Duff becomes two-event state champion
On her final throw as a Culver Bulldog, Catylynn Duff launched the discus 146 feet, 1 inch, smashing her previous state meet record of 138 feet, 8 inches, from last year.
Her father, coach Chad Duff, proudly presented Catylynn with her medal as she stood atop the podium at Hayward Field, in Eugene.
After that record-breaking accomplishment on Thursday, Catylynn Duff came back Friday with one final goal, win the shot put competition. Her personal record throw of 39 feet, 3/4 inches was enough to place her at the pinnacle of the podium again.
Jordan VanAlstyne set a personal best in the pole vault at 10-6, and earned fifth place for his work. Hunter Keiski vaulted 10 feet and earned ninth place.
Johan Jaimes ran the 300 intermediate hurdles, but did not qualify for the finals.
Likewise, Bridget Lopez ran the 100 meter high hurdles and finished in ninth, just one place beyond the final eight.
Kash Michael, who has competed in the high jump all season, had a PR at the district meet of 6 feet. His jump at the district meet places him as one of the top three or four athletes at the 2A level.
Michael also agreed to anchor the 4x100 team, which occurred simultaneously with the high jump at the state meet. By the time he returned to the high jump, the bar had been raised to 5-10, which he did not clear.
"Starting at only two inches below a PR is far from ideal for any high jumper," said coach Tom Kirk. "I hope that next year at this time, I will have the opportunity to clear the way for Kash to perform in the high jump — his premiere event. I am sorry for this aggressive choice; I will need to be more wise in my decisions next year."
Irma Retano was slated to run the 400 meters, 800 meters and 4x400 relay. Through pure determination, she managed to finish fourth in the 400 in a very fast field of runners. Unfortunately, she was not able to overcome an injury to place in the 800 or run the 4x400 relay.
In her final state meet, Emma Knepp was on the podium two times, finishing sixth in the 1,500 on Thursday and sixth in the 3,000 on Friday. She has worked her way to the podium four years in a row as a distance runner.
"Since our first day of practice, we have been working towards taking the next step," Kirk said. "Taking the next step means working towards our personal best. Mr. Dove, our former head coach, shaped this team by celebrating every personal record (PR). He instilled in our team a respect for each member and each one's accomplishment. We honor those who worked hard, improved, competed, but did not finish in the top at the district meet."
"At the beginning of our season, coach Holly Pearson taught plyometric drills to build strength and speed," said Kirk. "This became the fitness base which we would use as a foundation for the specialties that would follow. Coach Pearson has helped our athletes develop overall fitness and core strength. Just when our athletes think they are finished with practice, they are routinely invited to join Coach Pearson's core work group."
"Our sprint coach, Ray Pokorny, has developed some innovative ways to develop proper running form," said Kirk. "Coach Ray, a Culver graduate, is a running form analyst. From the starting block to the finish line, he teaches our athletes how to maximize their performance."
"Coach Phil Sledge continues to show and tell pole vaulters what they need to do to reach new heights," he said. "He has coached two state champions and a runner-up, yet he always has time to show a novice how to take the first step."
"Coach Chad Duff, our shot put, discus, and javelin coach has focused on strength and technique," Kirk said. "As a result, every one of his throwers has become stronger and more skillful."
"Our hurdles coach Rachel Bare expects hard work and focus from her athletes and that is exactly what she inspires," he said.
I am grateful for each these coaches," said Kirk.