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Grant Gardner, Morgan Petersen run to district titles for Westside Christian track team

TIMES PHOTO: DAN BROOD - Westside Christian junior Grant Gardner ran to victory in the 400-meter dash at the West Valley League district track and field meet.DAYTON — Sure, track can be looked upon as an individual sport.

But don't tell that to the Westside Christian High School track and field team.

Back in the spring, Westside Christian junior Grant Gardner and freshman Morgan Petersen ran to individual district titles a the West Valley League track and field championships. But both Gardner and Petersen insist they couldn't have done it without their Eagle teammates.

"It's about all my teammates being there, and all the hard workouts we do, over winter and spring," Gardner said after winning the boys 400-meter dash. "Then coming out here, running, and getting a real cool opportunity. Yeah, I'm excited."

I'm really glad I had my whole team cheering me on during the entire race," Petersen said after winning the girls 800. "I ask people to stand in certain places to cheer me. That motivates me and I run faster."

The victories by Gardner and Petersen were the main highlights for the Westside Christian teams at the district meet, which concluded May 12 at Dayton High School.

Gardner picked up the first victory for the Eagles, triumphing in the 400 in a time of 52.66 seconds.

"It's really cool," Gardner said of winning the district title.

In the race, Gardner was in second place, trailing Dayton's Thomas McKay after 300 meters, before sprinting past McKay down the homestretch to win the title.

"I don't get the best acceleration, so coming around the turn, I went to a gut race at the end, and I pulled it out this time," Gardner said. "It was really good. I was super proud of the other guys that ran as well. And my teammates are so great."

Gardner also helped a pair of Westside Christian relay teams earn state-meet berths by getting second-place finishes at the district meet.

TIMES PHOTO: DAN BROOD - Westside Christian freshman Morgan Petersen ran to victory in the 800-meter run at the West Valley League district track and field meet.In the 4 x 100 relay, the team of Gardner, sophomore Alvin Lai, senior Julian Hale and senior Yuke Li placed second in a time of 46.95. In the 4 x 400 relay, the Westside combination of Gardner, Lai, senior Reece Hupfer and Jack de la Motte placed second in 3:37.79.

Also for the Westside Christian boys at district, Hupfer was second in the 800 in 2:06.22, sophomore Davis Raz was third in the 1,500 in 4:28.86, junior Kellen Petersen was third in the 3,000 in 9:52.84 and senior Kenny Pratt cleared 5 feet, 8 inches to take third place in the high jump.

Morgan Petersen ran to victory in the girls 800 in a time of 2:34.79.

"It means a lot," she said of the district championship. "It's my season (personal best), so I'm proud."

In the race, Petersen grabbed the early lead, and never let it go.

"I tried to kick it on the last 200," she said. "I thought of it as a new 200."

Petersen also teamed with Bailey McKay, Hollyn Dugan and Gabriela Sears to finish third in the 4 x 400 in a time of 4:28.95.

In the 4 x 100, the Eagle team of Susannah Fischer, Sears, Dugan and Lauren Demaris earned a state-meet berth by sprinting to second place in a time of 54.08.

Also for the Westside Christian girls at district, Sears, a junior cleared 4-10 to take second place in the high jump. Sophomore Claire Shearer was fourth in the shot put with a mark of 32-2. Junior Eva Lammers was fourth in the javelin with a toss of 108-8, Fischer was fourth in the triple jump at 30-4.5 and senior Clara Adams was fourth in the high jump at 4-4.

Both Westside Christian teams finished in fourth place in the team standings at the district meet.

Gardner helped lead the way for the Eagles at the Class 3A state track and field championships, held May 17-18 at Hayward Field in Eugene, finishing sixth in the 400 at 52.90.

Also for the Westside boys, the 4 x 100 relay team of Lai, Gardner, Noah Lammers and Li was 12th in a time of 48.32. In the 4 x 400 relay, the team of Lai, de la Motte, Kellen Petersen and Gardner was 12th in 3:43.55.

For the Westside Christian girls, Sears cleared 4-10 to take sixth place in the high jump, and the 4 x 100 relay team of Fischer, Sears, Dugan and Demaris was ninth at 54.25.

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