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Fourth-straight NWOC district title up for grabs for Wildcats

by: JEFF GOODMAN / PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP - Micco Mills (center) has climbed into Wilsonville's all-time top 10 in the boys 100- and 200-meter dashes.Heading into the spring without Johnny Ragin and Ryan Walsh, it seemed as though the Wilsonville boys track and field team might lose ground in the graduated stars’ former events.

Instead, those athletes’ specialties have been among the bright spots for the Wildcats this season.

Thanks to the progress of junior thrower Lane Hull and junior sprinter Micco Mills, among others, Wilsonville has built on its tradition of success with several standout performances.

The team took fourth place out of 20 teams at its home invitational April 19 and defeated Sherwood 79-66 in a dual meet on the road April 23.

“For us it is about getting better week by week and showing the outcome of our work every meet,” coach Josh Finck said. “We train for improvement, not titles.”

If everything goes well for the Wildcats, though, they might be able to have both. Hull, Mills and their teammates are a few weeks away from competing for a fourth-straight district championship at the Northwest Oregon Conference meet, which is slated for May 15-16 in Sandy.

Hull, who transferred to Wilsonville from Molalla, has engineered a promising season in the throws.

He won the javelin competition in six of his first seven meets this season, and the career-best distance of 174 feet 3 inches that he recorded April 2 puts him at No. 1 in the NWOC and fourth in the Class 5A rankings. He’s currently at No. 8 in the event on a WHS chart that includes Ragin, Sean MacKelvie and Jesse Staub — all former state champions.

Hull has also made steady improvement in the shot put, logging a personal-best 45-6.75 to win the event at Sherwood. That mark vaulted him into the Wildcats’ all-time top 20.

“He’s a great all-around athlete,” Finck said of Hull. “He will do well in javelin and will be a big up-and-coming competitor in the shot put with his quickness supplementing his great arm strength.”

Mills, meanwhile, has carried Wilsonville in the sprints.

He has earned five victories in the 100-meter dash, including one against Liberty on April 16 with a career-best time of 11.36 seconds that pushed him up to No. 2 in the NWOC — one-hundredth of a second behind Putnam senior Tyler Strauss.

Mills also holds the second ranking in the league and the No. 8 spot in the 5A standings in the 200 with a personal-record 23.10, which he clocked against the Falcons.

Finck said he and Mills are still determining whether the junior is better-suited for the 100 or 200. He’s already cracked the school’s all-time top 10 in each.

“He’s doing great in both right now,” Finck said.

Mills has helped the Wildcats overcome the voids left by Ragin, Walsh and Noah Battle on the 400-meter relay squad, which won a state title last year.

He and Weylin Lam — the lone returner from last season’s quartet — joined Alex Roberts and Garrett Chenoweth to finish the event in 44.55 seconds in Wilsonville’s home meet April 2. That time currently stands at second in the conference and eighth in 5A — 1.01 seconds behind the leading Lebanon squad.

“We are young but won’t miss a beat,” Finck said.

By Jeff Goodman
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