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Senior Justin Gould steps up to win a second straight TRL title in the pole vault

PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP PHOTO: SETH GORDON - West Linn senior Justin Gould flies high on his way to victory in the pole vault during the Three Rivers League district meet at George Fox University on May 9.The competition was as fierce as ever at the 2018 Three Rivers League district track meet.

And so were the West Linn Lions.

While the youthful Lion boys team knew it wouldn't battle for a team title at the district meet — held May 9 and 11 at George Fox University in Newberg — the Lions wanted to battle when they had the chance. In the end, West Linn finished seventh at district with 54.58 points.

The complete team scores were: Tigard 126.83, Sherwood 119.25, Tualatin 106, Newberg 95.25, Lake Oswego 74.83, West Linn 54.58, Lakeridge 52.25 and Canby 30.

While the Lions won just one event at district — senior Justin Gould took the TRL pole vault crown for a second straight year — they also finished second in four events, third once and fourth once.

Gould, who also finished second at district as a sophomore, made his final district meet his best, clearing 15 feet, 6 inches — a new personal record — to beat Newberg runner-up Davis Smith by more than a foot and to better his 2017 winning mark by more than a foot.

Heading into this week's Class 6A state meet — set for Friday and Saturday at Hayward Field on the University of Oregon campus in Eugene — Gould is the second-ranked vaulter in the state, trailing only South Eugene's Simon Park — the reigning state champion — and his top mark of 16-4.75.

Beyond Gould, the Lions' runner-up finishers were: junior Kenny McElroy in the 800 meters at 1 minute, 57.47 seconds; junior John Wetzsteon in the 3,000 at 8:56.36; senior Justin Babcock in the discus at 150-9.50; and freshman Cody Pierce in the high jump at 6-2.

After his finish in the discus — he was also third in the shot put at 50-5.75 — Babcock said he was happy with his finish, but believes he has a lot more in him.

"I've really been throwing my best in warm-ups," Babcock said. "My warm-ups have been a lot more interesting — they've been 170 sometimes — so I've really to keep that going consistently. I need to hit it. I've got it in me."

The key for state, he said, is further comfort with his new form.

"I'm trying a new form … so I need to master that to be more consistent," he added.

Pierce, meanwhile, made his first district meet a memorable one, fighting his way into a jump-off for second place, then clearing a personal best of 6-2 — one inch higher than Newberg's Smith, the event-winner.

"I'm really happy. That's pretty nice for freshman year," Pierce said. "I was just trying to pump myself up all day, get relaxed and stay out of the sun. I was thinking I was going to win it, but it's close enough."

McElroy's time in the 800 was a personal best and placed him just .58 behind Newberg event-winner Kyle Charbonneau. In the 3,000, Wetzsteon also ran a personal best and finished second to Sherwood's Henry Giles at 8:41.41.

West Linn senior Davis Schmitz added his team's other top-four finish, placing fourth in the 400 at 51.54.

Contact Sports Editor Miles Vance at 503-330-0127 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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