Estacada girls sprint into state, hoist Tri-Valley track trophy
The Estacada girls conquered districts en route to the state championships May 13 and 14.
The Rangers hoisted the Tri-Valley Conference Track & Field trophy for the second year in a row after collecting a bevy of medals and guaranteeing a packed bus for the upcoming state meet. It was the squadron of sprinters that shined throughout the second day of districts.
Estacada senior Kaitlin Willis fought for her success on the track. She was in the hospital the first week of the season with an illness, and in her first race back she fell flat on her face.
"It has been a long journey to get back to this point, but I worked hard and listened to my coaches to be here," Willis said.
The crowds wouldn't have known of those struggles by watching Willis fly down the track for a gold medal double in the girls 100 and 200, at 13.27 and 27.35 respectively.
"It's all about following my instincts out on the track," Willis said. "Knowing when to drive, when to bring my head up and finishing through the line."
"When I hear the gun all my nerves fall away," she added.
Fellow Estacada speedster, junior Heather Shaver, also ran well. In the girls 400 she set a season best time of 1:02.94 in the win. And while she was excited to claim that individual accolade, she and the rest of the Rangers kept talking about that team trophy.
"It's important to get those team points and keep that streak going," she said. "I wanted to run hard and do my best."
By the end of the two-day meet, held in Estacada, the Ranger girls could breathe a sigh of relief. They won districts with 169.5 points, followed by Madras (149.5) and Molalla (120). For the boys, Madras took first (173), followed by Molalla (125.5) and Estacada (124.5). Both Corbett boys and girls placed fourth.
"That is what we wanted," Willis said with a beaming smile.
Another sprinter with plenty to smile about at districts was Corbett senior phenom Cole Parker, who was toting a heavy load around his neck after a busy meet.
He took gold in the 200 (23.32) and 400 (51.24), placed second in the 100 (11.67) and ran anchor on the Cardinals third-place 4x100 relay (45.17).
"I was a little tired from yesterday's prelims, but I just focused mentally and breathed," Parker said. "When you hear the crowd cheering down the stretch I start to push myself."
In the girls relays, it was the Rangers shining once again.
First junior Danica Beguelin, Shaver, junior Natalee Gehred and Willis placed second in the 4x100 relay (53.04). Then, in the 4x400 relay the Rangers ran away with it, crossing six seconds and nearly 50 meters ahead of second-place Madras. That group of freshman Sunny Shaver, Willis, Beguelin and Shaver crossed in 4:26.02.
Estacada throwers also had a strong performance, especially a pair of siblings competing together for the first time this season.
Senior Jake Berhman and younger sister freshman Abby Berhman both claimed medals in districts.
"We have grown together all year, and cheer for each other," Abby said with a smile.
"I'm glad we are both going to state," Jake added.
Jake won the discus with a personal record toss of 152-4 feet, and took second in the shot put with another PR throw of 44-11. Abby won the discus with a PR of her own — 119-4 feet — and took third in the shot put at 28 feet.
The siblings won't be alone in Eugene.
Estacada junior Cody White won the boys shot put (45-2 PR), won javelin (163-4.5) and finished second in the discus (135-1). Junior Andrew Turner also placed second in the boys javelin (135-7).
Corbett sophomore Cyrus Kurkinen finished second in the boys 1500 (4:39.19 PR); Estacada senior Daniel Horn won boys high jump (5-7 feet); and Corbett junior Cole Weien won the long jump (20-5.75 feet PR) and tied for second in the high jump (5-6).
Corbett senior McKenna Webber placed second in the girls triple jump (30-5.5 feet); Cardinal sophomore Sophie Bergkvist won girls pole vault (10 feet PR); and a pair of Ranger junior finished 1-2 in the 300 hurdles — Beguelin won (51.75 PR) an Olivia Davidson took second (52.65 PR). Davidson also claimed silver in the 100 hurdles (18.11 PR).
The controversial moment in the meet came via the 110 hurdles, which had a gaggle of coaches huddled and voting at the finish line on how best to proceed. During the event Gladstone senior Blake Meisner false started, but the infraction wasn't caught by the officials. So while he stood up to reset, the rest of the field continued with the race. Meisner, one of the favorites headed in, collapsed to the track in disbelief after believing his opportunity to go to state had been yanked away.
But the meet officials decided to run the 110 hurdles again at the end of the afternoon. They ended up taking the best time for each competitor in an attempt to keep things fair. Molalla junior Brayden Cunningham won both times, with a top time and PR of 16.16. With the second chance Meisner qualified for state, placing second (16.68).
For a full list of results from the Tri-Valley Conference Championships, visit bit.ly/3Ne59AG.
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