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GRANT TAKES THIRD; JESUIT WINS 6A TRACK AND FIELD TITLE



TRIBUNE PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Grant senior Rennie Kendrick (right) hugs teammate Ella Donaghu after the Generals' 4x400 relay, which included Cassin Wright and Zoe Shaw, won the final event of the Class 6A girls track and field championships Saturday in Eugene.EUGENE — Ella Donaghu puts a lot of pressure on herself to win — and fans by now assume winning will just happen for her.

“Sometimes it’s challenging to feel like I have to meet expectations,” the Grant High senior said Saturday, after she made winning three state titles in four hours look easy.

Donaghu took first at Hayward Field in the Oregon School Activities Association Class 6A 800 and 1,500 meters and 4x400 relay.

She leaves Grant, for Stanford, with seven titles in track and three straight state crowns in cross-country.

And for her, each one has been more special.

“It's something you can never get used to,” Donaghu said of winning at state.

Her individual efforts Saturday helped Grant claim third in this year’s 6A girls track and field meet.

The Generals’ 47 points trailed only winner Jesuit (65) and Sunset (49). Tigard was fourth with 44 points.

Donaghu opened her final day by flying to a victory in the 1,500. She gapped the field early and ran mostly alone.

“It gets challenging, because you can feel a whole group of people trying to reel you back in,” she said. “You just have to focus on keeping the tempo and churning through it.”

She won in 4 minutes, 26.16 seconds. Sunset sophomore Kelly Makin was second (4:30.94), and Jesuit freshman Makenna Schumacher finished third (4:32.67).

Donaghu was chasing the meet record of 4:24.54, set in 1981 by Kathy Hayes.

“I maybe could have closed a little harder,” she said, “but when you have another race you don’t want to totally kill yourself.”

Donaghu doubled in the 800 with a big move from her position on the inside during the first half of the race.

“My dad, who is also my coach, tells me, ‘When you make a move, it’s not to be defensive,’” she said. “When you take the lead, you can’t give it back.”

She followed his advice and won in 2:11.51. Taylor Chiotti, a Southridge sophomore, finished second (2:12.84), and Jesuit junior Chloe Jensen took third (2:13.21).

Donaghu’s final performance for the Generals came in the 4x400 relay with Cassin Wright, Zoe Shaw and Rennie Kendrick.

Donaghu had never won a state-meet relay, and last year she was caught at the line by Jesuit.

This time was different, as she came out on top against the surging Crusaders.

Grant finished in its season’s best time (3:54.96). Jesuit (3:55.09) and Central Catholic (3:59.13) placed second and third.

 Wright and Shaw also made it to the podium after the 400. Wright, a junior, finished fourth (57.69), while freshman Shaw placed seventh (59.04).

“It’s awesome,” Wright said, “warming up together, calming each other down and just knowing you have someone supporting you.”

• Central Catholic senior Olivia Gabriel took fifth in the 400 (58.19).

In the 6A 4x100, Central Catholic overcame a bobbled final exchange to place second. Gabriel, who got the final baton pass from Malika Washington, crossed the line in a 2016 team PR of 47.65, just behind winner Barlow (47.34).

Perri White and Zharia Hale rounded out the Central Catholic 4x100, and the Rams wound up 12th in the team standings with 22 points.

 For Central Catholic sophomore Jada Pierce, this meet was progress from last year, when she didn't make it on the podium. She claimed eighth in the 6A shot put with a throw of 36-0 3/4.

“I feel a lot better than last year,” Pierce said. “I gained strength and a lot of maturity. Just have to keep working hard to get where I want to be.”

 In the 100 hurdles, Jade Newton, a freshman at St. Mary’s Academy, placed eighth (15.70).

 Sydney Denham, a Lincoln junior, nabbed third in the 6A high jump, clearing 5-3.

Savannah Proske, a David Douglas sophomore, was fourth at 5-2.

Grants Pass sophomore Aubree Esterline won at 5-5.

 Parkrose senior Lydia Pavlenko took fourth in the 5A triple jump, going 35-0 on her second attempt.

Camille Weaver, a Summit junior, won at 36-1 3/4.

In the 5A girls team competition, Summit won with 190 points. Bend (89 1/2), North Eugene (33) and La Salle Prep (25) also earned trophies.

La Salle Prep claimed third in the 4x100 with a team of Sarah Minsker, Philicia Robinson, Regan Russell and Talya Holenstein. They crossed the line in 49.54.

Holenstein grabbed second place in the 800 (2:14.98), just behind Summit junior Sarah Reeves (2:14.90).

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Twitter: @chriskeizur

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