Tigers have high placings at state meet
GRESHAM — The Tigard High School track and field teams didn't win any gold at the Class 6A state track and field championships.
But some Tigers came close — real close.
Tigard had two individuals, and the boys 4 x 100-meter relay team, come away with top-four finishes at the meet held Friday and Saturday under cold, rainy conditions at Mount Hood Community College.
Leading the way for the Tigers was junior Hunter Gilbert, who battled through injuries throughout the season and ran to second place in the 300 intermediate hurdles.
"It's pretty cool, but it's kind of bittersweet," Gilbert said after receiving his second-place medal. "I was working through injuries this year, mostly, but it's good to come out and do pretty well. It's my season PR (personal record), so I'm pretty proud of that."
Gilbert was the runner up in the race in a time of 38.94 seconds. That put behind only Benson senior Jaylen Russell, who won the race in 37.61.
"It was hard. I wanted to do better this year, but you can't control everything," Gilbert said. "It's definitely motivation for next year. I don't know what's going to happen in the offseason, with football and everything, but I'm definitely going to work hard."
Tigard freshman Riley Patera ended her debut season by sprinting to fourth place in the 400 in a time of 57.72.
"I'm really happy," Patera said. "I wanted to do a little better, but I'm glad I finished. It's over now."
Patera got off to a strong start to the race, and was leading at one point, but she got edged at the end, by .15 seconds, by a pair of runners from Bend.
"I felt good the first 300, but then I looked to see where everybody was, and that cost me," Patera said. "I think what will help me a lot is getting used to running against older kids. This was a really fun year. The coaches are really good."
Patera could be a force for Tigard the next three years, along with her twin sister Ashley.
"Ashley was injured this year, but it will be fun to have her back next year," Riley Patera said. "This year was a lot of fun. It was a lot more fun than I thought it would be."
The Tigard 4 x 100 relay team of juniors Josh Burns, Jaaron Kletzel and Max Lenzy, and sophomore Matthew Otness, stepped up to take fourth place in a time of 43.12.
"I think this means a lot to us," Otness said. "We have kind of a young team, compared to a lot of the other teams. We're all returning next year. We worked really hard to get here and it's nice to finally see it all pay off."
The Tigard team, running in the first of two timed eight-team heats, won its heat. The Tigers then had to watch the second (faster) heat to see if it earned a spot on the award stand.
"It was definitely unexpected," Burns said. "After the race, we saw our time, and we PRd by .01 seconds. Then it was watch the next race and hope we get in eighth place and get on the podium, so fourth place was definitely a surprise. But, at the same time, it wasn't surprising. We've all worked hard, we knew our handoffs were good, we knew we were all fast. It was just a matter of putting it all together, and I think we did that today."
"It went pretty well," Kletzel said. "We've worked really hard to get here, and I think that we had the best race we've had all season, and I'm glad we finally brought it all together today."
"I was just trying to run my best," said Lenzy, who ran the anchor leg for the Tigers. "I knew we had a big lead, and I was just trying to maintain it, and hope that we got a PR. After we saw the time, we were hoping that we could crack the top-eight, and we got fourth."
Burns also ran to seventh place in the 100 in 11.07, and he was eighth in the 200 in 27.72. Tigard senior Luke Ness cleared 6 feet to take 11th place in the high jump. Tiger sophomore Lincoln Woodhouse ran to 14th in the 3,000 in 8:58.56.
For the Tigard girls, sophomore Avery Croxton took seventh place in the triple jump with a mark of 35-11. The Tiger 4 x 400 relay team of freshman Avery Alderman, junior Steffani Rodriguez, junior Peyton Green and Riley Patera finished in 12th place with a time of 4:06.48.
The Tigard boys finished in a tie for 13th place in the team standings at the state meet with 16 points. The Tigard girls finished in a tie for 26th place with eight points.
The Tualatin boys and South Eugene girls won the Class 6A state team championships.
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