Watchmen, Vanguard shine at districts
PORTLAND – Talking to his assistant coach Friday night, first-year C.S. Lewis Academy track coach Jacob Graham asked what the dream scenario might look like on day two of the Casco League/Valley 10 District Championships Saturday at Portland Christian.
As it turns out, the Watchmen did a pretty good impression of their coaching staff's vision, qualifying four individuals for the OSAA 1A state championships Thursday and Friday in Eugene en route to a seventh-place finish (41 points) by the boys and a 10th-place showing by the girls (19).
"You can't really hope for much better," Graham said. "This was just about our No. 2 best-case scenario. We possibly could have gotten five to go to state, but that was a longshot as it was. Where we're sitting at right now, I'm very happy. Almost everybody got a PR and I think they all had a really good time, which I think matters more."
While C.S. Lewis is no stranger to districts, it was a brand new experience for Veritas, which fielded a track and field team for the first time this spring but still managed to place eighth (34) in the boys standings and ninth in the girls (26)
"We scored in the jumps and the throws, in the distance events and in the sprints," coach Ken McChesney said. "We got people into the finals in every one of those categories. They didn't even know what these events were before February, so I'm very proud."
Sophomore Cam McChesney dominated the distance events to power the Vanguard boys, winning the 1,500 in 4:27.19 and the 3,000 in 9:42.31.
The Watchmen got podium finishes from five other individuals: Nick Ereminas was seventh in the 200 (25.35), Thomas Lattus was seventh in the discus (98-3), Will Lattus took sixth in the long jump (16-6.5) and Noah Ocker was seventh in the triple jump (30-0.5). Both relay teams finished on the podium as well.
The 4 x 100 team was seventh (50.84) and the 4 x 400 dropped six seconds from its best time this season, but because it was eying a bid to state was a bit disappointed to finish sixth in 3:55.56.
It was a similar feeling with the Veritas girls, who had high hopes for their 4 x 400 relay, which dropped seven seconds from its PR en route to fourth in 4:43.07.
"I think one of the reasons we're struggling right now is that we set our sights high," Coach McChesney said. "We always set our sights high and I know as the dust settles we're going to be able to realize we accomplished some amazing things. The character of these kids just makes it a joy to coach."
Individually, MeiLin Eakin (1:09.62) and Chloe Wassei (1:10.56) went 6-7 in the 200, Ann Rolfe (6:09.68) and Jessica Harris (6:10.66) went 7-8 in the 1,500, and Madison McChesney was fourth in the 3,000 and sixth in the high jump (4-2).
"It's been a blast," Madison McChesney said of starting the track program. "I kind of expected us to all be very individual, especially because I'm distance and they're sprints. I never thought I would even see them, but it's been so much fun."
Elizabeth Warren had a banner day to pace the C.S. Lewis girls, breaking her own PR and the meet record by winning the 400 in 1:00.36.
"She gets a little bit too hyped in the first half sometimes, goes and runs a 200 PR in the first half and can't quite hold on, but she just ran like a perfect race," Graham said. "We knew she had it in her and we've been talking about that for a little bit, so that was really good to see. Kudos to her. She's just a monster."
Warren was also fourth in the 200, but her PR time of 27.10 was below the automatic qualifying standard for state, so she will compete in both events at state.
On the boys side, Trevor Ambrose will lead a contingent of three Watchmen to the state meet after winning the javelin with a PR throw of 135-6. He was also sixth in both the 100 and 200.
"I was just shooting for a PR and then I ended up getting first, which was great," Ambrose said. "Placement wasn't super important to me because I know I have next year. This year was supposed to be more of a building year for me, but I'm really happy with how I did."
Also heading to Eugene are freshman Dylan Stroup, who was second in the triple jump with a new PR of 39-5, and junior Micah Grobey, who was third in the discus (110-7) but earned a wild-card bid.
The C.S. Lewis boys also got three podium finishes from Jacob McClatchey, who was fifth in the triple jump, sixth in the 300 hurdles and seventh in the 110 hurdles, to have their best district tournament in recent memory.
"Overall, it was a really great weekend for the whole team," Ambrose said. "It seems like everyone was getting PRs, so everyone's been peaking really well. I'm really excited to go to state and see how I can do there."