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The Pioneers' junior was in second place after preliminaries, got bumped to fifth, then took over the lead on her next-to-last throw in the finals

PMG PHOTO: JIM BESEDA - Oregon City's Anessa Chirgwin unleashed a throw of 143 feet, 3 inches to win the 6A gils discus title at the OSAA track and field championships at Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham.Oregon City's Anessa Chirgwin knew the instant the discus left her hand that she had made a good throw.

Chirgwin popped a throw of 143 feet, 3 inches on her next-to-last throw of the finals and won the 6A girls discus state title at the OSAA track and field championships at Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham.

"I cannot believe it," Chirgwin said. "It's awesome and I'm so thankful. Toward the end, it was getting a little tense, but it made for a great atmosphere with all the girls and I knew I just had to do my thing."

Chirgwin, the top seed, said her goal going in was to win a state title, but she faced an uphill battle early on as West Linn's Makayla Long set the tone with a throw of 138-3 on her first attempt and then threw 141-9 on her second throw to take the early lead.

Chirgwin opened with throws of 135-8, 123-11, and 135-10, settling into second place while adjusting to the wet, slippery conditions that seemed to temper almost everyone's aggressiveness.

"It was really tough," Chirgwin said. "A lot of people were slipping and the ring was really wet, so it was hard to get a good throw out of there.

"I had actually practiced throwing in the rain, working on going slow out of the bak and then speeding up toward the end instead of just all-out attacking. But, yeah, I took my time."

The competition started heating up in the finals when Lake Oswego's Ava David unleashed a throw of 135-11, Grants Pass' Molly Guerra went 139-7, and North Medford's Jaida Ross threw 141-9, dropping Chirgwin from second to fifth with two throws remaining.

"Everybody's fourth throw was passing mine," Chirgwin said. "So, I was like, 'Ooooh, I've got to get going. Gotta focus.'"

That's when she hit her big throw.

"I think I shifted out of the back better and I saw my target, but mostly I just kind of relaxed at the end," Chirgwin said. "My last thought before the throw was, 'I've just got to do my thing,' and I did it."

The final round was anticlimactic. David fouled, Guerra threw 122-3, Ross threw 114-1, Chirgwin fouled, and Long finished it off with a throw of 140-2.

"My PR is 149, but I'm content with how I did today," said Chirgwin, the first Oregon City thrower to win a discus state title since Lindsay Brisbin in 2001. "I think with the conditions, 143-3 was a good throw. I didn't actually slip in the ring, but I saw other girls slip and that helped me understand just what I needed to do.

"It feels good to win. I'm really thankful for my teammates and my coaches. This has been a goal of mine and I've worked hard to do this. My dad Eric has played a big role behind the scenes and I really appreciate all he has done."

Oregon City's 4x400 relay team of Lily Bartel, Harley Daniel, Grace Leasure, and Anya Remsburg placed fourth, while Bartel finished eighth in the 400 and Daniel finished eighth in the long jump to help lift the Pioneers into a tie with Sheldon for 11th place with 17 points each.

PEAK PERFORMANCE: Milwaukie sophomore Savannah Ramirez persevered through a steady rain to clinch the Class 5A girls discus state title with a personal best of 118 feet, 5 inches at the OSAA track and field championships at Mt. Hood Community College.

Lebanon's Morgan Hopkins finished second at 112-9, and Crook County's Kenna Woodward was third at 111-8, while top-seed Natalie Willoughby of Willamette scratched her first three throws and missed qualifying for the finals.

Ramirez, seeded sixth after winning the Northwest Oregon Conference district title with a mark of 111-1, had everyone chasing her after her first throw of the preliminaries went 114-0 and then her second throw went 118-5.

She closed out her series with throws of 106-11, 110-7, 113-11, and a foul on her final throw.

"It still hasn't sunk in yet," Ramirez said of the state title. "Coming in, I saw that the highest qualifying mark was (Willoughby's) 120-10, and in practice, I'd been hitting 125, so I was like, 'You know what? If I go out there and I do my thing, I've got it.' So, yeah, I knew this was possible."

Ramirez went the extra mile in her training, spending time over the past four months honing her skills with the Super Throwers Track Club in Oregon City under personal coach Scott Skipper.

She went from throwing 98-3 in the Mustangs' April 3 season opener at Scappoose to throwing 101-7 on April 10 at La Salle Prep, 105-0 on May 1 at Putnam, 106-8 on May 3 at the Dean Nice Invite in Gresham, to 111-1 on May 17 in the district championships at Putnam, peaking, finally, at the state championships.

"It feels amazing," said Ramirez, who received her winner's medal from her older brother Noah, the former standout thrower for the Mustangs who recently completed his freshman season at the University of Montana. "I've been working since volleyball season ended to get my technique down. And now I'm just excited for next season."

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