Gervais sophomore Katie Hanson was not happy with her ninth-place triple-jump performance during the Class 2A girls state track and field championships Saturday, so she channeled her anger into the next event.
Hanson turned on the speed to the tune of a personal-best 58.8-second 400-meter run to earn a state title before a spirited McArthur Field crowd at Western Oregon State University.
"I was thinking that if I get mad, I will make up for (the triple jump)," Hanson said. "Coach tells me to get mad and make up for it. That's what I did, and it pushed me to win."
Hanson said she wanted to be in the top three going into the event. But as the finish quickly drew closer with each stride, her aim drew more sharply focused on the top spot.
Hanson said the distance between her and second place finisher McKenzie Probst of Oakridge evened out at the final turn, and that's where she wanted to be.
"We were even at the corner...and near the finish line I could see her in the corner of my eye."
Coming into the state meet, Hanson had never finished the 400 in under one minute at a regulation meet, but she apparently liked the WOU facilities. Her PR title time eclipsed her previous PR set in the prelims a day earlier, where she finished with the top qualifying time of 59.72.
Hanson's final event of the day was a fourth-place state finish in the 800, finishing 2:30.30 less than an hour after winning her title in the 400.
"I was running on tired legs (in the 800), so I'm happy with that," she said. "I'm very pleased with the way the end of track season finished up."
Hanson's father said her time is a tenth of a second from school record that dates back to the 70s.
Hanson and the Cougars opened the second day of the meet with a fifth-place finish in the 4x100 relay, where she and teammates Dalia Kozina, Ashley Marin Vallejo and Mary Davidson set a season-best time of 52.36, beating out the Kennedy team they had lost to in the district championships by 0.11 seconds.
Together, the Gervais girls team scored 19 points to finish 13th overall in their first championship meet as a 2A team since moving out of the 3A classification beginning this year.
But the Gervais girls weren't the school's only representatives to earn a place on the podium Saturday. Not long after Hanson celebrated her state title in the 400, fellow sophomore Brian Limage earned his own hardware in the event, placing third overall in the boys 400 race with a PR-time of 51.31.
Limage entered the season as a relatively unknown competitor in the event, but turned himself into a championship contender over the course of the season. The Gervais runner concluded his freshman season a year ago with a sixth-place finish in districts with a time of 56.06.
He opened his sophomore season with a 54.39 PR at Jefferson High School, the first of six personal best times he set throughout the spring as he gradually worked himself into the conversation of the top 2A runners in the event.
Limage claimed a district title in the 400 with a then-PR of 51.75 on May 11, and nearly matched that time with a 51.92 lap in the preliminary race at state on Friday.
In the finals, Limage shaved nearly half a second off his PR, finishing behind state champion senior Tyson Brasfield of Lowell (50.63) and junior Foster Hobbs of Enterprise (50.81).
Limage's third-place finish netted him six points, placing the Gervais boys in a five-way tie for 26th place in final team standings.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.