Tigard boys sprint to second at state meet
EUGENE — They're fast.
They had very high hopes.
And the Tigers came oh so close to getting to the very top.
The Tigard High School boys track and field team battled its way to second place in the final team standings at the Class 6A state track and field championships, held Friday and Saturday at Hayward Field.
The Tigers earned the second-place trophy with a score of 54 points. West Salem won the Class 6A state team title with a score of 60.
"Obviously, it's disappointing, but I couldn't be more proud of my team," Tigard senior Skylar Holloway said. "It was an amazing season, honestly. We had a lot of people step up this year, not only the seniors, but the underclassmen as well."
The Tigers, while falling just barely short of claiming team gold, had a pair of state-championship performances on the track.
Tigard's first state title came in the 4 x 100-meter relay, where the team of sophomore Josh Burns, senior Antonio Angel, Holloway and senior Braden Lenzy triumphed in a school-record time of 41.68 seconds. West Salem finished second at 41.76.
"This was big for us, in front of all these people. It was loud. We just focused," Burns said after the team received its first-place medals. "It went really well. We ran hard, and our baton passes were the best we've had."
"It worked out perfect," Angel said. "We didn't get to work together very much, but it all came together."
"We knew we could get it," Holloway said of the school record. "It all depended on how healthy Antonio was."
And he looked very healthy, and Lenzy looked very fast.
Running the anchor leg for the Tigers, Lenzy passed a pair of runners to help Tigard get the victory.
"Once Skylar gave the baton to Braden, I knew we had it," Angel said. "I jumped up and down and Braden caught him."
"I was just running," Lenzy said with a smile. "I have a lot of speed. We knew we had a lot of potential. We figured if we didn't mess up, we'd get it done."
Tigard's other title came in the 300 intermediate hurdles, where Angel triumphed in a time of 37.68.
"It means the world," Angel said of the state championship. "It means so much that I could win it in front of my family. I've been working so hard the past four years to be up on that podium. It's just really a special moment for me. I'm just so happy, so overjoyed. I accomplished the goal that I set out to do."
Angel, running next to sophomore teammate Hunter Gilbert, got off to a fast start to the race, and never let up.
"Whole race was really smooth," Angel said. "I didn't stutter too much. I got my lead leg up and over. It was a good race. Running next to Hunter really helped. Training with him, pacing off him really helped me the first 150."
And, from the time Angel finished the race, until even after he received his championship medal, he had a big smile on his face.
"Last year, I was happy just to be there, it was my first year hurdling, but this year I really wanted to get it," Angel said.
Lenzy sprinted to second place in the 400 in a personal-best time of 47.52 and he took second in the 200 in 21.57.
"Braden did an amazing job today," Holloway said.
In the 4 x 400 relay, the Tigard team of Gilbert, Angel, Holloway and Lenzy finished second in a time of 3:18.11.
Also for the Tigard boys, Gilbert finished fourth in the 300 intermediate hurdles in 38.16, sophomore Jaaron Kletzel took sixth in the 110 high hurdles with a time of 15.14, senior Alex Silver cleared 13 feet to take seventh place in the pole vault, freshman Spencer Kueffel was ninth in the high jump at 6-0 and senior Payton Kueffel was 11th in the javelin with a throw of 163-0.
The Tigard girls also had some strong performances at the state meet.
One of them came from senior Lauren McFall, who finished in third place in the javelin event with a personal-best throw of 142-7.
"Oh man, it was stressful, but it went really well," McFall said. "I think, overall, I threw pretty well. Obviously, everyone did well. It a tough year, a lot of girls had (personal records), but it was awesome."
Tigard senior Lauren Paven also finished up strong. She ran to second place in the 400 in 57.12 and she took sixth in the 200 in 25.30.
In the 4 x 400 relay, Paven teamed with sophomores Peyton Green and Audrey Wells and senior Gabby McGaughey to finish in eighth place in a time of 4:04.93.
Also for the Tiger girls, sophomore Elizabeth Brands finished 15th in the 1,500 in 4:54.15, junior Carole Ramos was 15th in the shot put with a throw of 36-7.25, freshman Avery Croxton was 15th in the long jump with a mark of 33-3.75 and junior Jess Liles competed in the high jump.
The Tigers finished in a tie for 13th place in the team standings with 18 points. Jesuit won the Class 6A girls state team title.