Records fall for North Marion track program
The North Marion track and field program has packed plenty of highlights into the shortened 2021 season. A week after Tyler Manning improved on his own school record in the javelin, fellow senior Danielle Christenson put her name in history books by setting the new North Marion girls pole vault record of 8-foot 1-inch at the Huskies' home meet against Estacada on May 5.
"She wanted to make it to the main event this year and her goal was to go after that school record," head coach Ryan Sederstrom said. "She's been practicing that for the past couple of weeks, and it being a short season, we knew it would be tough to get as much practice time as we could to do that."
It was a career day for Christenson, who set three new personal records and won four events against the visiting Rangers.
Heading into the meet, Christenson was already knocking on the door of the school's pole vault record of 8-feet, which was set in 1996 by Mary Engles. The senior opened the season by setting a PR with a height of 7-0 at home on April 21, and matched that two days later at the Huskies' Twilight Meet.
Christenson upped her mark on April 28 with a height of 7-6, setting the stage for her school record performance against Estacada.
After winning the event with a height of 7-6, Christenson attempted to set her new PR at 7-9, having barely missed the week prior.
The second time was the charm, as Christenson cleared the height to pull within three inches of Engles' 25-year old record. With another three attempts to use, Christenson opted to set the standards at 8-1 to beat Engles rather than tie the record.
Elsewhere on the track, Christenson won the long jump with a mark of 13-11, added a quarter inch on her PR, and added another personal best with a first-place mark of 30-4.5 in the triple jump.
Christenson was half a foot shy of her PR in the discus, but her throw of 80-4.5 was good enough for first place in the event.
Junior Dominique Huapeo joined Christenson in the winner's circle with a PR time of 2:45.34 in the 800-meters.
On the boys side, Manning added his fourth victory of the season in the javelin with a throw of 159-05. Manning came into the season owning the school mark in the event when he placed second at the 4A state championship in 2019 with a throw of 173-07. After flirting with the mark in the first two meets of the season, Manning eclipsed his record on April 28 with a new PR of 177-06.5 at Madras.
Manning was joined by a team of Huskies who helped North Marion nearly sweep the field events against Estacada.
"Not having last season to build off of his second state performance was a killer blow mentally for him," Sederstrom said. "So this year, just kind of getting back to the basic trainings. He's been working in the off season, but as you know, we weren't sure if he was going to have a track season and it was realy hard on the kids."
Manning is part of a contingent of seniors who entered North Marion High School the same season Sederstrom and his staff took over the track program, and the group has been working to make the Huskies just as competitive as their baseball, basketball and soccer counterparts.
"Four years ago when this group of seniors was freshmen, this group decided they were going to change the program around and stick together," Sederstrom said. "We have eight seniors this year that have been together for four years now. 10 total seniors – two more have come on. That crew just set the precedent for how the track program is going to go."
In addition to Manning, the Huskies feature sprinters Kaden and Bryce Anderson and jumpers Parker Barton and Martin Pacheco.
As new teammates joined the program in the classes that followed, the senior class welcomed the new student athletes such as sophomore thrower and jumper Ty Bettinger, junior jumper Tony Lewis, junior pole vaulter Caedyn Laninga and freshmen distance runners Ayden Flanagan and Eli Gonzalez.
"We're competing individually, but at the end of the day, we're a team," Sederstrom said. "These guys are just – all of them – from the girls and guys side, have taken that to heart. They're encouraging each other. It's awesome to see the camaraderie."
Lewis set a new personal mark in the triple jump with a first place leap of 40-05 — his first time eclipsing the 40-foot barrier.
Bettinger needed every inch of his 17-03 leap in the long jump, winning the event by just a half inch over the Rangers' Lewis Bever and an inch further than teammate Parker Barton.
But Barton was able to snag his own victory in the high jump, clearing 5-06 to take the event for the Huskies.
Laninga set his own PR in the pole vault with a winning height of 10-03 to round out the Huskies' field event victories.
On the track, North Marion made a clean sweep of the events, led by first-place victories by Kaden Anderson in the 100 (11.65) and the 200 (23.77). Bryce Anderson added a PR-time of 53.15 to win the 400, and Mitch Doubrava claimed the 800 with a finish in 2:26.42.
Flanagan took first in the 1500 in 5:06.28 and Gonzalez scored a PR in the 3000 with a first-place time of 11:04.49.
Laninga won the 110 hurdles in 19.13, and North Marion's two relay teams each won the 4x100 and 4x400 events.
Following a week off of competition, the Huskies travel to Madras High School on Friday and Saturday to compete in the Tri-Valley Conference championship.
The top qualifiers at the district meet will then move on to the 4A state championship on May 21-22 at Siuslaw High School.
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