantwell says. “If you try to run both, you might not win either one. But he wanted to run both, and he’s been doing it all season.”

When the gun went off for the 800, Sultessa felt lethargic and sluggish.

“It was hard at the start, because it was too hot,” Sultessa says. “I was tired after the 400.”

Sultessa kept up with the lead pack, but with 200 meters left, he began thinking: “I just want to quit.”

Then, with 100 meters remaining, Sultessa was in the lead and started thinking: “I just want to win this race.”

He kicked hard toward the finish, crossing the line first in 1 minute, 56.12 seconds, the fastest 5A time of the season and nearly a half-second faster than runner-up Connor Devereux of Marshfield (1:56.54).

“I pushed hard to win,”

Sultessa says.

“It was pretty emotional,” Cantwell says. “I can’t say that I was surprised, but I was amazed at his performance.”

Cantwell coached Sultessa and the Warriors in cross country, as the team took second last fall, with Sultessa 12th overall and second on a tightly bunched team.

He has watched Sultessa grow since coming to Cleveland from Ethiopia in 2011.

“In Ethiopia, he had probably done some running,” Cantwell says, “and when he showed up for cross country, the kids all said he was pretty fast, but not very fit.

“He could barely speak English, but he fit in really well with the kids.”

Soon, Sultessa discovered a passion for training.

“He wanted to be really good,” Cantwell says. “He spent all winter training.”

Michaelson piles up points

by: PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: DAN BROOD - Lincoln's Tess Michaelson (left) gives the Cardinals a victory in the 4x400-meter relay at the Class 6A state meet in Eugene, nipping runner-up Grant's Piper Donaghu (right) and third-place Central Catholic's Olivia Gabriel.Lincoln junior Tess Michaelson also tried to double in the Class 6A 400 and 800. She decided at the last minute to run the 400, and was glad that she did. She took first in 55.20, turning back runner-up Tierra Barrett (56.57) of Grants Pass and third-place Chiara Chandlee (57.06) of St. Mary’s Academy.

“I saw a sign that said, ‘Run how you want to be remembered,’ and that’s what I tried to do,” Michaelson says. “I was happy with the first 200 meters and being able to catch up after the stagger. The last 100 was a little rough. I died a little bit and stiffened up, but I was able to hold on.”

Less than an hour later, Michaelson took second in the 800 in 2:14.60, just behind Grant junior Piper Donaghu (2:13.86).

“I don’t feel fantastic,” Michaelson says, of finishing second. “I don’t know if I’d call it disappointment. But I’m glad that I put myself out there and proved to myself and prospective coaches that I’m able to come back after doing a 400 and run the 800.”

Michaelson capped the meet by anchoring the 4x400 relay to first place in 3:52.46, as the

Cardinal crew edged Grant (3:52.55).

The Lincoln relay unit consisted of junior Samara Michaelson, sophomore Emma Lambert and junior Rebecca Pearson, while Grant had a lineup of sophomore Libby Kokes, senior Parkes Kendrick, freshman Ella Donaghu and Piper Donaghu.

The closing relay win boosted Lincoln just ahead of Grant in the final team standings — the Cardinals seventh with 33 points and the Generals eighth with 32.

Rice powers home

by: PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: DAN BROOD - PaIge Rice of St. Mary's Academy edges South Eugene's Erin Clark for first place in the 6A 1,500 meters Saturday at Hayward Field.Heading into the state meet, St. Mary’s junior Paige Rice was focused on defending her 2012 6A 1,500 and 3,000 titles.

That mission took a hit on Friday, though, in the 3,000. In a blistering race, Rice set a personal best of 9:44.96, but it was good for only fourth.

“Though I got a PR, I was disappointed in how that race ended,” Rice says.

Rice regrouped and was ready to run the 1,500 on Saturday. That race was slow for two laps. Then, South Eugene senior Erin Clark took the lead, followed by Sheldon senior Maggie Schmaedick. Rice bided her time, trying to kick as late as possible.

“My plan was to try to surprise them and give them as little time to respond as possible,” Rice says.

Rice did just that, finishing in 4:30.00, just .39 seconds ahead of Clark.

“Coming off the curve, I was able to power home,” Rice says.

Donaghus get it done

by: PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: DAN BROOD - Piper Donaghu of Grant claims the 6A 800 meters.After taking third in the 1,500 (4:35.52), Grant’s Piper Donaghu was still fresh enough to come back and win the 800.

“I felt really loose, even after the 1,500,” she says. “I was just hoping that if I could hold on until the last 200 I could outkick everyone, and that worked. I was really confident for this race and trying to be loose and relaxed.”

Her sister, Ella, took second in the 3,000, clocking a PR of 9:37.22.

Other PIL champs

In addition to Michaelson in the 6A girls 400, Piper Donaghu in the 800, the Lincoln girls 4x400 relay and Sultessa in the 5A boys 800, the Portland Interscholastic League had two other state champions.

by: PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: DAN BROOD - Grant's Harrison Schrage soars to the state title in the long jump during the 6A meet at Hayward Field.Grant freshman Harrison Schrage won the 6A boys long jump a leap of 23 feet, 4 1/2 inches, a PR by 8 1/2 inches and the best in the state this spring.

Benson sophomore Chaquinn Cook, the state leader in the triple jump, captured the 5A title in that event, soaring 36-9 1/2. She also nabbed seventh in the 100 hurdles.

More PIL

Madison junior Schuller Rettig was second in the 5A boys 300 hurdles and fifth in the 110 hurdles. Rettig also teamed with junior Nick Baron, freshman Kyle Abalan and senior Anthony Preston to claim fourth in the 5A boys 4x400.

Benson junior Cameron Retherford had a fourth in the 5A boys 110 hurdles and a fifth in the 300 hurdles.

Wilson senior Nick Sieber placed fifth in the 5A boys discus.

Wilson junior Tristan Anastas got sixth in the 5A boys high jump.

Madison senior Charles Riga came away fifth in the 5A boys javelin, throwing 168-8, a PR by more than six feet.

Benson junior Jasmin

McKenzie placed third in the 5A girls long jump at 16-11 1/4.

Cleveland junior Bryn

McKillop took third in the 5A girls 800 2:18.88, her best of the season.

Cleveland sophomore Emma Wren picked up fourths in the 1,500 and 3,000, finishing in a season-best 10:22.80 in the latter event. Wren, McKillop, sophomore Caroline Holley and junior Sophia Ahmad placed sixth in the 4x400 relay.

Franklin junior Margarita Lauer was fifth in the 5A girls 3,000 and sixth in the 1,500 with a pair of PRs.

Franklin senior Paris Gresham went a career-best 16-11 1/3 for fourth in the 5A girls long jump.

Wilson senior Alyssa Bahe earned sixth in the 5A girls shot put.

Scots impress

The David Douglas boys came out in force, taking third among 6A teams. The Scots scored 52 points, beating fourth-place Oregon City (46 1/2) and fifth-place Central Catholic (34), while finishing behind team champion Jesuit (72) and Sheldon (54).

David Douglas’ Samson Ebukam, a senior, got second in both the shot (PR 55-2 1/2) and javelin (PR 205-6). Oregon City senior Beau Brosseau edged him by 1 1/2 inches in the shot and six inches in the javelin.

Scots sophomore Joshua Kellebrew was the 800 runner-up, and he joined seniors Dmitriy Vakulchik and Ihoghama Odighizuwa and junior Nick Showalter on the second-place 4x400.

Odighizuwa was third in the triple jump, and Vakulchik placed fifth in the 100, fourth in the 200 and fourth in the long jump.

Others in the mix

Central Catholic junior Kyle Thompson took second in the 6A boys 3,000 (8:37.25 to the 8:36.38 of Lakeridge senior Julian Heninger).

Central Catholic junior John Nizich was third in the 6A boys javelin (200-9, a PR by 8 1/2 feet).

The Rams’ girls 4x100 earned fourth with the team of junior Deniesha Washington, sophomore Riley Ford, senior Matija McLaughlin and freshman Olivia Gabriel. And the Central Catholic girls 4x400 (Washington, senior Maheyla Molinari, Ford, Gabriel) was third.

St. Mary’s junior Chiara Chandlee took third in the 400 in 57.06, her prep best.

The Blues also got a fifth place from senior Ellen Patterson in the 3,000, as she turned in a PR of 10:04.88.

St. Mary’s tied for ninth in the 6A team standings with 30 points.

In the Class 3A meet, Oregon Episcopal’s Nick Obletz dominated the boys 3,000 and added a second in the 1,500.

Portland Christian rules

The Royals’ girls team successfully defended its Class 2A title, piling up 86 points (six more than in 2012) to leave the No. 2 team, Kennedy, well behind at 63.

Portland Christian scored in eight of 10 track events, all three jumps and the pole vault.

Julia Whalen won the 400 and took second in the 200. Hannah Jossi placed second in the 1,500 and fourth in the 800. Sierra Robertson won the pole vault and was sixth in the 100 hurdles. Katie White took fourth in the 300 hurdles and fifth in the long jump. Stacy Kozlowski was third in the high jump, sixth in the triple jump and eighth in the 100 hurdles. Asia Cayetano was fifth in the pole vault and eighth in the long jump.

The Royals won the 4x400 (Cayetano, Jossi, White, Whalen) and were second in the 4x100 (Cayetano, Robertson, Whalen, White).

Portland Christian’s boys were third in the 2A standings with 57 points, trailing Central Linn (98) and Enterprise (81) and just ahead of No. 4 East Linn Christian Academy (43).

Sisay Gillock’s 1,500-3,000 double led the PC boys. David Guild was a victor in the 300 hurdles and the runner-up in the 110 hurdles.