Liberty's Maloney leads charge at state track, field championships
It may not have been meant to be, but it sure seemed likely.
On a rain-soaked day last Saturday, May 25, at Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham, Liberty's Aidan Maloney finished his decorated high school athletic career with the one thing he wanted most: a state championship.
The Falcons senior — who's committed to play football at Yale University next fall — won the 110 meter hurdles with a time of 14.66, and while not the perfect race he aspired to, it'll happily do considering all he's put into it.
"I'm definitely excited for this because I really wanted to win," Maloney said. "Not just for my own accomplishment, but I know how much time and effort my coaches have put into me, so it means a lot being able to win it for them."
Maloney also placed second in the high jump (6-05) and sixth in the 300 hurdles (40.16), but it was the 110 hurdles he wanted most.
"This is the one I wanted," he said. "I knew the competition was going to be pretty stacked, but I just tried to control what I could control, run my race and hope for the best. I feel like it wasn't the cleanest race, but I can't really complain with the results."
In the wake of his win, the magnitude of reaching his goal had yet to fully sink in. But when asked about the journey, he was quick to point to who'd helped him along the way.
"It's really just a message of gratitude to my coaches and my dad, who've helped me so much," Maloney said. "There's no way I'd be where I am without all their help. I'm really thankful."
He wasn't the only local athlete who experienced success at the meet. Glencoe's Madison McGlasson placed second in the 100 hurdles, running a personal best (14.87) despite the sloppy, wet conditions.
"I'm happy," McGlasson said. "I set a personal record and that's what I was looking for. The weather might have been a bit of a factor, but I ran well so I don't think it was much of one."
She wasn't the only Crimson Tide athlete to place, either. Sophomore Jayda Lee finished ninth in the discus (119-09) and 14th in the high jump (5-00), Sydney Larrison was eighth in the javelin (123-03); Gabriella Justen was 12th in the pole vault (11-00); Jenna Gaskin was 11th in the discus (107-10); and sophomore Elbereth Ragsdale was 17th in the long jump (14-10). In addition, Glencoe's 4x100 relay team (McGlasson, Madison Acosta, Avery Jensen, Devon Evenson) was 12th, while their 4x400 team (Sarah Mauk, Morgan DeBord, Madison Acosta, Devon Evenson) was 14th. On the boys side, senior Justin Lazenby placed eighth in the high jump (6-02) and 12th in the pole vault (13-00).
Century was led by a series of throwers, beginning with junior Dawson Uecker, who finished 11th in the shot put (45-04.75) and 14th in the discus (124-09). In addition, seniors Shane Neal and Kayla Rueber showed-out, with Neal finishing third in the javelin (185-06) and Rueber 10th in the shot put with a throw of 36-00.
In addition to Maloney, Liberty's Jaxson Lake placed 12th in the pole vault, clearing 13-00.
Forest Grove, like the Hillsboro schools, was well represented, sending six athletes through to the finals.
Dominic Funk placed second in the javelin, throwing a personal best 193-04 on his final attempt. It was the fourth time the senior reset his own school record, and allowed him to jump from sixth place into second.
"Funk did it again," Vikings' head coach Adrian Shipley said. "After winning the district title on his last throw at the Pacific Conference Championships, he fully committed to his final throw as a Viking."
In addition to Funk, the Vikings were well-represented by senior distance runners Elizabeth Khoury and Hannah Aguirre, with Khoury finishing sixth in the 1500 meters (4:35.68) and seventh in the 800 (2:18.05), while Aguirre was 10th in both the 1500 (4:44.27) and 3000 (10:14.70).
"Aguirre and Khoury finished their dominant careers in appropriate fashion," the coach said. "Aguirre reset her own 3000 meter record and joined Khoury in breaking the previous school record for 1500 for the sixth time between them this season."
Junior Quincy Norman was seventh in the 3000 (8:37.81) and 13th in the 1500 (4:08.60).
Freshman Allyson Hammond qualified for the three events at state, placing 13th in the triple jump (32-06.25) and 16th in the long jump (15-04.50), while failing to qualify for the 100 meters final.
"Ally Hammond finished her freshman year gaining invaluable experience," Shipley said. "No coach nor our athletic director can remember the last time a freshman, let alone any individual, qualified for three events at the state meet."
Andrew Stephen also placed 14th in the pole vault (13-00) and Elia Leto, while missing out on the finals, ran a personal best 2:00.99 in the 800.
In the 5A event, Hillsboro was led by sophomore Alison Okorie, who placed fourth in the 100 meter hurdles (15.77), while fellow sophomore Slade Shufelt was fifth in the 110 hurdles with a time of 15.59.
In addition, James Gutierrez was sixth in the pole vault (13-00), Jacob Cooke was ninth in the high jump (5-10) and 4x400 relay team (Thomas Johnson, Frank Hunnicutt, Joel Zaragoza, Daniel Popovych) finished 11th.
On the girls side, Olympia Matuk was seventh in the high jump (5-00), and Kayla Mitchell was eighth in the triple jump (33-07.5) and ninth in the long jump (15-07.25).
In the 4A meet last week, Banks was led by Jacob Slifka and his sister Aspen.
On the boys side, junior Jacob Slifka finished second in the discus (154-03) and 10th in the javelin (150-02). Fellow junior Risdon White was third in the shot put (49-10.50), Blake Markham was sixth in the 400 meters (51.85), and Gabe Streblow was eighth in the pole vault (12-00), while the 4x100 relay team (Bennett Turner, Jamar Flippen, Colbey Evans, Blake Markham) was seventh with a time of 45.00 and the 4x400 relay team (Turner, Evans, Markham, Chris Perez) placed ninth, finishing in 3:34.46.
On the girls side, senior Aspen Slifka finished seventh in the 300 meter hurdles (48.12), while Kinley Hoag was 13th in the javelin (99-00) and the 4x100 relay team (Katie Hailey, Akaysha Stewart, Hailey Frame, and Slifka) placed 13th with a time of 53.46.
Team winners were the Tualatin boys and South Eugene girls in the 6A; the North Bend boys and North Salem girls in the 5A; and the Newport boys and Hidden Valley girls in the 4A.