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Tigard's Lena Greene, a star triple jumper for the Tigers, to compete in gymnastics at OSU



RALPH GREENE - Lena Greene, a 2016 Tigard High School graduate, competes at the Oregon State Championships.TIGARD — This past spring, Lena Greene had what easily could be called a successful track and field season.

As a Tigard High School senior, Greene placed second in both the long jump and the triple jump at the Three Rivers League district track and field meet. She went on to finish third in the triple jump a the Class 6A state track and field championships, breaking her own personal best and setting a new school record on her final attempt of the competition.

Impressive.

But, what makes it even more impressive is that track and field isn't Greene's main sport. It's something she dos for fun, as a sidelight.

Greene's true love in sports is gymnastics, and the 5-foot-1 ball of energy, full of a combination of flexibility and explosiveness, will be taking her talents to Oregon State University, where she signed a letter of intent to compete for the Beavers' women's gymnastics team.

“It's unique,” Greene said last week, talking about her love of gymnastics. “Not many people can do it. It's exciting, scary and fun, all at the same time — and I have a lot of energy.”

And she's happy to be taking all of that energy south to Corvallis.

“It's pretty exciting,” Greene said. “Especially since I didn't expect this during my junior year.”

The reason Greene's home may have dimmed some her junior year of high school — injuries.

“Yeah, I got arthritis in my lower back,” she said. “Then there was an incident when I landed on my neck. Then, during the state meet during my junior year, I dislocated my elbow. But my love for the start kept me going.”

Starting young

Greene's love for the sport started at a young age — and, as the youngest in a family of four children, she followed her family into the sport.

“I think I started with a 'Mommy and Me' class when I was three,” Greene said. “I got into it with my family, and I stuck with it. My older brother started before me.”

That would be Kaz Greene, who also is a Tigard High School graduate, and a former star running back for the Tigers' football team.

“Kaz started first,” Lena Greene said. “He was pretty good.”

Greene started training at Metro Gymnastics, located in Tualatin, when she was in third grade.

“Being on the team there has been really fun,” she said. “I've known the coach (Sara Halverson), since I was eight. She's like a second mom.”

RALPH GREENE - Lena Greene, a 2016 Tigard High School graduate, gets high into the air, as well as upside down, as she competes on the balance beam at the state championships. Coming back strong

Following her injury-plagued junior year, Greene bounced back strong — in a very big way — during her senior season.

“I came back and had a great year,” Greene said with a big smile.

She certainly did.

Back in March, Greene shined bright at the state championships, held in Salem.

Competing at the Level 10, Senior Division, Greene took first place in the all-around competition at the state meet with a score of 37.700 points.

She also took first in the floor exercise, with a mark of 9.600 and she also claimed gold on the balance beam with a score of 9.450. She was second in both the vault (9.450) and the uneven parallel bars 9.175.

Following the big performance at the state championships, Greene also stepped up in a big way at the 2016 Region 2 Championships, held March 30 through April 2 in Pullman, Wash.

At the regional event, Greene placed third in the all-around competition with a score of 36.975. She took second place in the floor exercise with a mark of 9.375 and she tied for second place on the beam with a score of 9.325.

Also also was third on the vault, with a 9.500, and she was seventh on the uneven parallel bars with a score of 8.775.

From there, Greene went on to compete at the 2016 Women's Junior Olympics National Championships, held May 7-8 in Fort Worth, Texas.

At that event, Greene tied for 15th place in the floor exercise with a score of 9.475. She also tied for 18th on the bars (9.400), was tied for 22nd on the vault (9.425) and she was 38th on the beam (9.050). In the all-around, Greene placed in a tied for 20th with a score of 37.350.

“That was all a lot of fun,” Greene said. “I got to do a lot of traveling, and see a lot of friends.”

Pick an event

Greene says her favorite events to compete in are the floor and the beam.

“On the floor, you can break out the most and have fun,” she said. “On the beam, you have to be spot on. I like how technical it all is. It's also physically demanding. You have to be perfect.”

And there's also room for improvement.

“I definitely need to work on the bars,” Greene said.

DAN BROOD - Tigard's Lena Greene competes in the triple jump during the Class 6A state track and field championships in May.Time for track

In addition to gymnastics, Greene also got involved in track and field at a young age.

“I did it with my parents' youth team,” she said. “I did it from second through fourth grade, and then not again until my freshman year in high school. I missed it. It was really fun, especially with the high school team.”

Greene capped off her return to track in fine fashion, finishing third in the triple jump at the Class 6A state track and field championships held in Eugene back in May. In her final attempt in finals in the triple jump, she set a new school record with her mark of 37 feet, 5 inches.

“That was crazy,” Greene said. “I didn't expect it at all, with the injury thing during my junior year. But it all came together on that last jump.”

And her gymnastics skills also didn't hurt.

“I think my flexibility helps with the triple jump,” she said. “And also my explosiveness.”

Greene also finished 11th in the long jump at the state meet as a Tigard senior.

DAN BROOD - Lena Greene, in addition to signing to compete in gymnastics at Oregon State University, finished third in the triple jump event at the Class 6A state track and field championships with a school-record performance. On to OSU

Growing up, Greene attended Oregon State University gymnastics camps. She also attended Oregon State gymnastics meets at Gill Coliseum.

So, it made sense that, one day, she would want to compete for the Beavers.

“I kept in touch with them,” Greene said. “I really like all of the gymnasts and the coaches there. One of my idols I watched (Mandi Rodriguez) is now an assistant coach there.

“I'm looking forward to the whole team being 100-percent dedicated. It will be intense and everyone will be pushing each other. I'm really looking forward to it.”

Greene added that she also plans on studying biology at Oregon State University.

“It will be hard, but exciting,” she said.

At the meets

Greene says that, when she attended Tigard High School, her classmates were a little in the dark.

“It was interesting,” she said. “Most of them did't know what I did for gymnastics. They just think of the Olympics. It's going to be exciting to be in gymnastics as part of a school sport.”

And she'll likely be performing in front of big home crowds at Gill Coliseum.

“That's going to be weird,” Greene said. “I used to never invite my friends to my meets because I would be too nervous.”

But, what she's accomplished in two sports, a little nervousness shouldn't be anything Greene can't easily jump, or vault, over.

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