Sandy discus duo dominate at MHC Track & Field District opener
The moment Lander Marak's final discus throw left his hand during a meet that brought the region's best athletes together, he turned to celebrate with his biggest supporter and rival.
Marak and fellow Sandy sophomore Grayson Brown have been pushing each other all season long, at meets and in practice. On Tuesday, May 10, it all came to a head as they dueled in the boys discus at the Mt. Hood Conference Track & Field District Championships.
Marak won, throwing 143-10 feet, while Brown placed second at 135-4. They celebrated with an embrace, claiming their respective medals and punching their tickets to the State Track & Field Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene later this month.
"I am really happy with that mark. I had been working hard in practice leading up to this meet," Marak said.
His teammate, Brown, was a little more nervous headed into the competition after a difficult Monday afternoon tune-up.
"I wasn't hitting my marks in practice, but I sat down with my coaches and figured it out," he said.
The two were quick to credit their friendship in being a big part of their success.
"Throwing with Lander is really motivating," Brown said.
"I've loved competing this year alongside him," Marak added.
The goal for both is setting personal records at state May 20-21. For Marak, that would mean going over 150 feet, while Brown is looking to toss 145 feet.
"I've been chasing my best throw all season," he said with a laugh. "My best, 141 feet, came in the first meet of the year."
The third-place finisher, Reynolds junior Anthony Dickson, was all smiles after the event as well.
"I (had a personal record) at every meet this year," he said at the conclusion of the event.
Dickson finished with a bronze after tossing 133-8 feet — a PR — on his final throw of the evening.
The boys discus was just one of the hotly-contested events held during the MHC Championships at Barlow High School. The focus was on the field, which had the majority of the finals. On the track, most of the events were preliminary heats to set the stage for Wednesday, May 11. The top two finishers in each event qualify for the state meet.
Barlow junior Boaz Amadio punctuated his first season as a pole vaulter with a personal-record 11-feet-9 to claim gold at districts and punch his ticket to state.
Amadio joined the track and field program with thoughts of focusing on throws to stay strong in the football and wrestling offseason. But that first day of practice, he was wowed as he watched the vaulters soar through the sky.
"That feeling of flying through the air is so fun," he said. "It is kind of like riding a bike up, and you have all this control."
His mark bested a pair of sophomores — Troy Hockett, David Douglas, and Micah Castillo, Centennial — who both cleared 11-feet-3.
"Those guys both got PRs, so they were pushing me a lot more than I expected," Amadio said. "It made for an awesome meet."
For a returning senior high jumper from Clackamas, the bright lights of districts weren't quite as dazzling — springy senior Deshanae Norman has been here before, and knew what was needed to move on toward state.
"It's just districts, but winning is always an accomplishment," she said. "I could have jumped better, but I'm still happy."
Norman led the girls field clearing 5-foot-6. For four straight heights she was jumping alone after fellow Clackamas senior Delaney Neal and Sandy junior Brooke Womack both bowed out at 4-feet-10.
Neal also set a personal record in winning the girls triple jump — hopping, skipping and jumping her way to a 32-7.25 foot mark.
In the boys long jump, Clackamas senior Ian Patton won (21-4.5 feet), followed by Barlow senior Dakota Pillster (20-10.25 PR) and Reynolds senior Shawn Taylor (20-7 PR).
Sandy junior Sydney Brewster continued the school's dominance in the throws by winning the girls shot put with a toss of 40-4.75 feet. Taking second was David Douglas senior Aspen Pearce (37-7.5 PR) and Barlow senior Grace Lam Tiang was third (37-5 PR).
In the girls javelin, Central Catholic junior Kyeese Hollands took gold (143-9 feet) and senior Elliott Bush finished with silver (134-4). Rounding out the top of the standings were Sandy's Brewster (120-8 PR) and Barlow's Lam Tiang (113-8).
The only finals to be held on the track Tuesday were the boys and girls 3,000 meters, which were both swept by Central Catholic.
For the boys, junior Wesley Shipsey won (8:35.44), senior Max Girardet took second (8:38.03) and junior Garrett Mackey placed third (8:55.91). For the girls, sophomore Ella McGillis won (10:27.25), sophomore Zoe Rector took second (10:49.36) and senior Sophie Smithstanza placed third (11:11.17).
For a full list of results from day one of the Mt. Hood Conference Track & Field District Championships, visit bit.ly/3L2L52F.
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