Gladstone girls nip Crook County at wire to win Tri-Valley track title
Gladstone's Amanda Bays, Grace Campbell, and Brianna Lewis did their share of heavy lifting, but those three didn't clinch the girls' team title at the Tri-Valley Conference track and field championships all by themselves.
They had a lot of help.
The Gladiators scored points in nine of 10 running events and all seven field events and edged Crook County 164-162 in the team race, while three-time defending champion Molalla finished third with 98 points Saturday at Heckard Field in Molalla.
The victory helped erase some of the disappointment from last year's league championship meet when injuries to a couple key athletes -- Campbell, in particular -- kept Gladstone from realizing its full potential and the Gladiators lost the team race by six points, 140-134, to Molalla.
This time around, the Gladiators were close to full strength and overcame a mix-up in Friday's 3,000-meter run final to win their first league championship since 2013.
"What a great competition," Gladiators coach Greg Hess said. "Crook County gave us everything we could handle. After losing last year, it's a great feeling. It's amazing.
"The kids fought through and did what they were supposed to do and then some, and we came away with a league championship."
One of the few drawbacks was that the final day of the two-day meet fell on the same day as Gladstone's prom, so most of the Gladiators had headed home before the final team scores were announced.
Campbell, a senior, was one of the few to stick around.
"I've waited a long time for this," she said. "I told everybody, I'm not leaving the meet early because if we win the league championship, I'm standing on top of that podium with a big smile on my face, but I've waited four years for this."
Campbell was recognized as the female outstanding athlete of the meet after she placed first in the 200, first in the long jump, first in the triple jump, and second in the high jump.
She put up some impressive marks, too, including personal bests of 26.88 seconds in the 200 and 34 feet, 9 inches in the triple jump.
The key with Campbell was that she got pulled from the 4x100 relay and we entered in the high jump -- a move that turned into a pivotal six-point swing in the team scoring.
"Four events was a lot and, yeah, let's go out senior year with a bang, but it also went a long way toward determining if we win league or not," Campbell said. "We all knew that the team race would come down to four or five points either way between us and Crook County."
Lewis, a freshman, was named the female track athlete of the meet after she finished first in the 300 hurdles, second in the 100 hurdles, and third in the 100. She also ran the first leg on the Gladiators 4x100 relay with Aaliyah Asad, Tiana Greene, and Hailey Mazzi that finished second behind Molalla.
Bays, the senior distance specialist and the defending district champion in the 3,000 and 1,500, was in position to win a second outright 3,000 title in Friday's final, but was thrown off when meet officials mistakenly rang the bell for the final lap one lap too soon.
Confusion followed and when the dust settled, Bays and Crook County's Jeanette Carne were declared co-champions with winning times of 11:36.85.
Bays then came back in Saturday's 1,500 final and left no doubt as she won in 5:21:09, finishing more than four seconds ahead of runner-up Alexandra Snigoriv of Molalla and nine seconds ahead of Carne in third.
Gladstone's Charlie Hill also punched her ticket into the OSAA Class 5A state championships beginning Friday at Hayward Field in Eugene after finishing second in the pole vault with a jump of 8-6. She also finished third in the 100 hurdles, a split second behind Lewis.
Bays, Campbell, Hill, and Lewis scored a combined 97 teams points, but the crucial points that helped put the Gladiators over the top in the team race were ones scored by athletes who aren't going to state.
Among the key contributors:
-- In addtion to running on the short relay, Mazzi, a freshman, jumped 15-7 to finish fourth in the long jump (five team points) and then ran 28.09 to finish fifth in the 200 (four points) and 17.66 to place sixth in the 100 hurdles (three points). All three of her marks also were personal bests.
-- In the shot put, Jaden Barnum threw a personal best 34-4 1/2 to place third, Jianna Dilsaver placed fifth, and Allyson Pope placed eighth, scoring a combined 10 team points.
-- Pope, a sophomore, placed fourth in the triple jump with a personal best 31-8 1/2, and Abby Hill was fifth with a mark of 30-11 1/2.
n Freshman Brynn Tatom ran a personal best 12:01.45 to place third in the 3,000 and then ran 5:33:44 to finish fourth in the 1,500.
-- Senior Cameron Cronin, a former state qualifier who was coming back from a knee injury that limited her to four regular-season meets, cleared a season-best 8-6 in the pole vault to finish third in her final meet.
-- Tiana Greene finished fourth in the 100, Cloe Storer fourth in the 800, Denali Nelson fifth in the 800, Asad fifth in the javelin, Pope fifth in the high jump, the 4x400 relay finished fifth, Dilsaver sixth in the discus, Abby Hill seventh in the pole vault, and Katherine Fisher seventh in the 300 hurdles.
"I know a lot of people stepped up for us today," Campbell said. "We have this saying, 'Just beat the person in front of you.' Not everyone is going to go to state, but if you can finish ahead of one person in front of you, then you've done your job."