Cougars' 4x100 relay team edges past Kennedy in a district championship preview

PMG PHOTO: PHIL HAWKINS - Sophomore Mary Davidson receives the baton handoff from teammate Judith Santos in the Cougars 4x100-meter victory at Gervais home meet on Thursday.With only one home track meet on the schedule this year, the Gervais girls track and field team did its best to defend the home turf last week, finishing second out of five teams at the Cougars' Special District 2 League meet on Thursday.

Led by victories in four events and a number of top three performances throughout the meet, the Gervais girls scored 78 points to finish behind the meet champion Kennedy Trojans (139.5) and ahead of Regis (41), Chemawa (19.5) and Sheridan (19).

While the Trojans took home the meet victory, the Cougars picked up big win in the 4x100 relay, edging out the Kennedy team by a half step at the finish line in a race between two state qualifiers from a year ago.

The Cougars return all four members of last year's short relay team — Katie Hanson, Mary Davidson, Judith Santos and Ashley Marin Vallejo — that placed 10th at the 3A state meet.

The Trojans, in turn, feature three returning sprinters — Emma Beyer, Clarissa Traeger and Hallie Sprauer — from their relay team that placed fifth at the 2A level last year. Kennedy's fourth, Caitlyn Perez, is filling in for the injured Hailey Arritola, who broke her toe at the end of the winter basketball season.

While the two teams were on separate sides of the classification barrier a year ago, this season they'll be vying for a berth to the state meet against each other, and Gervais struck the first blow on Thursday.

With both teams neck-and-neck coming into the final handoff, Davidson was able to hold off Sprauer down the 100-meter stretch to cross the finish line in 55.64 seconds, just a tenth of a second ahead of Kennedy at 55.74.

It was the first of four victories on the day for Gervais, all of which featured either Hanson or Davidson, continuing their strong start to the season.

Hanson made her first appearance in the 100-meter dash of her high school career, winning the event with a time of 12.94 seconds to beat out runner up Mikayla Boekhoff of Sheridan by a tenth of a second.

Hanson added a win in the triple jump, beating out Kennedy's Sophia Rodriguez by three inches with a mark of 31-00, while placing second in the long jump with a mark of 14-10, just two inches behind Sprauer.

PMG PHOTO: PHIL HAWKINS - Gervais sophomore Araceli Vasquez placed second in the javelin with a mark of 96-01 in a duel with Kennedy's Caitlyn Kleinschmit.Davidson added the Cougars' only other win on the day, beating the field in the 200 with a time of 30.94, her second consecutive win in the event, though her slowest of four times she's posted this spring.

Davidson also added a second place finish in the shot put, marking a distance of 27-05.

It was one of three runner-up finishes for the Cougars against the Trojans in the throwing events. In a district qualifying preview, Kennedy senior Caitlyn Kleinschmit and Gervais sophomore Araceli Vasquez matched head-to-head in the javelin competition, where the pair rank as the top two throwers in the Special District 2 standings this season.

With strong cross winds affecting the trajectory of their throws, neither athlete was able to match their previous best this season, but Kleinschmit was able to outduel Vasquez 99-02 to 96-01.

Vallejo and teammate Ana Lezama rounded out the throwers, finishing second and third in the discus with final marks of 74-02 and 68-00, respectively.

Finally, in the middle-distance running events, Santos placed third in the 800 with a time of 3:10.40, while Anessa McCarroll took third in the 1,500 with a personal-record time of 6:44.20.

On the boys side, the Cougars finished fourth overall with 35.5 points, with the meet going to the Regis Rams (99).

The Cougars netted a pair of victories at the meet, led by sophomore Brian Limage, who won the 800 with a time of 2:29.50. It was the first high school win in the event for Limage, who did not race the 800 as a freshman.

Limage added a second-place finish with teammate Auggie Guido, Xaden Ramon and Jeremiah Studer, who all placed second in the 4x100 with a time of 49.44, shaving off more than two seconds from their previous time this season.

Guido added the only other victory for the Gervais boys, beating out Regis' Aidan Quigley in a two-person high jump duel with a winning height of 5-02.

PMG PHOTO: PHIL HAWKINS - Gervais sophomore Anessa McCarroll took third in the 1,500 on Thursday, setting a new personal record with a time of 6:44.20.Elsewhere for the boys, junior Fabian Santos picked up a PR in the 200 with a second-place finish in 25.24, while Ramon led the Cougars in the 100 with a season-best time of 12.64 to place fourth in the event.

Junior Jack Reinwald had the best finish among the Gervais throwers, taking fourth place in the javelin with a final distance of 112-04. Senior Alejandro Contreras placed sixth in the discus with a PR throw of 96-06, while junior Eduardo Cortes led the team in the shot put with a season-best throw of 29-04 to place seventh.

Gervais returns to action this week in a pair of league events when the team travels to East Linn Christian Academy in Lebanon on Thursday before competing at Kennedy on Tuesday.

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