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Track and field: Wilsonville athletes, events to watch (NWOC district preview)

by: GREG ARTMAN - Wilsonville senior Kyle Roberts enters the district meet with the No. 1 ranking in the boys pole vault.Several members of the Wilsonville track and field team will be in the hunt for league titles and state berths at the upcoming Northwest Oregon Conference district championships, which will be held May 15-16 at Sandy High School.

On the girls side, the Wildcats enter the district meet after cruising to a dual-meet title with a perfect 6-0 record in the regular season. They also took first place at the Dean Nice Invitational and earned runner-up honors at both the Wilsonville and Sandy invitational meets.

On the boys side, Wilsonville is vying for a fourth-consecutive team district title. It went 5-1 in regular-season dual meets.

Here’s an in-depth look at some of the Wildcats’ district contenders:

Taryn Rawlings

Another remarkable postseason could be in store for the star senior, who won state titles in the 800- and 1,500-meter races last year.

She currently owns the district’s fastest times in the 800 (2 minutes 16.85 seconds) and the 3,000 (10:07.90). Her time in the 3,000, which she clocked April 30, smashed the previous school record of 10:21.6 that Melissa Brown set in 2004.

Rawlings is now ranked No. 1 in Class 5A in the 3,000 and second in the 800 behind Crescent Valley senior Aiyanna Cameron-Lewis (2:16.63).

Rebecca Wenz

The versatile senior is headed to Weber State, but her high school career isn’t over just yet. She leads the Wildcats with more than 150 points this season, and she is among the district and state leaders in several events.

She’s ranked first in the NWOC and second in Class 5A in the javelin (131 feet 7 inches), second in the district and third in the state in the discus (117-1), third in the league and 10th in 5A in the shot put (35-11.25) and tied for third in the conference in the high jump (4-10).

Micco Mills

He strengthened his spot atop the NWOC rankings in the boys 100-meter dash with the personal-best time of 11.04 seconds that he clocked May 2 to win the event during the Dean Nice Invitational in Gresham, where he crossed the finish line in front of several Class 6A competitors.

The junior has won the 100 nine times this season, most recently May 7 in Wilsonville’s partial league preview meet with an 11.35 at Milwaukie High School.

Mills’ most formidable conference opponents in the sprint are Sandy senior Ben Ritter (11.27) and Putnam senior Tyler Strauss (11.33).

Entering the district meet, Mills is ranked third in Class 5A behind Eugene-Churchill senior Spenser Schmidt (10.74) and Lebanon senior Brayden Childress (10.94). He has also climbed to No. 4 on the Wildcats’ all-time list, trailing only Brandon Roosevelt (10.81), Ryan Walsh (10.98) and Steve Twidwell (11.01).

Mills is currently second in the NWOC rankings for the 200 with his time of 23.10, trailing only Sherwood senior Hunter Pfefferkorn (22.61).

Boys short relay

Wilsonville enters the district meet with the fastest NWOC time of the season in the 400-meter relay.

Although the members of the quartet have varied throughout the year, the Wildcats seemed to find a promising combination May 7 in Milwaukie. Micco Mills, fellow junior Garrett Chenoweth, senior Kyle Roberts and freshman Andrew Merrick clocked in at 43.80 seconds, jumping to fourth in the 5A standings — behind Lebanon (43.18), Eugene-Marist (43.43) and Bend-Summit (43.67) — and seventh in school history.

Those accolades are particularly noteworthy considering Wilsonville won a state title in the event last year with four other runners: Ryan Walsh, Johnny Ragin, Weylin Lam and Noah Battle.

This season, the Wildcats’ toughest challenge at the district meet will likely come from Putnam, Sandy or Liberty.

Kyle Roberts

In his final year at Wilsonville, Kyle Roberts has made notable progress as a pole vaulter.

After clearing a 10-foot bar in the team’s opener March 19, the senior has matched or beaten his best mark from last year (11-6) in every meet. He has won the event five times this year.

The career-best 13-1 he logged April 30 in a dual meet against Sandy gave him the No. 1 height in the NWOC. It also launched him to second on the Wildcats’ all-time list behind only Drew Rands, who posted a 13-6 in 1999. Roberts has already surpassed graduated vaulter Fletcher Like, last year’s district champion, on the school chart.

He is tied for sixth place in Class 5A on a list led by Bend senior Cameron Stoddard and Marist senior Liam Henshaw at 15-6.

Roberts is also No. 3 in the NWOC rankings for the triple jump with a career-best distance of 41-10.25, trailing Milwaukie brothers Dante Meade (44-9.75) and Devin Meade (43-2).

Jade Weiss

A two-time state qualifier in the 100-meter dash, the junior enters the NWOC championships with the No. 2 ranking in the 400 (1:01.05) and the third-best time in the 100 (12.98 seconds) behind Sherwood junior Emily Johansen (12.92) and St. Helens senior Kylie Reinholdt (12.97).

Kendall Tate

The three-sport junior has put her speed to use in recent weeks, heading into the district meet with the No. 1 ranking in the 200 with a career-best time of 26.65 seconds.

Tate, who won the 100 in Wilsonville’s recent meet against Sandy, could also contribute in the two relay races. She joined Rawlings, Bethany Cerdan and Zoey Grano for a time of 50.70 in the short relay, putting the Wildcats at second in the NWOC and fifth in Class 5A.

Bethany Cerdan

The sophomore appears to be peaking at the right time, posting a career-best time in the 200 (26.87 seconds) and a season-best time in the 100 (13.02) to win both events during Wilsonville’s May 7 meet in Milwaukie. Cerdan, who was a member of the Wildcats’ 400-meter relay squad at last year’s sate meet, enters the NWOC championships in third place in the 200 rankings and in a tie for fifth place in the 100 standings.

Boys javelin

The distance of 174 feet 3 inches that Lane Hull recorded in the javelin in early April remains the top mark in the NWOC heading into the district meet.

But Hull, who transferred to Wilsonville from Molalla, has not participated in track and field competition since April 23. Only two other throwers in the league have topped the 170-foot mark: Sherwood senior Austin Goldstein (172-11) and Wildcats senior Tyler Martin (172-9).

Hull and Martin have both cracked Wilsonville’s all-time top 10 in the event. The list includes several former OSAA champions, including 2013 state winner Johnny Ragin.

Zoey Grano

As evidenced by her recent marks, the sophomore’s track and field career is getting off the ground — literally. Grano notched a career-best distance of 33-11.50 in the triple jump earlier this month, propelling her to fifth in the NWOC rankings.

The PR-tying 16-5 she posted in the long jump five days later put her at No. 6 in that event — 13.5 inches behind league-leading St. Helens senior Kylie Reinholdt.

And more

Others athletes to watch in boys competition include Austin Barnes in the high jump, Alex Roberts in the long jump, Sam Bullock in the 300 hurdles and Carlos Villagomez in the distance races.

Other athletes to watch on the girls side include Kristen Burke in the hurdles, Nikki Holman and Toni Gowen in the girls 800, Meagan Koeroghlian in the pole vault and Savannah Stehman in the 400.


By Jeff Goodman
Sports editor
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