Culver track and field makes the podium in three events at state
The Culver High School track and field team did not take many athletes to the state championships, but the Bulldogs still made three trips to the podium.
Culver took two of its athletes to the OSAA 2A Track and Field State Championships in three total events, and the Bulldogs placed top-eight in each of them. The meet was held at the revamped Hayward Field in Eugene on Thursday and Friday, May 19-20.
Culver junior Peter Miranda was the Bulldogs' lone representative in the boys meet, and he had a strong two days in Eugene.
On Thursday, Miranda placed fourth in the shot put with a toss of 43-07.50. His first throw resulted in a foul, but his second heave ended up being his scoring mark. The junior standout topped 40 feet with each of his final five throws — and of the three placers ahead of him, only silver medalist Caleb McGraw of Salem Academy will be back next season. Miranda should factor heavily into the conversation for 2A state champion in the shot put during his senior year.
Miranda rode that momentum into Friday's discus event, where he placed sixth and set a new personal record of 120-10 after earning a wild card berth in the state championships. Following a third-place finish at the district tournament in which he topped 120 feet for the first time in his career, Miranda added seven inches to that mark on his third throw at Hayward Field. All five placers ahead of him were seniors, so expect Miranda to compete with McGraw — who was right behind him in seventh with a throw of 120-09 — in the discus next year, too.
Sophomore Renee Johnson, the only Bulldog in the girls meet, also had an outstanding pair of performances in the 100-meter hurdles at the state championships.
Despite coming into the preliminaries with only the tenth-best seeding time, Johnson rose above her station on Thursday to place third in her heat and fifth overall with a personal record time of 17.32 seconds. That mark qualified her for the Friday final, where Johnson once again placed fifth and shaved even more time off her PR.
Johnson logged a new personal best of 17.24 to earn her place on the podium. Notably, two of the top four finishers will be graduating later this year — so expect the Bulldog speedster to be in the mix for a state title next season alongside fellow sophomores Olivia Boyd of Gervais and Makiah Vierck of Bandon, who placed second and fifth respectively, as well as Neah-Kah-Nie freshman Payton White.
With just two athletes at the state championships, the Bulldogs did not make much of a dent in the team scoring this season. Miranda's efforts registered eight points for Culver in the boys meet to tie with Rogue River for 29th place out of 34 scoring squads. Johnson's big day gave the girls team four points and put the Bulldogs into a three-way tie with Central Linn and Sheridan for 31st place out of 37 scoring teams. The Coquille girls scored 59 points to Regis' 51, giving the Red Devils the team title. On the boys' side, Bandon won with 56 points to 49 from Enterprise.
Still, even if they didn't register high placements in the team scoring, the Bulldogs' pair of qualifiers still returned home with three individual medals. With both Johnson and Miranda back in the fray next year, and with development from the rest of the young Culver team, look for the Bulldogs to take an even stronger contingent to Eugene in 2023.
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