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Olivia Symons, Dalton Waldow place top five in long jump at 4A state track meet.

STEELE HAUGEN - Dalton Waldow placed fourth in the long jump with a leap of 21-00 at the state meet at Mt. Hood Community College May 17-18.The Madras White Buffalo track program sent several athletes to the state meet at Mt. Hood Community College May 17-18.

The Buffalos produced four champions at the district meet May 10-11, and eight track athletes, with two relay teams qualified for state. Unfortunately, some Madras track athletes were not able to compete at the state meet due to disciplinary reasons.

Sophomore Olivia Symons placed third in the long jump with a leap of 16 feet, 11.50 inches. She was leading the state competition halfway through the meet with a jump of 16-8, but Marshfield's Ravyn Miranda took the lead at 17-2.5 on her first jump and won at 17-5.5. Hidden Valley's Jenelle Hurley surged from ninth to second with a jump of 17-4 to start the final round.

Symons had five of six jumps extend past 16 feet and had her best effort of 16-11.5 on her last trip down the runway.

"I was stressing out on all of my attempts until that last one when I just went out and had fun," Symons said. "I was focused on using my speed and keeping a good technique."

Symons also placed 10th in the 200-meter dash with a time of 27.81 seconds. Estacada's Faith Grainger took first at the meet (25.98).

DAVID BALL - Olivia Symons saved her best jump for last, leaping 16-11.50, placing third at the state meet at  Mt. Hood Community College.The Madras girls team placed 23rd with six team points (all from Symons), while Hidden Valley (97), Philomath (69.5) and Marshfield (51.5), placed in the top three.

Madras senior Dalton Waldow jumped his personal best in the long jump, placing fourth with a leap of 21 feet. He was bested by Ben Carringer, of Mazama, and Tristin Calkins, of Sweet Home, who both jumped 21-07.25.

White Buffalo pole vaulter Erik Boynton also had a personal best at the state meet. Boynton had a leap of 13 feet, placing fourth with both Jacob Huntsman, of La Grande, and Conner Kutzler, of Philomath. Marshfield's Chase Howerton claimed gold (14-06).

"In any athletic event, you see instances where you are faced with adversity and track is no different," said Coach Andrew Jensen. "Olivia got down to the last jump and was faced with adversity and came out and did great. That is a testament to how strong she is mentally and how well she prepared during the season. Erik Boynton scratched his first two jumps and could have easily gone home without a fight, but he stepped up and ... was able to place."

Madras' 4x100 relay team of Nathan Rodriguez, Omar Diaz, Dylan Heath and Waldow finished the race in eighth place (45.19), while Mazama was able to finish in first place (42.98).

"It was a really unfortunate situation," Jensen said about not having all the state qualifiers compete. "The silver lining is, we had some great guys step up and compete. We brought up Dylan Heath and Ethan Nava. They were our next fastest, but they also bought into the program core values, and worked really hard all year. We felt they were a good representation of our team and that was more important than fast times."

"Dylan Heath stepped in with a pulled quad and ran the 4x100, limping down the runway and the boys were able to get eighth place," he said. "That was incredible. We didn't have a lot of expectations going into the race and the fact that we went out and got eighth place was awesome."

STEELE HAUGEN - Dylan Heath sprints for the Buffs during the 4x400 relay. Madras finished in eighth place.The White Buffalo 4x400 relay team of Ethan Nava, Rodriguez, Diaz and Waldow ended the meet with a time of 3:37.21, placing 12th. Tri-Valley competitor Gladstone placed first with a time of 3:25.06.

The boys team scored nine team points, placing 22nd at the state meet.

"This was an incredibly positive experience," Jensen said. "Your goal going into the state meet is, one, the kids do well, but more importantly, we finish the season better than we started. Getting personal bests and things like that — and some of that is physical, but most of it is mental. Our kids were mentally tough and we brought seven kids, with all of them getting a medal but one. It was a really positive weekend for all the kids."

Madras will have Boynton returning for his senior season and Symons will return for her junior year.

"What is great about Madras track right now is we have momentum," said Jensen. "The program is going in a positive direction and we have a lot of kids excited about track. We have youth camps and I have big expectations for MHS track next year. I really look forward to see where it goes because it has been a great last couple years. It is fun to watch the groundwork the coaching staff has laid out, flourish now and I think it will just grow in years to come."

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