Tigard track teams step up at invitational
TIGARD — It was definitely some strong big-meet competition.
The Tigard High School track and field teams turned in some strong performances against that competition. And, maybe even more importantly, the Tigers are looking to take the momentum and confidence they got from those performances and run with them.
The Tigers definitely looked to be fueled after battling at the BMW Portland Ultimate Invitational track and field meet, that they hosted Friday at Tigard High School.
"Personally, it's pretty exciting," said Tigard junior Jaaron Kletzel, who ran to second place in the 110-meter high hurdles. "The nerves are crazy, but you get out here and just run. It's pretty fun."
The Tigard boys finished in fifth place in the team standings at the event with a score of 82.5 points.
Kletzel had one of the top performances for the Tigers, with his second-place time of 15.05 seconds in the 110 high hurdles.
"It went pretty well," Kletzel said. "It was definitely my best one so far this season. It's nice weather out here today, and that really helped. It was a pretty good race."
It also has Kletzel optimistic about the rest of the season.
"I'm in the 15s now, but I'm working on getting that lower," he said. "Of course, getting to state is a goal. I'm going to have to work hard every day in practice."
Kletzel also teamed with junior Josh Burns, sophomore Matthew Otness and junior Hunter Gilbert to finish second in the 4 x 100 relay in 43.53.
"This was my first time running the 4 x 100 this season, because of some injuries, so it was pretty good," Gilbert said. "We're in the process of working on some things. I'm not sure how good we're going to be, but we're definitely working on it."
"We're still working on it, but, but the end of the season, we'll be there," Kletzel said.
Gilbert also has high hopes for the 300 intermediate hurdles event this season.
"The 300 hurdles is probably my best race. I'm working on it," he said. "I'm hoping to win the 300 hurdles. I'm going to have to stay healthy, and put in the hard work."
Burns, Kletzel, Gilbert and Otness also ran to second place in the 4 x 200 relay with a time of 1:32.81.
Tigard sophomore Matthew Moller used a strong finish to take second place in the 1,500 with a time of 4:23.90.
"It was pretty good," Moller said. "It started off pretty slow, because of the wind. No one wanted to push through it. But we all picked it up going to the finish."
Moller definitely seemed to pick it up going to the finish line, nearly catching second-place Nicholas LaPlante of Southridge.
"It meant a lot," Moller said of his third-place finish. "As a freshman, I felt like I didn't have a real good place on the team, but I put in the work, and getting third here kind of reaffirms my ambitions."
But Moller didn't get his third-place finish unscathed, as he suffered a spike wound.
"I got my first battle scar today," he said with a laugh. "It happened at about 900 meters. Some guy cut in front of me really violently, and kind of kicked back at me in my leg. I didn't even feel it until I crossed the finish line. I was like, 'oh, wow.' It was kind of an adrenaline rush."
Also for the Tigard boys at the meet, senior Isaia Porter claimed first place in the discus event with a throw of 139 feet, 9 inches. Burns sprinted to second place in the 100 in 10.81. Senior Oscar Nieves Lira took second place in the 3,000 with a mark of 9:13.16. Senior Hayden McDonald was fifth the shot put with a toss of 44-3.
Sophomore Avery Croxton led the way for the Tigard girls at the invitational, as she triumphed in the triple jump with a distance of 33-5.75. She also was fifth in the long jump with a mark of 15-5.
Tiger sophomore Hainite Kinikini was second in the discus with a throw of 115-0, and she took third place in the shot put with a mark of 32-0.
In the 4 x 100 relay, the Tigard team of junior Stephani Rodriguez, freshman Riley Patera, freshman Ashley Patera and sophomore Zoe Floyd finished in fourth place in a time of 50.82. The same foursome was fifth in the 4 x 200 relay in 1:56.54.
In the 4 x 400 relay, the Tiger team of freshman Avery Alderman, Riley Patera, Rodriguez and Ashley Patera was fourth at 4:19.63.
Rodriguez sprinted to fifth in the 100 with a time of 12.74. Junior Alayna Regier was fifth in the javelin with a toss of 93-5. The Tiger 4 x 800 relay team of Isabella Layman, Molly Kerns, Payton Green and Elizabeth Brands ran to fifth place in 10:51.78.
The Tigard girls finished in sixth place in the team standings with 65 points.
Union, Wash., won both the boys and girls team titles at the invitational.
The Tigard teams will be back in action on Tuesday, when they host Canby and Tualatin in a Three Rivers League double dual meet. Field events start at 4 p.m. and running events begin at 4:30 p.m.