Timberwolves take it all
GRESHAM — The dream.
They've been in place for awhile now, since all the way back in February.
The talent has been there. So has the desire and determination. A whole bunch of hard work was added in.
And, with all of that, the Tualatin High School boys track and field team made that dream, that goal, become reality.
The Timberwolves won the first track and field state championship in school history, winning the gold at the Class 6A state meet, held under cold, rainy skies Friday and Saturday at Mount Hood Community College.
"It's a great feeling to have a goal and make it a reality," Tualatin junior Andrew Payton said after the Wolves received their championship trophy. "This team is the best team ever at Tualatin High School. It means a lot to be with these guys. I've been trying to soak in the memories, because next year they'll be gone, and it's not going to be the same, so we're living in the moment."
"This means absolutely everything to us," Tualatin senior Dominique Loggins said. "We have amazing team chemistry. We're a big family. I was never a big track guy, but, with this team, I found another family."
"We did it," Tualatin junior Luke Marion said. "All of the hard work paid off. Everyone did their part. I'm just really happy right now."
The Tualatin boys took the top spot in the team standings at the state meet with a score of 74 points, putting the Timberwolves well ahead of second-place Sherwood, which had a score of 47.
"This means a lot," Payton said. "We set our goal high, and we all believed that we could do it. It was just a matter of making it a reality, with everyone doing the work and everyone doing their job."
Tualatin senior Nano Kis certainly seemed to do his job. Kis not only defended his state championship in the discus event, but he also won a state title in the shot put.
"It means a lot, especially for the team," Kis said of winning both titles. "To know that those 20 points are going to do a lot for us team-wise. That was definitely on my mind. We know we can do it, it's just a matter of doing what we know we can do."
Kis picked up his first state championship of the meet during Friday's shot put competition.
"This was really fun, especially since, with the shot, at the beginning of the year, I wasn't sure how good I'd be in it," Kis said.
It turned out, he was really good at it.
Kis won the shot put with a personal-best throw of 57 feet, 11 inches, which came on his third attempt of the competition.
"That was nice, because everything I've been working on clicked on that throw," Kis said. "I knew immediately that it was a good throw. I think it happened because I had that big gap, since my elbow was injured, and I hadn't had a big meet since then."
Following the shot put event, where Kis edged Sherwood sophomores Bryan Cuthbertson and Noah Culbertson to win the title, there was a big celebration with family, friends, coaches and teammates.
"I was really happy, after the second-to-last throw, because I knew I had won it. It was just happiness," Kis said. "It was really fun celebrating, because the whole team is trying to get the championship. I was thinking about that, especially with Sherwood being one of the teams we're competing with."
"It started off with Nano in the shot put yesterday, and he set the tone," Payton said. "We call him 'Heinz,' because he threw a 57. And it's great to see everyone doing what they're supposed to do, whether it be getting into the finals, or winning a state championship, just doing their stuff."
Kis did his stuff again on Saturday, as he won a state title in the discus event for the second straight year, triumphing with a throw of 177-7.
"This year, I was a lot more relaxed.," Kis said after his discus victory. "Last year, on my fifth throw, I went from eighth place to first place. This year, I was 13 feet ahead of everyone, so I was much more relaxed. That helped."
Tualatin also picked up a state championship in the 4 x 100 relay. In that race, the Timberwolf team of Loggins, junior Andrew McDade, Marion and senior Kwabena Lynn triumphed in a time of 42.06 seconds. Jesuit was second at 42.80, and West Salem was third at 42.84.
"Honestly, we've been working since February, so it means a lot to get out here and show everyone what we've been working on," Loggins said. "We lost to a team (West Salem) at the (Jesuit) Twilight Relays that we know we're better than, and that kind of put us in a low spot. So kind of had more to work toward, to prove to everyone that we're the best out here, and that we deserve that gold medal."
"It means a lot," McDade said. "Luke and I are juniors this year, so we really wanted to do it for Dom and Kwabena, who are seniors, and we're not likely to get guys as fast as them, so it was really nice to get this opportunity. We ran a good race, and set a legacy."
"We came out here not only wanting to get the job done, but also to have fun doing it," Marion said. "We had a great time, and we got a medal, so that's awesome."
Marion, running the third leg of the race for the Wolves, handed the baton to Lynn and the put his arms in the air as he watched the finish.
"Once I got off the corner and gave the baton to Kwabena, it was just a proud moment for me," Marion said. "We were in the lead, so I just put my hands in the air and cheered him on."
"It meant a lot to cross the finish line first. Because last time, at Jesuit, we got beat, so, to beat him, crossing first, was special," Lynn said. "We got the end result that we wanted to. It was hard work in practice, working on our handoffs and team chemistry. Everything we've done helped build our team chemistry. It was really fun."
Lynn also sprinted to second place in the 100 in a time of 10.79. Loggins was right behind him in fourth place in that race, with a mark of 10.82. Lynn also was third in the 200 at 22.15.
The Wolves also picked up big points in the 110 high hurdles. In that race, Marion took second place at 14.88 and Tualatin senior Jalen Hale was fourth at 14.98.
"It's awesome," Marion said. "Today was just an overall fun day. I can't complain, getting second in the state. It was a really fun race, with cool friends. Jalen is great."
For Hale, it's the second straight year for him to get on the award stand at the state meet. Last year, he placed fifth in the javelin, but an arm injury prevented him from throwing this year.
"I got hurt after last season. I couldn't throw the javelin this year, so I had to find some other events," Hale said. The triple (jump) was one of them. I didn't have a great meet in that (he placed 11th at 42-5.75), so I wanted to come out and make up for that in the hurdles. To run against Luke in the finals was a lot of fun. We have a little competition going, who could beat each other the most, and he beat me 4-3. This was the tie-breaker."
Payton placed in a pair of events at state. He ran to fourth place in the 800 in 1:55.71, and he was seventh in the 1,500 with a time of 4:02.01.
"That was probably the most I've felt in my legs," Payton said of the 800. "I just tried to get out and hang on. The 1,500, wasn't what I wanted. I went out pretty slow. I tried to go out with the surge, but my legs were heavy. But, credit to the other guys. They were stronger."
Also for the Tualatin boys, senior Nick Sarka took ninth place in the shot put with a throw of 46-5.5, McDade was 10th in the 400 preliminaries with a time of 50.72 and junior Ethan Klein was 12th in the 1,500 at 4:07.81.
Junior Kaitlyn Gearin helped lead the way for the Tualatin girls at the state meet. Gearin ran to seventh place in the 3,000 in a time of 10:05.88.
"It was really cool to make it to the podium. I'm happy," Gearin said. "I think it went well. It went by really fast. I tried to stay with the pack and stay focused throughout the race. It was a PR, so I'm happy. I think all the competition pushed me."
Gearin also took 12th place in the 1,500 with a time of 4:46.86.
Tualatin senior Gennavieve Marion sprinted to seventh place in the 400 in a time of 59.05. Sophomore Kendal Vanterpool was seventh in the triple jump with a distance of 35-8.75. She was also 10th in the long jump with a mark of 17-0.25.
Sophomore Ellie Hammond cleared 5-2 to take seventh place in the high jump. Junior Corona Parker also cleared 5-2 and placed ninth. Junior Savannah Taft also cleared 5-2 and tied for 10th place.
The Tualatin 4 x 100 relay team of Parker, Amerrah Horne-Vaden, Jessica Olson and Marion took 15th place with a time of 57.11.
The Tualatin girls finished in 28th place in the team scoring with seven points. South Eugene won the Class 6A girls state team championship.