Westside track athletes make their mark at state
There are few weekends as exciting as the OSAA state track and field championships for the state's premier prep runners, jumpers and throwers, and Forest Grove's Ally Hammond will attest to that.
"It was really exciting," Hammond said. "I loved exploring Hayward for the first time. The underground track had to be my favorite part."
Hammond was one of many of Oregon's best track and field athletes to compete in the meet, which took place May 19-21 at the new, yet still historic Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon in Eugene — and the competition didn't disappoint.
On the boys side, Central Catholic took home first prize in the team competition with 55 points, while Tigard (40) was second, Tualatin (35) third, with Westside schools Sherwood (28.5) and Westview (25) placing eighth and 10th respectively.
The Tigers were paced by senior Elijah Jackman who won both the shot put and discus at the meet, throwing the shot 59-foot-3.5 and the discus 175-foot-7.
The Tigard senior was hoping to throw the shot a little better, with a school record in mind, but his inability to do so didn't damper his spirits or his thoughts on the experience as a whole.
"It's pretty exciting," Jackman said. "I was going for the school record of 60-03, and I'd thrown 61 in practice, so I was hoping to get that. I'm still happy with the 59, though, and winning it is great. I'm happy to be out here to get the win."
Like Hammond, Jackman said the experience as a whole was something he'd never forget.
"I have a lot of great people I knew coming to this from other areas, and just being at Hayward, it's great," he said. "You can't get anything better than this. That's the way to go out."
Other Tigard placers included senior Pat Vialva, who won in javelin with a throw of 203-foot-7, which was a personal best; senior Karson Boschma, who finished fourth in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 39.52; and Kevin Swindler, who was fourth in the pole vault, clearing 14-foot-9.
Tualatin was led by Caleb Lakeman, who capped his decorated high school career by winning both the 1,500 and 3,000 meters.
The 3,000 may have been the meet's most exciting — and competitive — race.
Lakeman trailed South Medford's Michael Maiorano for the bulk of the race.
"I had no idea he was going to go out that hard," Lakeman said. "I thought he was going to go out hard, but I didn't really think he'd go out that hard. He was like 30 meters ahead of us the whole race, but I was patient the whole race. I knew we were going to catch him eventually."
He didn't catch him by much, however. Maiorano's lead grew to 40 meters with just over a quarter-lap to go. Lakeman, however, stayed patient, bided his time and eventually passed the South Medford runner at the tape.
"I was patient pretty much the whole race until like the last 800 or so, when I was getting a little antsy," he said. "I could feel my nerves creeping up the whole race and I was just, like, 'Stay patient, the last 200, something will happen.' Coming around the corner, I knew it was a possibility in that last 100."
Lakeman said he was nervous prior to the race — not because he hadn't been running well, but because he had been.
"I was terrified going into this race, because I know I was definitely one of the favorites, or at least definitely a big contender, because I won all these big races," he said. "I was just holding my anxiety, and that fear was creeping down on me during the race, but I just thought — I had a lot of hope going into the last 400 that we were going to close that gap."
Tualatin also got points from Cole Noretto, who placed fifth in the 800 meters; Ethan Grimm, who was eighth in the javelin; and both the third-place 4x400 relay team (Marcus Ludes, Alex Smith, Noah Ogoli, Lakeman) and fifth-place 4x100 relay team (Ludes, Smith, Ogoli, Joshua Tedlock).
Other notable local finishers on the boys side included: Westview's Fuad Omer, who was second in the 400 meters and fifth in the 200; Jesuit's Dominic Ricci, third in the 800; Sherwood's Jeffery Rogers, fourth in the 800; Mountainside's Drew McCarty, third in the discus; Sherwood's Austin Milton, third in the javelin; Sherwood's Christopher Gallinger-Long, third in the pole vault; Westview's William Onwo, who was second in the long jump; and Glencoe's Austin Stampflee, who won the long jump event.
"Austin has had a passion for track for years, and it was so surreal for him to be able to achieve that goal," Glencoe head coach Ian Reynoso said. "Winning a state title has been his goal for years, and getting it done as a junior is a huge motivator going into next year."
On the girls side, Lake Oswego sophomore Mia Brahe-Pedersen delighted the crowd — and herself — with a new personal best.
Brahe-Pedersen entered the OSAA/OnPoint Community Credit Union 6A championships at Hayward Field intent on breaking the 100-meter state record of 11.3 seconds, set by Churchill's Margaret Johnson Bailes in 1968. Her personal best was 11.34. She ran 11.09.
Despite her all-time fast time turning out to be "wind-aided," it did little to dampen her accomplishment.
"I was really hoping it would be wind-legal, but I think even with the conversion, it might have probably still broken the record," Brahe-Peterson said. "But either way, a time's a time."
Lake Oswego won the girls team competition with 77 points. Oregon City was second with 62, followed by Jesuit (50) in third.
Tualatin finished seventh, Mountainside eighth, and Tigard 10th.
Jesuit standout Chloe Foerster also impressed, winning the 1,500 meters and repeating as champion in the 800 — no small feat considering she came down with COVID-19 after the Jesuit Twilight Relays on April 29 and was out for 10 days before returning for the Metro League district meet.
"I got it pretty bad," Foerster said. "They thought I had a heart problem, so that's probably why I took even longer to come out and run. But I got all cleared, and I should be all good. I just have asthma."
Jesuit freshman Emma Bennett showed she may already be ready to take Foerster's place upon her graduation, placing second to the senior in the 800 meters and third in the 1,500.
Tualatin sophomore Lauren Ayers placed fourth in the 1,500 and fifth in the 800.
Mountainside's 4x100 relay team consisting of Olivia Hicks, Anna Miller, Hanna McAuliffe and Tucci Iyasele finished third, while Mavericks freshman Catherine Phillips impressed with a second-place finish in the high jump, clearing a personal best 5-foot-7.
Tigard's Alexa Anderson was second in the pole vault with a mark of 11-foot-6, while her teammate Amber Walker was third in the high jump.
Glencoe's Hannah Willard tallied a fourth place finish in the javelin.
And Forest Grove's Hammond? She narrowly missed qualifying for the finals in each of her three events, the 100 meters, 200 meters and 100-meter hurdles, along with her teammate Lily Everson, who placed 12th in the 300-meter hurdles. But regardless, she said the experience was great, and it was one that she said will be invaluable when she competes for Pacific University this coming fall.
"I felt like I needed to experience that environment to get me ready for next year," Hammond said. "I felt as though I could've done better, but my overall experience was great."
In the 5A meet, Hillsboro's Isabel Tapley placed fourth in the 100 meters, second in the 100 hurdles, and fourth in the 300 hurdles, while her teammate Jonette Singh finished fifth in the triple jump.
In the 4A meet, Banks' Cole Crossen placed third in the 300 hurdles, while his teammate Jamar Flippen was sixth in the 100 meters.
Also, Valley Catholic's Henry Tierney won the 1,500 and was second in the 800, while the Valiants' Sarah Rossetti was third in the 400.
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