The Sandy boys' track and field team wins NWOC district title in dominating fashion

Sandy distance runner Isaac Mitchell and Liberty’s Michael Francy have been friendly rivals for most of their high school careers. They have regularly battled each other on tracks and cross country courses, usually for first place in most competitions. Mitchell has had Francy’s number of late, and in last week’s Northwest Oregon Conference track and field district meet, Mitchell edged out his Liberty counterpart twice more before the two graduate next month.

Mitchell squeaked out wins over Francy in the 1500- and 3000-meter races to help push the Pioneers to the boys’ district championship.

Mitchell and Francy first went toe-to-toe in the 3000 on Thursday night. The two quickly shot ahead of everyone else and put a comfortable distance between themselves and the pack. They stayed within a stride or two of each other for the first half of the race, but it was only a matter of time before Mitchell pulled away. He won the event with a time of 8:48.01, five seconds ahead of Francy and more than 40 seconds in front of every other runner.

In Friday’s 1500, Francy did not fade down the stretch. He stayed close to Mitchell until the end, but Mitchell pulled ahead by a few meters and crossed the finish line a second before Francy.

Sandy didn’t have any other winners on the track, although it did have several high finishes which aided the team score. Ben Ritter finished third for the Pioneers in the 100-meter dash and Ryan Skidmore took second in the 200. Skidmore also placed second in the long jump. Sandy placed three runners in the top six in the 800 with Zachary Shields coming in third.

In the hurdles, Robert Bierly took third in the 110. Bierly finished the 300-meter hurdles eight one-hundredths of a second behind winner Thomas Hughes of St. Helens to come in second. Bierly was also part of both Sandy relay teams which each finished second.

The Pioneers got a huge lift from their field athletes. Kaden Walker dominated the competition in the pole vault as he cleared the bar at 13 feet, nine inches. That was 15 inches better than any other jumper.

Sandy sophomores Eli Miller and Chris Salmela finished 1-2 in the discus. Miller added a third-place throw in the javelin and Salmela took third in the shot put.

The Pioneers finished the meet with 145.5 team points to win handily. Liberty was a distant second with 108 points.

View a photo gallery from the meet at

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