Kacalek, Ard podium at state meet
It was a rainy Saturday afternoon when Canby junior Izabela Kacalek competed in the 800 meter finals. The speedy Cougar led the race for a good portion of the event, but was soon eclipsed by Jesuit's Chloe Foerster and Molly Grant, and Summit's Isabel Max. Eventually, Kacalek's final time was 2:15.00 to land her in fourth place.
That came after Kacalek took first place in the 800 meter preliminaries with a personal best run, clocking in with a time of 2:14.76.
"It was super cool to be on the podium," Kacalek said. "I didn't even know if I could make it to the finals, so it was cool to be fourth up there."
Kacalek dabbled in the 800 meters as a sophomore, posting a season best time of 2:24.46 at the Elden Kellar Invitational. She only ran that event thrice, instead opting to focus on the 1,500 meters. When asked when why she decided to focus on the 800, Kacalek's answer was refreshingly pure in motive.
"I just wanted to try my best, and see what I could do," Kacalek said. "It was really cool having the opportunity to run it. I just thought, 'Well why not? Just try to go for it with the rest of the girls.'"
Canby senior Bryce Ard was the other competitor representing Canby's blue and gold. Ard finished in sixth place with a throw of 176'9". This was Ard's second time at the state meet in just his second season of competition. Ard moved over from baseball after his sophomore year and took up the javelin to good success.
"Saying that I started only about 18 months ago, I feel like I did pretty good," Ard said. "I had higher expectations of myself, but I'd say I'm never satisfied. That being said, it was pretty good."
Unlike his Canby counterpart Kacalek, Ard admitted that the deluge did affect his mindset in the competition.
"I think coming into it, I had a good mind state, but I think the weather affected my subconscious ability to trust myself and the way I perform," Ard said. "I think it kind of breaks my mental concentration because the weather was so bad."
Both Kacalek and Ard had different opinions about competing at Mt. Hood Community College as opposed to Hayward Field at the University of Oregon.
"I definitely enjoyed running here more than at Eugene," Kacalek said. "It feels like a high school track honestly. Eugene was humongous, it was really cool but kind of crazy walking out there and having all of these people there. I really liked running here, and I'm really looking forward to next year, if I go to state, running at the new stadium in Eugene. But it was nice running here."
"I thought you get consumed by this energy when you're at Hayward performing in front of so many people, and the stands are completely filled," Ard said. "I would agree that Mt. Hood Community College gave off a different sort of feeling. It wasn't as powerful, I'd say."
For Ard, with this season being his last as a Canby Cougar, the journey (hopefully) continues in college. Ard has fielded offers from colleges, but hopes to throw javelin at Mt. Hood Community College.
Kacalek reflected on her junior season, and was pleased with the journey as a whole.
"I think the main word for this season was progress," Kacalek said. "I could see myself making progress throughout the season, and I felt like I tied it up well towards the end. I'm really happy with how I finished the season. I'm really looking forward to next year's track."