The king of the kick and the welcomer of the most punishing physical training is back atop the Class 6A classification.
Sunset senior Ethan Reese successfully defended his state championship in the 800 meters by winning another title in the two-lap charge at Mt. Hood Community College on May 25, this after taking the 6A individual state crown in cross country back in the fall.
"Championships always feel super special," Reese said. "You can never plan on them, you can never count on them, but it's so great when it happens. It's been an amazing season. I feel like it's vindicated all of the hard work that I've put in for the last four years. It all really feels worth it on days like today. It all comes together."
Reese can dabble in either running arena and star but arguably is at his best on the oval. Reese said he knew he had the top 800 time going into the final and the best fitness, so all he had to was "prove it" as the rain saturated the track and swept over the competing athletes. Reese (1:53.4) led the 800 from the very beginning, paced the event from the front and put it away with a 300-meter all-out sprint to the tape that helped him win by more than two seconds over West Salem sophomore Evan Henkel (1:55.16). Rather than worry about tripping over a fellow competitor's feet or getting boxed in, Reese escaped to the front of the race for a bit of extra breathing room.
"As soon as the gun goes off, it's just you out there and you have to give it all you've got and run your best," Reese said. "The rain makes it hard to race makeup gaps or open up gaps, so you just have to be mindful of it the whole time and not leave anything until the end."
Compared to what Reese and his fellow Sunset racers have endured in preparing for the season, running an 800 in the rain must have felt like a breeze. Back in January, for example, the Apollos ran 30 repeats up and down a 100-meter long steep hill, building both velocity and doggedness that had a hand in helping Reese add another first-place medal to his high school collection.
There was competitive drama galore in the 6A boys triple jump as seven different athletes jumped 44 feet or longer in the finals. But Beaverton junior Nathan Reed conquered the field, leaping out to a 44-10 mark that beat Sheldon senior DJ Seguin, Lake Oswego senior Matthew Seeley and Central Catholic senior Travis West. On the walk from the waiting tent to the top of the podium, Reed said the realization and sense of accomplishment washed over him.
"I was remembering all the things that led up to that moment, all the coaching, all the support, all the training, it just all came together," Reed said. "It feels good knowing all my hard work and training pays off."
Reed had a breakthrough junior season for the Beavers, setting personal records in the long and triple jump and the 110-meter hurdles. He won a Metro title in the triple jump and took second in the district in the long jump. In the fall Reed played football which helped his cardiovascular levels and fed his competitive drive. But more so, the Beaver junior said he started eating the right kind of foods, incorporating chicken, vegetables like carrots and broccoli and complex carbohydrates such as brown rice into his diet in order to complement his rigorous winter-time workouts. It wasn't the strictest meal plan, Reed said. Every now and then he'd eat pizza or a cheeseburger like any teenager. But the adult-like nutritional switch up powered Reed from week to week as he saw the type of personal gains that ultimately led to a state title.
"I don't think without that diet that you can perform at your best," Reed said. "You need to gain muscle to run faster, jump higher, jump further. There were times where I was like 'I can't eat that because I have to stay healthy'. It was a little hard being around friends who ate whatever they wanted. But it was definitely worth it in the end."
Reed credited the Beaverton coaching staff for imparting words of wisdom that hit home during the postseason that helped push him to new personal peaks.
"They can tell you something, but if you don't apply it, it won't work," Reed said. "At state and especially at districts, the things they said really came through and I popped out."
Reed said he's unsure if he'll play football again, but he'll undoubtedly compete in indoor and outdoor track leagues leading up to his senior season to stay in jumping shape. Reed plans on competing at the Oregon Junior Olympics and possibly regionals and nationals if everything goes to play. At the Metro League district championship Reed hit a 47-1 foot mark in the triple jump and wants to stay in the 46-foot range as a benchmark for his senior campaign. His elevated profile will surely attract the eyes of colleges and universities looking for an athlete who hasn't maxed out yet.
"With everything that came through this year, especially with the jumps I was jumping, that doing track in college is a pretty good option," Reed said. "It's always good to get your name out there to colleges and that's what I plan to do this summer."
Westview finished fifth with 27 points. Wildcat sophomore Denzel Pinto placed fifth in the 400 and anchored the Wildcat 4x400 relay that finished third. Westview senior Kianush Behbehani-Escobar, who was a state runner up wrestler, placed third in the discus. Senior Cielo Del Rosario took fifth in the javelin and junior Wayne Jamison was third in the long jump. Sunset tied for 17th overall with 15 points with Ika Nguamo placing fourth in the shot put while Beaverton was 22nd with 12 points. Southridge was 38th with four points thanks to senior Ross Davis who took fifth in the high jump. Reed was 14th in the long jump while sophomore teammate Terrell Lawson placed eighth in the said event. Beaverton senior Ryan Turner set a new personal record in the discus and finished in eighth place.