Brooks wins state title as Crook County track shows out in Eugene
Grace Brooks is a state champion, and the Crook County Cowgirls had a great team performance at the OSAA Class 5A State Track and Field Championships.
The Cowgirls came away with sixth place at the event, which was held Friday and Saturday, May 20-21, at the newly revamped Hayward Field in Eugene.
Meanwhile, the Cowboys finished 22nd in the 30-team competition behind their lone state qualifier, sophomore Ayden Hall.
"It was super fun," said Cowgirl senior Josie Kasberger, who placed in all three throwing events. "It's really cool to see the entire stadium — like, we're competing at Hayward. It's one of the best facilities in the nation. It's amazing."
In a state championship that went down to the final event, the Cowgirls came up just short of earning a trophy, finishing with 34 points. Crescent Valley had to win the 4x400 relay to win the meet, and that's exactly what they did, taking first in a time of 4:09.86 to finish the meet with 67 points. North Salem, which did not have a relay team, finished second with 66 points. Rounding out the top five were Thurston (57), Corvallis (40) and Pendleton (39).
The Cowgirls crowned one individual state champion, while six of their eight athletes finished on the podium. On the boys' side, Hall placed in both the shot put and discus to score all four of the Cowboys' team points.
Brooks, a senior, who was the top seed heading into the competition, delivered with a winning throw of 123-04 to outdistance the field. Kasberger threw a personal record toss of 111-02 on her opening throw to take third in the event.
"In the discus, Josie started it out," said head coach Ernie Brooks, who also coaches the throwers. "When our throwers go to state, I give them this story and then I write a little letter on the bottom. The story basically goes, there was a javelin thrower in the Netherlands national meet that wasn't supposed to do anything, and he comes out and he uncorks and everybody tightens up — and he ends up being champion because he prepared and got ready. He knew he could do it, and nobody else thought that he could do it. And that was Josie in the discus. She came out threw that 111 and everybody puckered up."
Brooks took the lead on her second throw with a toss of 118-07, then continued to throw farther as the meet progressed, finally throwing her longest throw in the fifth round.
"Being a coach, (when) you get a state champion, it's always awesome," coach Brooks said. "But when it's your daughter, it's amazing. Just the hard work she's put in through (the pandemic), and that's when she really jumped out and wanted to dig in and go. That hard work and dedication, and then you put some talent in it, and it's exciting. It's exciting for her. To see her do that and give her the medal on the podium — yeah, I get choked up thinking about it. It was so much fun."
Brooks and Kasberger also both placed in the shot put, with Kasberger finishing sixth with a heave of 33-05.75 and Brooks taking eighth with a toss of 33-00. In the javelin, Kasberger placed seventh with a toss of 106-01.
"I couldn't breathe," Grace Brooks said of the experience of competing at Hayward field. "My breath was taken away. I've seen pictures of it. I've been on the outside while it was being built, but I don't think we could have ever imagined that it would be this cool."
Brooks added that although she was pleased with winning a state championship, having the experience with her teammates may have been even more important.
"The fact that we're here together and our team is here also, that's the big part," she said. "I'm just grateful that we get to do it. These next two years people are going to have to watch out. We've got some young runners. And the throwers that were stuck behind us this year, they're going to come up."
"We have freshmen who were on the podium already today," added Kasberger. "It's amazing."
The young runners that Brooks and Kasberger were talking about are led by Natalia Crass, who finished third in the 400 with a time of 59.95.
"I feel so grateful and so privileged to be a freshman and running on the greatest track in the world," she said. "Being able to just be here and place so well — and to be on a team with such amazing seniors — it's just a blessing. I just loved this season. I'm so happy I got to experience all these amazing people. I'm extremely pleased."
Crass also anchored the Cowgirls' 4x400 relay team, which finished fourth in a team-best time of 4:13.21. The team could have been even faster, but on the third exchange they were blocked by a Crescent Valley runner and lost valuable track position.
"I'm really proud of our team and how they did," said leadoff runner Tienna Quinn, a senior. "I'm honored. It feels so special to me, I've just been soaking it in this whole time, like I'm just really glad I ended my senior year this way. I love our team and the people I ran with, I'm really glad I got to spend my last year running with them."
Fellow senior Sofia Langley, who ran the third leg, was also pleased with how the relay team performed.
"I'm extremely pleased," she said. "We were able to podium with my last race ever, so I'm really proud of these girls."
Elise Rice, the fourth member of the 4x400 relay team, also ran the 300 hurdles where she was a surprise placer.
Rice qualified for the state meet with the fifth and final wildcard berth, leaving her seeded 13th in the prelims. But Rice ran fast enough in Friday's preliminary race to qualify for the finals, where she finished eighth with a time of 49.70.
"I honestly was not expecting it," Rice said of placing in the 300 hurdles. "I was just someone to fill an extra spot, so I was going in just to try my hardest. Coming back and running the relay was really hard for me. What gave me the strength is I was praying to God and I said, 'God, I need the strength. It's my last race ever, because I'm not planning on doing sports in college, so I need the strength to do the best I can.'"
"I was running and I hit the last 150," Rice continued, "and I suddenly just get the biggest burst of energy and I was able to pass three girls. It was incredible."
Junior sprinter Alexys Schneider also earned a wildcard berth into the state meet, qualifying in the 100. However, Schneider, who is coming off an injury, failed to advance to the finals.
The Cowgirl 4x100 relay team of Quinn, Crass, Rice and Cylie Hartzell also qualified for the state meet but did not advance to the finals.
Meanwhile, Hall, who is just a sophomore, threw the discus 127-02 to finish in eighth place, then came back to finish sixth in the boys shot put with a heave of 44-06.50.
While Crescent Valley won the girls team title, Silverton took the boys competition with 79 points. Rounding out the top five were Crater (69), Wilsonville (65), North Bend (56), and Central (39).
In other classifications in the boys competition, Adrian won the 1A title, Bandon took first in the 2A competition, Catlin Gabel took the 3A boys competition, Marshfield won the 4A championship and Central Catholic won the 6A title. In girls competition, Damascus Christian took the 1A title, Coquille the 2A, Nyssa won the 3A championship, Philomath took the 4A title, and Lake Oswego sprinted to first in the 6A competition.
"I thought that Grace could win it and Josie could do some damage, and our relays could be in there, but we are so young," said coach Brooks of the meet. "We've got senior leadership and freshman horses, and it came together. Natalia in the 400 dropping under 60 and running a 59, just dynamic. Way to start her high school career. And then Elise Rice in the 300 hurdles making finals and then getting on the podium when she's dead last coming in — to run up in the prelims and make finals, that's what it's all about. Those kids who know they can do it and reach out and grab hold, that's what makes our team special."
OSAA 5A Track & Field Championships
at Hayward Field in Eugene
Friday and Saturday, May 20-21
Girls team scores — 1. Crescent Valley, 67. 2. North Salem, 66. 3. Thurston, 57. 4. Corvallis, 40. 5. Pendleton, 39. 6. Crook County, 34. 7. The Dalles, 29. 8. Wilsonville, 26. 9. Crater, 25.5. 10. West Albany, 24. 11. Willamette, 23. 12. Central, 22. 12. Hillsboro, 22. 14. La Salle Prep, 18. 14. Ridgeview, 18. 16. Ashland, 17. 17. Parkrose, 14. 17. Putnam, 14. 17. Springfield, 14. 20. Silverton, 13. 20. Redmond, 13. 20. St. Helens, 13. 23. North Eugene, 12. 24. Dallas, 11. 25. Churchill, 7. 25. Scappoose, 7. 27. North Bend, 6.5. 28. Hood River Valley, 4. 29. Eagle Point, 3. 30. Milwaukie, 2. 30. Lebanon, 2.
Boys team scores — 1. Silverton, 79. 2. Crater, 69. 3. Wilsonville, 65. 4. North Bend, 56. 5. Central, 39. 6. North Salem, 37. 6. Churchill, 37. 8. Pendleton, 33. 8. Crescent Valley, 33. 10. Redmond, 32. 11. Ridgeview, 27. 12. Thurston, 19. 13. Ashland, 18. 13. Lebanon, 18. 13. The Dalles, 18. 13. Milwaukie, 18. 17. Dallas, 17. 18. Scappoose, 12. 19. South Albany, 7. 20. West Albany, 5. 20. St. Helens, 20. 22. Willamette, 4. 22. Crook County, 4. 24. Putnam, 3. 25. Hood River Valley, 2. 25. North Eugene, 2. 27. Springfield, 1. 17. Parkrose, 1. 27. Hillsboro, 1.
Girls individual results (state champions plus all Crook County qualifiers)
100 — 1. Jordan Koskondy, North Salem, 12.49; 13. Alexys Schneider, Crook County, 13.69. 200 — 1. Breanna Raven, Thurston, 25.43.
400 — 1. Ava McKee, Crescent Valley, 58.86; 3. Natalia Crass, Crook County, 59.95.
800 — 1. Ava McKee, Crescent Valley, 2:18.19.
1,500 — 1. Haley Blaine, West Albany, 4:46.07.
3,000 — 1. Emily Wisniewski, Crescent Valley, 10:13.76.
100 hurdles — 1. Jordan Koskondy, North Salem, 14.65.
300 hurdles — 1. Jordan Koskondy, North Salem, 44.04; 8. Elise Rice, Crook County, 49.70.
4x100 relay — 1. Corvallis, 50.22; 10. Tienna Quinn, Natalia Crass, Elise Rice, Cylie Hartzell, Crook County, 52.14.
4x400 relay — 1. Crescent Valley, 4:09.86; 4. Tienna Quinn, Elise Rice, Sofia Langley, Natalia Crass, Crook County, 4:13.21.
Shot put — 1. Jordan Koskondy, North Salem, 43-03; 6. Josie Kasberger, Crook County, 33-05.75; 8. Grace Brooks, Crook County, 33-00.
Discus — 1. Grace Brooks, Crook County, 123-04; 3. Josie Kasberger, Crook County, 111-02.
Javelin — 1. Zowie Nunes, Ridgeview, 138-02; 7. Josie Kasberger, Crook County, 106-01.
High jump — 1. Clara Bennett, Crater, 5-03.
Pole vault — 1. Rhys Allen, Willamette, 11-03.
Long jump — 1. Breanna Raven, Thurston, 18-00.
Triple jump — 1. Breanna Raven, Thurston, 37-05.75.
Boys individual results (state champions plus all Crook County qualifiers)
100 — 1. DeMari Thompson, North Salem, 10.75.
200 — 1. DeMari Thompson, North Salem, 21.76.
400 — 1. John Efraimson, North Bend, 49.75.
800 — 1. Jeffrey Hellman, Crater, 1:55.97.
1,500 — 1. Josiah Tostenson, Crater, 3:59.74.
3,000 — 1. Tyrone Gorze, Crater, 8:17.26.
110 hurdles — 1. Logan Robertson, Redmond, 15.56.
300 hurdles — 1. Nathan Fields, Churchill, 39.16.
4x100 relay — 1. North Bend, 42.67.
4x400 relay — 1. Ashland, 3:25.78.
Shot put — 1. Orie Schaffers, Silverton, 54-07.50; 6. Ayden Hall, Crook County, 44-06.50.
Discus — 1. Sam Willis, Silverton, 159-05; 8. Ayden Hall, Crook County, 127-02.
Javelin — 1. Chase Hix, Wilsonville, 188-04.
High jump — 1. Nathan Wachs, Redmond, 6-04.
Pole vault — 1. Taylor Morehouse, The Dalles, 15-00.
Long jump — 1. Nathan Fields, Churchill, 22-05.50.
Triple jump — 1. Nathan Fields, Churchill, 47-01.
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