Oregon City track teams place second at Three Rivers district meet
Oregon City's Harley Daniel found her way to the top of the awards podium three times during the two-day Three Rivers League track and field district championships at Oregon City's Pioneer Memorial Stadium.
Most impressive for only a freshman.
Daniel won Wednesday's long jump with a personal best 18 feet, 4 inches, then came back on Friday to win the 100-meter hurdles in 15.33 seconds and run the first leg on the Pioneers' winning 4x400 relay.
Anya Remsburg added a win in the 800, Alexis Pearson ran away with first place in the 300 hurdles, and Annessa Chirgwin became a two-time district champion in the discus, helping the Pioneers finish second in the team race behind Tualatin by a 130-120 margin.
Pearson also finished second in the 100 hurdles and Remsburg was second in the pole vault, which means the Pioneers will be sending at least six girls in seven events — or eight girls in 10 events counting wheelchair racers Autumn North and Candice Stilwell — to the OSAA Class 6A state championships beginning Friday at Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham.
Oregon City also hopes to draw some wild-card berths into the state meet with Lily Bartel in the 400, Leasure in the triple jump, and possibly the 4x100 relay team of Bailey Gray, Bartel, Daniel, and Remsburg.
"We're all really proud of how we did," Bartel, a senior who also runs on the long relay and will be competing in the state meet for the second time. "We tried our best and I think we accomplished more than we have in all my four seasons here. I've never seen such great athletes as I have this year."
In the boys district meet, Tualatin placed first in six running events, first in two field events, and scored points in each of the other nine events to win the team title with 187 points to runner-up Oregon City's 127.5.
The Pioneers are still sending a strong contingent to the state meet after Jake Follett won both the long jump and the triple jump, Ricky Ascencio won the 400, the long relay finished first, the short relay finished second, Lane Marshall was second in the shot put and discus, and Logan Peyton placed second in the javelin.
Throw in a couple of wild cards and Oregon City's boys could make some noise at the state meet. The girls, too.
In the girls long jump, Daniel saved her best jump for last.
She opened with a marked of 17-3, then strung together four jumps in the 16-foot range before leaping a personal best 18-4 on her final attempt of the competition, adding 12 inches onto her previous PR of 17-4.
"When I jump, it helps if I put my right knee up," Daniel said. "I hadn't been doing that, but my last jump I really forced it up there."
She said the jump didn't feel all that much different from any of her earlier jumps and she was stunned when the meet official announced the mark.
"I thought it was wrong," Daniel said. "I was like, 'No way!' Honestly, I didn't think 18 was doable. I was hoping, but I didn't think I could jump that far."
So, what's next?
"Well, the girl who has jumped the farthest this season (Westview's Colleen Uzoekwe) has a jump of 18-11 3/4, so I'm going to try to get up there," Daniel said.
Daniel also won her heat of the 100 hurdles in a personal best 15.13 during Wednesday's preliminaries, then came back on in Friday's finals and was disappointed when she won in a slower time of 15.33.
"I wanted to PR and I didn't," she said. "It felt good, but I know it could have been better. The start was kind of slow, so I feel if I would have pushed off the blocks a little harder, it would have been a little better.
"It was good enough to win, but next time, hopefully, it's better."
Chirgwin, the Pioneers' junior thrower, punched her return ticket to the state meet in the girls discus on her first attempt of Friday's finals with a throw of 147 feet, 8 inches – a mark that was more than 17 feet beyond the 6A state qualifying standard.
"That was a good throw for me," Chirgwin said. "I was a little surprised, because I did not think it went that far."
She came back with throws of 119-6 and 135-3 to end the preliminary round, then had marks of 141-10 and 138-9 before she scratched on her final attempt in the finals.
"I was focusing on different things and just trying to put them all together, but some of them were a little rough," Chirgwin said. "I didn't quite connect, but I think I've got a big one coming."
Last year, Chirgwin won the Mt. Hood Conference district title with a throw of 136-11 and then placed sixth at state with a mark of 132-1.
She currently owns this season's top 6A mark of 149-8 and eager to try and set a new PR at the state meet, maybe snag a state title to go with her two district titles from two different leagues.
"My goal is to hit 150," Chirgwin said. "That's been my goal since the beginning of the season and it would be a good get."
In Friday's girls 800 final, Remsburg overtook Canby's Izabela Kacalek around the final turn to win in a personal best 2:17.35, taking more than three seconds off her previous PR of 2:20.96.
Remsburg, another OC freshman, was running third behind Kacalek and Canby's Jennifer Torres as the frontrunners completed the first lap, but liked her position at the midway point of the race.
"The pace was really fast and I was third, but I knew that I could pick it up some more," Remsburg said. "I realized the girl in front was picking it up a bit with about 300 meters to go and I knew I needed to stay near the front if I really wanted to win.
"So, I picked it up with her and then I went to pass around the last corner."
Remsburg had the lead at the top of the final straightaway and gradually pulled away, crossing the finish line 0.87 seconds ahead of Kacalek.
"I think it was a really great race," Remsburg said. "I'm glad how it turned out."
Pearson was seeded first in the 300 hurdles before she ran a personal best 47.32 in Wednesday's prelims, but admitted her confidence was shaken a bit when four of the next six qualifiers also ran PRs.
In the final, Pearson pulled out to an early lead and then held off a strong challenge from Lakeridge freshman Hannah Daniel down the final stretch to win in 47.58, with Daniel second in 47.80.
"It was definitely not my best race, but it was still a really good one," said Pearson, a senior who qualified to state for the first time. "I was hoping for a PR, but didn't get it. It's all good, though.
"My strategy has always been to sprint as hard as I can the first 200, because setting up the straightaway from the corner is the most important thing to me."
She got out of position a couple of times where she went over two hurdles with her left leg first instead of her right leg, but that didn't seem to slow her down any.
"It's OK, but not ideal," Pearson said. "I was able to still keep smooth. We train both ways in case we get in that position. We try not to, but it happens.
"When we came around the last corner, I saw a girl (Lakeridge's Daniel) in one of the outside lanes and she was ahead of me and I didn't expect it. It definitely took me by surprise and I definitely had to fight that last stretch."
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