NHS quartet claims 10th at state
EUGENE -- Newberg sent a smaller contingent to this year's state meet than it has become accustomed to in recent years, but the boys and girls that competed packed a pretty good punch Friday and Saturday at the University of Oregon's Hayward Field.
The Tiger's four boys competed in six individual events and one relay, making the podium four times to score 23 points and place 10th as a team. Newberg's female quartet of Ashley Korb-Doty, Rilee Carstensen, Casey Novak and Noelle Sawyer scored in three events to place 21st with 12 points.
"You get to the end of the meet and you start thinking about what you could have done, but the teams that placed today ran and threw really, really well," NHS coach Brandon Ramey said. "We did really good and got top 10 with four guys, so I'm really proud of that."
Davis Smith was the busiest of Newberg's athletes, competing in three individual events and on the 4 x 400 relay. The George Fox-bound senior opened the meet Friday with a runner-up finish in the pole vault, which was one of the more bizarre events at the meet.
Smith cleared the bar at 14 feet on his third attempt to make a big move up the standings, as most of the field went out at that height. He was unable to get a clearance at 14-6, but when state-title favorite Simon Park of South Eugene came in at 15-0 and came up short on all three tries, Smith moved up to second behind West Linn's Justin Gould, who had cleared 14-6.
Davis cleared the opening height of 6-0 in the high jump, his weakest individual event, and settled for 12th place, but it was a sixth-place finish in the triple jump that felt most disappointing. Unfortunately, Smith hurt his ankle and settled for the 43-6.5 mark he earned on his third attempt.
For Ramey, it epitomized how fickle the state meet can be and was a microcosm for Newberg's weekend.
"That's the state meet: he benefits from that but then doesn't have the best day in triple jump, where he hurt his ankle," Ramey said. "It kind of goes back and forth. If you're going to trophy here then everything has to go right. Some things went right for us and some didn't."
Among the ones that did were Cole Alteneder's hurdle events, where he used fast starts to place third in the 110 and fifth in the 300.
After sitting out most of the year due to a lingering hamstring injury, Alteneder nearly matched his PR (14.47) with a 14.53 in the high hurdles that was the same time as runner-up Liberty's Aidan Maloney, who got the edge on the photo finish.
"I blew everybody out of the water with my first three hurdles," Alteneder said. "I hit my sixth hurdle and that's when Maloney and the guy who won got me. You could see I'm not in nearly as good of condition as I was last year, but with the time I had to get into hurdling shape, I'm not upset with a 14.5. Not at all."
The University of Idaho recruit also led the 300 hurdles early on, but couldn't sustain it down the stretch. He did set a new personal best of 39.03, though, to place fifth.
"He would be halfway through our regular dual-meet season and that's frustrating, but I'm glad he was able to come back and run," Ramey said. "To see what he did with just those few weeks tells you what kind of athlete he is."
University of Phoenix-bound senior Kyle Charbonneau also had turbulent state meet, setting a new PR of 1:55.40 in prelims Friday, but struggled a bit in the finals, placing seventh in 1:57.18.
Charbonneau also bore the brunt of the Tigers' misfortune in the 4 x 400 relay, which was seeded sixth and ran in the second of two heats, which ended up getting bogged down by chaotic exchange zones.
Charbonneau was in the process of grabbing the baton from Smith when he collided with a Westview runner, who had turned outside and directly into Charbonneau's path after completing his hand off. He eventually recovered and the Tigers were actually just off their district time to finish in 3:25.16, but that dropped them to 11th. For perspective, West Salem won the first (and typically slower heat) in 3:20.74 to place third overall.
The Newberg boys could have placed as high as sixth if a few more breaks had fallen their way, but ended up 0.5 points behind ninth-place Sherwood, and just off the pace of Roseburg (24), as well as Benson and Oregon City, who tied for sixth at 27.
Senior Ashley Korb-Doty medaled in both of her events to lead the girls, setting a new PR in the 100 hurdles to place third. She turned around and placed seventh in the 300 hurdles (47.53), with teammate and sophomore Rilee Carstensen finishing fourth in 46.50.
"I have to give a lot of credit to my hurdles coach, Brett Campbell, because he's got those kids dialed in," Ramey said. "They had a great meet. To have Rilee as a sophomore coming back, she has a bright future."
It was a difficult send off, though, for seniors Nicole Sawyer, who was 12th in the javelin at 114-0, and Casey Novak, who was 11th in the 3,000 (10:32.37) Friday and 10th in the 1,500 (4:49.21) Saturday.
"They're just great kids and I'm going to miss the ones we're losing," Ramey said. "It's a bittersweet moment because they did really good, but I'm going to be sad to see them go."