Track: Gervais freshman ranks among state's best in 400
Gervais freshman Katie Hanson is making a name for herself this spring.
As the Cougars pass the halfway point through the track and field season, Hanson has been a standout athlete over the first month of her high school career, putting up impressive times in 200- and 400-meter dash events that already have her ranked among the state's best 3A runners.
The Gervais Cougars hosted Jefferson, Central Linn and Kennedy on Thursday in a combined PacWest/Tri-River conference meet, and Hanson paced the girls team with a victory in the 400, setting a new personal best time of 1:02.20 to win the event by a wide margin.
It was the third victory of the season for Hanson in the 400, who has yet to be beaten in the event this spring. Hanson had already ranked among the top 10 3A athletes in the state in the 400, but her finish on Thursday shaved more than 1.5 seconds off her previous best, giving her the third-best time in the state.
Hanson now sits behind only Santiam Christian senior Rebeka Preston (1:01.94) and Portland Christian freshman Kathryn Nyone (1:02.06) with two meets left before the PacWest championship state qualifier on May 10-11.
Hanson followed the event with a second PR on the day, placing second in the 200 in 28.14 — the top-ranking time in the PacWest Conference this season that has her sitting just outside the state's top 10 3A times.
The two times were among a number of personal bests set by Gervais athletes at the home meet. Senior thrower Alyssa Ventura upped her career-best mark in the discus to 77-07 in a third-place finish in the event, while freshman Lily Welburn added PRs in the shot put (27-03.5) and discus (64-04), finishing seventh and eighth, respectively.
In the running events, Hanson was followed closely in the 200 by fellow freshman Mary Davidson, who clocked a time of 28.80 to place third, while senior Natali Herinckx placed second in the 300 hurdles in 54.74, another new PR.
On the boys side, senior Noel Vasquez led the Cougars with a pair of top-three finishes in the sprints. Vasquez finished third in the 100 in a career-best time of 11.65, beating his previous best by nearly three-quarters of a second to mark his first time under 12 seconds in the event. The time was good enough to vault Vasquez into the top three in the PacWest standings behind state champion contender Evan Rasor of Colton (11.36) and Salem Academy's Wilson McLean (11.37)
Vasquez followed with a second-place finish in the 200 in 24.74, shaving a tenth of a second off his previous best time.
Elsewhere on the track, freshmen Alann Ojeda and Brian Limage finished back-to-back in the 400 with PR-times of 57.94 and 58.14. In the 800, sophomore Fabian Santos placed second in 2:41.00, also a personal best. And in the distance events, freshman Raul Leon picked up two PRs of his own, winning the 3,000 in 11:42.20 and placing second in the 1,500 in 5:18.20.
The Cougars will return to the track this week when they travel to East Linn Christian High School for another PacWest/Tri-River meet on Thursday. Gervais finishes the regular season on May 3 at a West Valley meet in Sheridan, the final event before the PacWest District Championships at Kennedy High School on May 10-11.