The Scappoose Indians came through their first Class 5A district track and field meet in good fashion last week.
The boys finished second to deep Wilsonville, and the girls made the most of a smaller, young squad as they placed fifth in the Northwest Oregon Conference championships, May 16-17 at Putnam.
And, "we're taking more athletes to state than expected," says Scappoose coach Dennis Olstedt.
Both the boys and girls will run at state in the 4x100 and 4x400 relays, with more than a handful of Indians lining up to compete as individuals when the 5A meet comes off Friday and Saturday at Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham.
In past years, the 6A, 5A and 4A teams typically converged on Hayward Field in Eugene for the state competition. With Hayward undergoing a major remake in order to host the 2021 world championships, the Oregon School Activities Association had to switch the 6A and 5A state meets to Mt. Hood CC.
That will bring a different approach in preparation for Scappoose, Olstedt says.
"We'll go over there Thursday afternoon for a practice, just so the kids can see it and be able to visualize it," he said after the district meet. "But this year, we don't have to worry about going out of town and getting hotel rooms or making dinner reservations."
It will all be about track and field this year, "all about the fundamentals and doing the little things right, prepping right, getting your sleep and so forth," Olstedt says.
The Indians claimed four titles in the NWOC championships. Junior Brisyn Maller doubled in the boys hurdles, setting a PR in the highs. Junior Emma Jones won the girls 300-meter hurdles. And the boys 4x100 team of juniors Henry Goldammer, Josh Lull and Tyler Holcomb and senior Connor McNabb) took first with a big PR, dropping their 2019 best from 44.61 seconds to 43.87 in the district finals.
The Scappoose boys totaled 104 points; Wilsonville won with 131. Milwaukie was third with 91. Olstedt says he had Wilsonville forecast for about 135 points and that his own squad exceeding expectations, which were to score 90 or less.
"I thought our boys could compete for second and that that would be a victory on its own," he says.
The Indian girls also came through better than expected, he says.
"We thought they might get about 55 points, and they ended up with 68," he adds
Overall, "it's just a testament to our kids," Olstedt says, "and that we are preparing them the right way and they're responding really well."
The boys 4x100 helped set the tone on the final day of the district meet.
"The kids really focused in on their handoffs, and every kid gained ground when they got the baton," Olstedt says. "It still wasn't our best in terms of handoffs, though. So we're looking forward to seeing them run this week against the state's best."
McNabb came through in the 100, as well, with a surprise runner-up finish that qualified him for state as an individual sprinter.
"Connor came out of nowhere on a day when our veterans did really well," Olstedt says.
It was a big moment for an athlete who also spent much of the spring performing on the baseball team.
"With Connor, we focused on the little things, looked at his start and his form and said, 'let's tweak it a little,' and he was all for it," Olstedt says. "That's how coachable he is."
McNabb, coming off big, busy years in football and basketball, also had to do what he could to stay as healthy as possible this spring.
"He's really good at communicating with us, and he knows his body better than anyone, so we've been adjusting accordingly this year," Olstedt says. "That's one thing we think is special — our athletes are able to talk to us as coaches and be honest with us."
And that includes Maller, who won his hurdles duels at district with Milwaukie star Arthur Katahdin, a junior state champion in the decathlon.
"Brisyn has just always been very focused and determined when it comes to a situation where he feels he's going to get a challenge. He really rises to the occasion," Olstedt says. "He's one of the best at preparing for a big meet. His preparation is second to none."
Three other Indians earned a trip to state in their individual events. Lull made it in the 800 with a gutsy effort for second place in the district finals. Junior Conner Havlik took second in the javelin. And sophomore Bobby Vanek advanced to state in the shot put in his first real season of track and field, posting a PR of 46 feet, 6.25 inches.
Lull ran the 800 final in 2:00.11, finishing hard to nip third-place Logan Warner of La Salle Prep (2:00.39) and Wilsonville's Trevor Johnson (2:00.50). All three had PRs, as did the winner, Parkrose star Ahmed Ibrahim (1:55.79).
"From last year to this year, Josh has made a really big improvement when it comes to his preparation and confidence in a race. This isn't the same kid," Olstedt says. "He's now accepted the fact that this race is going to hurt, and he knows it's going to make him better. He runs a lot smarter and learns from his mistakes."
Vanek has added 11.5 feet to his shot put since the first meet of the year.
"He's worked hard, like so many of our kids, and now it's paying off," Olstedt says.
The Indians had several other highlights in the district meet from competitors who didn't quite make it to state. Freshmen were a big part of that — as from the ninth-grade class Ayden Patterson placed third in the 300 hurdles, Rowen Suchoski took fourth with a PR of 9:23.78 in the 3,000, Neil Hoffmann was fifth in the 400 with a PR of 54.67, and Matthew Myton ran sixth in the 200 with a PR of 24.13.
"I kind of joked with the freshman the first day and said, 'All you freshmen need to get to the finals,'" Olstedt says. "And then that's what they did. To come into a good league and have a lot put on their shoulders and then to perform the way they did was awesome.
"Ayden pr'd in the prelims by about a second and then again by about a second in the finals the following day. He really attacked at the end of the race, when other kids were sputtering," Olstedt says. "Hoffmann came out of nowhere in the 400. Myton had a really good performance as well. Rowen was able to analyze the situation in the 3,000 and go compete with the best out there."
That freshman success list also includes Sydney Hanke, who helped the girls 4x400 relay team earn a wild-card berth to state and who made the finals in the 800.
Mainstays Tess Conway, a junior, and Jones are on both girls relay teams and will help lead the way to the 5A championships at Mt. Hood CC.
Conway qualified for state in the 800, turning in a PR of 2:21.18 that earned her second place in the NWOC.
Jones placed second in the 100 hurdles shortly before coming back to win the longer hurdles race.
"Tess Conway ran an amazing, smart 800," Olstedt says, noting that it was only a few days before the district meet that she and the coaches decided that she would enter that race instead of the 400, where she also could have been a contender.
Jones decided to pass on one of her good events, the long jump, to do both relays.
Also notable from the girls team at district was junior Kelsey Ela's third-place race in the 100 hurdles (PR of 17.17) and fourth-place finish in the 300 hurdles (season-best 50.04).
Anika Havlik, a sophomore, took fourth at district in the 800 and was part of the 4x400 with Hanke, Conway and Jones.
Senior Sierra Stafford and Ela joined Conway and Jones on the 4x100 crew at district.
Senior Anne Morud turned in a PR 12:20.63 in the 3,000 to place seventh at district.
And the Indians broke through in a couple of girls throwing events, thanks to junior Ashlen Searle, who placed sixth in the discus and javelin.
Junior Kyrah Harrison was sixth in the high jump and eighth in the triple jump.
Scappoose to state
(May 24-25, Mt. Hood Community College)
100 — Connor McNabb
800 — Josh Lull
110 hurdles — Brisyn Maller
300 hurdles — Brisyn Maller
Shot put — Bobby Vanek
Javelin — Conner Havlik
800 — Tess Conway
100 hurdles — Emma Jones
300 hurdles — Emma Jones
Indians in 5A top 10
110 hurdles — Brisyn Maller, 6th
300 hurdles — Brisyn Maller, 8th
4x100 relay — 6th
4x400 relay — 7th
800 — Tess Conway, 7th
100 hurdles — Emma Jones, 8th
300 hurdles — Emma Jones, 4th
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