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Wilder Boyden and Ben Davidson go 1-2 in their two events



TIMES PHOTO: MILES VANCE - Valley Catholic's Wilder Boyden and Ben Davidson run to a 1-2 finish in the boys 1,500 meters during the Cowapa League District track and field meet at Banks High School on Friday, May 15.

BANKS — The Valley Catholic boys track team took its best shot.

Seaside's boys did the same.

But in the end, Scappoose had just too much firepower for either of them to overcome. The Scappoose boys won eight events at the Cowapa League district meet, held Thursday and Friday, May 14-15, at Banks High School, and used that front-line strength to win the district crown with 186 points.

The Seagulls took second with 133.5 points, followed by Valley Catholic at 118, Banks with 116, Tillamook at 53 and Astoria with 50.5.

While the Valiants, runners-up at the 2014 Class 3A state meet, couldn't match Scappoose in their first Class 4A district meet, they definitely had some solid moments along the way. Foremost among those were the dueling 1-2 finishes by senior Wilder Boyden and junior Ben Davidson in the 1,500 and 3,000 meters races.

Boyden and Davidson put together the first of those two stellar performances on Thursday when they set the pace in the 3,000, Boyden winning in 8 minutes, 58.51 seconds and Davidson crossing second in 8:59.58.

They were back at it again Friday in the 1,500, this time with Boyden coming home in 4:09.63 and Davidson close behind again at 4:12.23.

“I had been saying that if it came down to a 400-meter sprint … that Ben and I have more speed than a lot of people and I like our chances a lot,” Boyden said. “We were hoping for a little more predictable race, but ones like this make you all the stronger as a runner.”

“Our goal was to get to state and we did that today,” Davidson said. “We got the job done. That was the goal.”

Their success in those two races means they'll also get to test themselves against the state's best next week at the Class 4A state meet, set for Friday and Saturday, May 21-21, at Hayward Field on the University of Oregon campus in Eugene. The boys 3,000 final is scheduled at 9:30 a.m. Friday, and the 1,500 final is set for 1:39 p.m. on Saturday.

“At the end of the day, it's about the team and not us,” Davidson said. “We just want to represent Valley Catholic and its track program, to make our coaches proud and make our families proud.”

“It's been amazing this year,” Boyden added. “We both realize that any win for a teammate is what it's about. If it means you get beat or you win, it's all about the program. That's what it's all about this year.”

TIMES PHOTO: MILES VANCE - Valley Catholic's Kazuma Lane takes off in the boys triple jump during the Cowapa League District track and field meet at Banks High School on Friday, May 15.While that pair provided the VC boys with their only two victories, there were other successes, too, including: Alex Kiss, third in the 800 at 2:03.59; the 4 x 100 relay team of Alessandro Tubito, Tyler Snook, Shankar Krishnakumar and Joey Biever, third at 45.66; the 4 x 400 relay team of Seancarlos Gonzalez, Boyden, Kiss and Nathaniel Trobough, third at 3:33.75; Biever, fourth in the 100 at 11.62; Trobough, fourth in the 400 at 53.09; Aidan Gillespie, fourth in the 300 intermediate hurdles at 43.19; and Kazuma Lane, fourth in the javelin at 159 feet, 1 inch, and fourth again in the triple jump at 38-4.5.

TIMES PHOTO: MILES VANCE - Valley Catholic's Hannah Rehm speeds to second place in the girls 400 meters during the Cowapa League District track and field meet at Banks High School on Friday, May 15.

Girls Meet

For the Valley Catholic girls — they were Class 3A state champs in 2014 but have competed with a revamped lineup this year — it was even tougher sledding.

The Valiants didn't win any of the meet's 17 events, but did manage four runner-up finishes and closed the meet in fifth place with 96.5 points. Astoria led the way on the girls side with 200 points, followed by Seaside's 109, Banks at 105.5, Scappoose with 102.5, VC and then Tillamook at 40.5.

Senior Sarah Connelly had the most success among Valley Catholic's individual competitors, racing to second place in both the 100 and 200 meters on Friday. In the 100, Connelly finished with a mark of 12.99 and trailed only Astoria winner Natalie Cummings' time of 12.61. And in the 200, Connelly crossed the line at 27.08, again trailing only Cummings who won the event at 25.83.

TIMES PHOTO: MILES VANCE - Valley Catholic's Sarah Connelly races to second place in the girls 100 meters during the Cowapa League District track and field meet at Banks High School on Friday, May 15.Also scoring one of those runner-up finishes was senior Hannah Rehm, who ran the 400 for just the second time in competition this season after struggling with an injured calf most of the year. And Rehm overcame even more than that on Friday, bouncing back from a Thursday fever that left her sick to her stomach and unsure about her chances on Friday.

None of that mattered, however, once the gun went off for the 400 final. Rehm stayed strong throughout, pushed event winner Alyssa Spang of Scappoose all the way to the finish line and notched a time of 1:00.47 (Spang won the event in 59.98).

“I came to run yesterday and there was no pressure. It was just 'Go and do it,'” Rehm said. “But I didn't think I'd have a chance of making state. I just pushed through everything. I got to the last 50 meters and I was like 'Don't lose your spot. Just get across the finish line.'”

Valley's other runner-up finish came from junior Ellen Koukel, who cleared 4-10 in the high jump and trailed only Astoria's Darian Hageman at 5-0.

Other top VC finishers were: Julia Clark, third in the 400 at 1:02.03; the 4 x 100 relay team of Elizabeth Gibson, Clark, Tara Fuiten and Connelly, third at 51.51; the 4 x 400 relay team of Blaise Johnson-Stevens, Regan Torres, Rehm and Clark, third at 4:21.64; Fuiten, fourth in the 100 at 13.55; Noelle Mannen, fourth in the javelin at 99-5; and Petra Flemmer, fourth in the high jump at 4-8 and fourth again in the triple jump at 32-2.5.

You can see more Valley Catholic photos from the two meets on our Facebook page.

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