Newberg sending eight to state
Coming off its first ever sweep of boys and girls district meet titles in 2017, the Newberg track and field team didn't have the kind of dominating performance it did a year ago, but the Tigers didn't exactly finish their run in the Three Rivers League with a whimper either.
The Newberg boys had won back-to-back district titles and four of the past six going back to its time in the old Pacific Conference, so there was some disappointment in their fourth-place showing Friday, but not enough to sour several top-notch performances.
It was a similar case for the Tiger girls, who went unbeaten during the dual-meet season, but settled for third-place (88.5) at the district meet behind Tualatin (126.5) and Tigard (106).
"Tigard, Tualatin and Sherwood had a great meet and they've had a great year," NHS coach Brandon Ramey said. "Hats off to them for building those programs. It's been a fun last year in this league and next year we get a new league, but we had to fight for absolutely everything. They weren't going to give us anything and they didn't."
On the boys side, it was Tigard that unseated Newberg from the top spot, finishing with 126.83 to edge out Sherwood (119.25), with Tualatin claiming third (106) over the Tigers (95.25) by just more than 10 points.
Newberg will be sending a small but strong contingent to this weekend's 6A state championship meet in Eugene, including four boys in seven different events and four girls in an additional six.
Leading the charge was senior Davis Smith, who qualified in four events, including an unexpected win in the high jump after clearing 6-1. Smith jumped to the early lead in the triple jump, one of his two strongest events, after clearing 45-6.76, but was edged out by a half-inch thanks to a late effort by Lake Oswego's Kameron Harvey (45-7.25).
"It was frustrating, but at the same time, I'm still going to state," Smith said. "I'm just excited for that and hopefully I can perform better at state."
Smith needed all three attempts to clear the automatic state-qualifying height (13-9) in the pole vault before eventually finishing second (14-3), but helped Newberg close out the meet on a high note with a second-place showing in the 4 x 400 relay.
Tigard was the clear favorite in the event and cruised to a win in 3:19.92, but Hunter Whitehead, Smith, Kyle Charbonneau and Cole Alteneder were second by a comfortable four-second margin over Tualatin after crossing in 3:25.01, a time that has them seeded sixth at the state finals.
"What the kids did is they fought," Ramey said. "Tigard could maybe go for a state record, so those guys can really run and for us to be in the ballpark is a great place to be. That puts us in a great spot for the state finals. I'm happy with the time and I'm really happy with the way they competed. It was a good way to finish the night for sure."
Charbonneau and Alteneder are also headed to state in individual events after Charbonneau won the 800 (1:56.89) and Alteneder took first in the 110 hurdles (14.66) and second in the 300 hurdles (39.21). Alteneder sat out most of the season with a hamstring injury, returning to competition about three weeks ago.
Alteneder nearly qualified for state in a fourth event, but the 4 x 100 relay team was disqualified after missing its final exchange.
"I'm just excited to have one more week of training to see if I can put a really good race together at state," Alteneder said. "The hamstring gets a little bit stronger every day. My respiratory system gets a little bit better every practice, so it's really about where am I going to peak right now."
Also scoring team points with top-eight finishes for the Tigers were: Riley Beecroft, Byron Morris and Matthew Larson, who went 3-5-7 in the 100; Beecroft in the 200 (fourth); Whitehead in the 400 (sixth); Elijah Woody in the shot put (eighth); Garrett Myers (third) and Jared LaPointe (fifth) in the javelin; Ben Gentile in the pole vault (eighth); and Jake Thompson in the triple jump (seventh) and long jump (eighth).
Ashley Korb-Doty was Newberg's jack of all trades on the girls side, as the senior placed second in the 100 hurdles (15.16), second in the triple jump (35-6.5), third in the 300 hurdles (46.39) and ran a leg on the fifth-place 4 x 400 relay team. Her time in the 300 hurdles was good enough to earn a wild-card bid to state, where she will race with teammate Rilee Carstensen, who automatically qualified by placing second (46.05).
"She kind of does what Davis does and we ask her to go out and try to win four different events," Ramey said of Korb-Doty. "She came pretty darn close and is going to state in three different events. She's had a great year. She's an incredible competitor."
Casey Novak also had a strong meet, winning the 3,000 in 10:16.36 and placing third in the 1,500 (4:47.19). She will compete in both events after her time in the 1,500 was good enough for a wild-card bid.
Also earning a late bid to state was senior Noelle Saywer, who took third in the javelin at 122-6.5.
Newberg also got team points from: Anna Secrist, who was fifth in the 100 and eighth in the 200; Grace Umfleet, who was seventh in the 400; Carstensen's fourth-place finish in the 100 hurdles; Karly Fouche, who was eighth in the 300 hurdles; the fifth-place 4 x 100 relay team; Sawyer's eighth-place showing in the shot put; Lala Frketich, who was fifth in the javelin and seventh in the discus; Chloe Spaulding, who was fifth in the high jump; and London Russell, who took fourth in the pole vault.
"They're the toughest girls team I've ever coached," Ramey said. "They want to win everything that that they do and they're so mad when they don't, but sometimes you have to tip your hat to your opponents. Sometimes it doesn't work out, but I love their mental toughness and the way that they compete. It's been so fun to coach them all year."