Tualatin girls claim district track title
OREGON CITY — Every placing mattered.
Every point mattered.
The Tualatin High School girls track and field team knew that — and the Timberwolves wanted everything they could get.
Well, they ended up getting a district championship.
The Wolves, behind their determination, as well as their support and teamwork, claimed the team title at the Three Rivers League track and field district championships, held May 15 and May 17 at Pioneer Memorial Stadium.
Tualatin took first place in the team standings at the district meet with 130 points. Oregon City was second with a score of 120.
"It's really exciting," Tualatin sophomore Kendal Vanterpool said of the team's performance at the district meet. "Over the course of the season, our team has gotten really close, and I think that's what has helped us the most. There's something about having your teammates right there, cheering you on. That's what really pushes us."
"We all wanted to run really hard and get after it," Tualatin junior Corona Parker said during the meet. "We also wanted to try and get as many points as we could on the girls side, because we want to beat Oregon City."
Many of the Tualatin girls will likely carry the momentum from district to the Class 6A state track and field championships. The top two finishers in each event at the district meet, as well as those competitors, or relay teams that better state qualifying standards, or earn wild-card bids, advance to compete at the Class 6A state meet, which will be held Friday and Saturday at Mount Hood Community College in Gresham.
"I'm really excited for state, and I'm really determined to get on the podium and prove myself," Vanterpool said. "I want to break 38 (feet) in the triple jump for sure."
Vanterpool, a rookie on the Tualatin track team, will be going to the state meet as a district champion, as she triumphed in the triple jump at the district meet with a distance of 37 feet, 8.25 inches.
"Well, it feels incredible. It's my first year doing track, and I wasn't expecting this at all," Vanterpool said. "I just always like being the best at everything, which is a little bit weird. I've got a pretty competitive spirit, and I think that's what pushed me today."
Vanterpool got her winning jump on her second attempt of the competition.
"That was a PR (personal record), so that was really big for me," she said. "My first jump wasn't my best, so, on that second jump, I just locked into the mindset that I was going to work on all the corrections that I needed to make. It felt really good."
Vanterpool is also going to state in the long jump. She placed second in that event at district with a mark of 17-11.25.
Tualatin junior Kaitlyn Gearin is going to state as a two-time district champion. On May 15, she won the 3,000-meter run in a personal-best time of 10 minutes, 12.88 seconds.
"That went really well," Gearin said. "I was just feeling good, and I was able to stay on a pace."
In the 1,500 on May 17, Gearin came from behind in the final few meters to pass Fiona Lenth of St. Mary's Academy to win in 4:45.95. Lenth was second at 4:46.17.
"It's pretty awesome," Gearin said of her two victories. "I didn't know that was going to happen. I was just going to try and qualify for state in the 1,500, so I was pretty happy with the outcome. I just tried to stay with Fiona (Lenth), and then, in the last 100, I just went for it. I decided to try my best, and also get more points for the team.
Tualatin's 4 x 100 relay team of junior Corona Parker, sophomore Amerrah Horne-Vaden, senior Jessica Olson and junior Gennavieve Marion gave the Wolves an early spark during Friday's finals, as the group ran to second place in 49.45.
"It means a lot. We've been working really, really hard, and we've been pushing ourselves, and we're just really excited," Marion said. "I knew it was going to be good, because of the handoffs. Coming into today, I just knew it."
"This is my first time going to state, so I'm really excited," Olson said. "Our handoffs were really solid. We've been practicing a lot."
"This is a really good thing for us," Horne-Vaden said. "This was really fun. I like this group."
"It's phenomenal," Parker said with a smile. "I haven't been to state for the 4 x 100 since my freshman year. It's amazing to go with an amazing group of people."
Parker is also part of a trio of Tualatin high jumpers that are going to state. Parker, junior Savannah Taft and sophomore Ellie Hammond all cleared 5-3, with Taft placing first, Parker said and Hammond getting a wild-card bid to state while finishing third.
"It's just the team," Parker said of the high jumpers' success. "We're all so close."
Marion will also be going to state in the 400. She was second in that race at district with a time of 57.95.
On Friday at the Class 6A state meet, the first field event is set to start at noon, and the first running event begins at 2:15 p.m. On Saturday, the first field event starts at 11 a.m., and the first running event begins at 1:30 p.m.