Crook County Cowboys win Intermountain Conference title
The Crook County Cowboys took care of business in a big way this past weekend as they rolled to the Intermountain Conference track and field championship.
"It was awesome," Crook County head coach Ernie Brooks said of the title. "When we scored it out before the meet, our guys were down by six points — but our guys came through and dropped the hammer down."
The Cowboys rolled out to a small lead Friday afternoon during the opening day of the meet, which was held at Ward Rhoden Stadium in Prineville. More importantly, the team put virtually everyone possible through to Saturday's running finals.
Then Saturday, the Cowboys slowly expanded their lead, closing things off with a win in the 4x400-meter relay, winning the meet by nearly 50 points over second-place Pendleton.
The Cowboys finished with 213 points, Pendleton, 165, The Dalles, 103.5, Hood River Valley, 78, Redmond, 74, and Ridgeview, 15.5.
Cowboy athletes won six individual events in addition to the relay win.
Perhaps even more importantly, the Cowboys qualified eight individuals plus the relay team for the state meet.
"Our guys could do some damage at state," Brooks said. "I don't know if we have quite the horses to do enough damage, but we have some kids that can score some points. If we can score 50, we can place, and that's the big goal."
Noah Chaney picked up the first win for the Cowboys, easily winning the pole vault Friday afternoon. Despite high winds, Chaney still cleared 13-09, the state automatic qualifying standard, as he won by a foot over second-place Steven Stanley of The Dalles.
"I'm fine with it," Chaney said of his height, which was nine inches lower than his season best. "The goal is to finish off my senior season with one last first place. If everything goes perfect at state, I think I can take it."
Tyler Humeston also qualified for state on Friday, punching his ticket with a second-place finish in the shot put.
Humeston heaved the 12-pound ball 50-01 to edge third-place Dylan Moss, who threw 48-05.50. Moss came into the district meet seeded ahead of Humeston.
"I was really happy with the throw," Humeston said. "I had some hard competition, but I'm glad for my throw. It gives me confidence that I can compete at state."
Hood River Valley's Henry Buckles easily won the meet with a personal-best throw of 56-01.50, one of the top throws in the state at any classification this year.
Crook County's Caleb Parrott also picked up valuable points in the event, placing fourth with a toss of 43-08.
Also qualifying for state on Friday was Jason Slawter, who finished second in the javelin with a throw of 156-06. Sam Jennings of Pendleton won with a throw of 157-07.
"I was OK with how well I threw because the weather was kind of a factor," Slawter said. "But I know that I can do better than that. I want to move up a few spots at state. It's going to be serious and fun at the same time, because if it's too serious, you don't have any fun, and if it's too fun, you aren't serious enough, so you need to have a mix."
Also qualifying for state on Friday was Dominic Langley, who was second in the triple jump with a leap of 43-09.50. Edwin Linares of Pendleton won with a jump of 44-00.50. Both athletes set personal records with their jumps.
The other final on Friday was the 3,000-meter run. Although no Cowboys qualified for state, they did earn big points in the event as Alex Vail, Miles Chaney and Cade Catterson finished third, fourth and fifth, respectively with times of 9:34.37, 9:45.43 and 9:49.77.
Sam Alvarez of The Dalles won with a time of 9:20.64.
After having a solid day on Friday, the Cowboys looked even better on Saturday.
Crook County sophomore Zach Guthrie was named most outstanding male athlete of the meet.
After setting a personal-best time of 11.06 in Friday's 100-meter prelims, Guthrie went on to win Saturday's final in a time of 11.33.
Times were slower on Saturday because athletes ran into a stiff headwind in the race.
Guthrie went on to win the 200 and the long jump as well as run the first leg on the Cowboys' winning 4x400 relay team.
Guthrie's time in the 200 was a personal-best 22.69, while he long jumped 21-06.
The relay team of Guthrie, Triston Fischer, Alec Carne and Langley won by more than seven seconds with a season-best time of 3:29.20.
"I was a little stressed about my races," Guthrie said. "I was shocked with how fast I ran the 100 in the prelims. I don't think I ran as well in the finals, but there was a head wind. My mark in the long jump wasn't where I wanted it to be, but it was good enough. But it's the relay that is a huge deal, because everybody has to be on top of their game for it to go well."
Although he qualified for state in all four events, Guthrie will not run the 200 at state.
He said that he hopes to place in the top four at state in each of his individual events, and the team has a goal to win the relay.
Guthrie gave the Cowboys a slim lead after the opening leg of the relay. However, a The Dalles runner passed Triston Fischer during the second leg. Fischer smartly stayed behind that runner until the final 75 meters of the race when he passed and pulled out to a lead before passing the baton to Carne.
"It was amazing," Fischer said of the race. "I had to really work for it. As a freshman, I'm honored to go to state. It's a good feeling."
Carne continued to lead, giving the baton to Langley with the Cowboys well in front.
Langley then pulled away from the field, easily winning.
Carne, who was disappointed not to qualify for state in any of his individual events, was pleased with the team's relay performance.
"It's huge," he said. "It's everything, and it was a lot of fun. The whole team did the best we could. I'm very excited about state. Especially with this group of guys that I have been running with. It's going to be fun."
In addition to anchoring the relay, Langley also easily won the 400 with a time of 50.68, a new personal best.
The senior was also second in the high jump with a leap of 6-02.
"It feels great to go to state in four events my senior year," he said. "I was very blessed to have the opportunity to go to state. I was pleased with everything, but my 4x400 relay team really put things together, and we got a 4-second pr, so I'm pretty proud of those guys."
Langley added that he hopes to be in the top three in his individual events and thinks that the relay team can win at state.
The final Cowboy winner was Miles Chaney, who sprinted away from the field in the final 200 meters to win the 800 with a time of 2:03.46.
The time was a pr for the senior distance ace, but more importantly, it earned him his first trip to the state meet.
"It means a lot because both my sophomore and junior year I got third in the district, and I wasn't able to go to state," he said. "After those years of just grinding and working and just staying patient, I was able to switch to the 800, and I just punched my ticket to state. The ticket that I had in my hands for years, but I hadn't been able to punch it yet. Well, it just got punched."
Jonas Rice also qualified for state on the track. The junior hurdler, who missed most of the season with injuries, finished second in both the 110 hurdles and the 300 hurdles, qualifying for state in both events.
Rice ran prs in both races, with times of 15.44 and 40.77, respectively.
"The injury part was really hard," Rice said. "Watching my teammates giving their all, I felt like I was letting them down, but coming here on our field and being able to run this was very exciting."
The final Cowboy to qualify for the state meet is Parrott, who threw 11 feet farther than his previous best in the discus to finish second with a throw of 142-05.75.
Humeston finished third in the event with a personal-record throw of 136-07. Although only the top two automatically qualify for state, Humeston threw far enough to earn a wild card berth to the state meet. Humeston and Parrott are both seniors.
"It felt really good," Parrott said. "It's been a while, and we knew that I had it in me, but it feels good to finally get it out there. I just slowed everything down and reset my mind and just put my body in the right places to get the most out of the advantages that I have with my body. It's a good thing to be out here and still going for state, so now I need to just keep improving."
Although no other Cowboys qualified for the state meet, that doesn't mean that there weren't other great performances.
Fischer and Noah Chaney finished third and fourth, respectively, in the 400 with times of 52.79 and 53.20.
Eric Logan ran a personal best in the 800 to finish fourth in 2:08.33, while Roman Stenbeck finished seventh with a time of 2:11.75, also a season best.
Vail, Carne and Catterson placed fourth, fifth and sixth in the 1,500, all in personal-best or season-best times.
Vail finished in 4:22.45, while Carne was close behind in 4:24.50, and Catterson had a time of 4:27.44.
Elijah Becker took fifth in the 110 hurdles with a time of 17.32, while Carne and Trevyn Smith went four, five in the 300 hurdles with times of 43.88 and 44.43, respectively.
In the final running event of the meet, the Crook County 4x100 relay team of Slawter, Fischer, Kaden Horton and Eliab Rice finished fourth with a time of 44.97.
In the throws, Carson Chamness threw more than 8 feet farther than he ever had before to finish sixth in the discus with a throw of 125-02.75.
Humeston also had a season-best throw in the javelin to take fifth with a toss of 137-05.
The final Cowboy to place in the meet was Eliab Rice, who was eighth in the triple jump with a leap of 39-04.
Brooks said that the boys team had a meeting early Saturday without the coaches to discuss what they needed to do in the meet.
"Miles, Dominic and Caleb sort of headed that," Brooks said. "We sent them off to the side, and they figured things out this morning, what they needed to do to win this. They took ownership and they came through."
Brooks added that between the boys and the girls team, Crook County has 25 seniors this year and that the seniors have provided leadership all year.
"Miles and Dominic are the glue that holds the group together," he said. "A group of seniors like this doesn't come around very often, and it's a special group, but next year, guess what, we challenged them to start the year like we ended."
The state meet will be held Friday and Saturday, May 24-25 at Mount Hood Community College in Gresham.
Field events start at 11 a.m. on Friday with running events set to begin at 2.
Saturday, field events also begin at 11 a.m. with running events set to start at 1:30 p.m.
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