Moro South Wasco County sophomore Loreto Morelli has been put through the mill this spring season with nagging leg injuries hampering his overall progression.
He still had it in his mind that nothing was going to keep him from competing in Saturday’s Big Sky Track and Field district meet in Moro.
“It has been super-frustrating because I would have liked to have seen how I would have done without a pulled muscle,” said Morelli. “I was glad this injury was not a season-ending deal like that, so it feels good to do as well as I did.”
Morelli fought tooth-and-nail with Mitchell’s Brett Domenighini in the 400-meter run, but the Mitchell sophomore stopped the watch in 53.55 seconds, just ahead of Morelli, who secured a state berth with his tally of 53.65.
Given all the obstacles thrown his way, Morelli expressed surprise that he had enough in the tank to earn a second consecutive state trip.
“Today is actually the first day that my leg hasn’t hurt after running a race, so we will see if I can go at state. I am hoping so, but I don’t know yet,” Morelli added. “It is going to be really cool just being in Eugene though, because that is where they have the Olympic Trials and everything, so it will be really fun to be part of that experience.”
In that same 400-meter race, freshman Travis Hayes ended up fourth at 56.34 to be edged out for a berth, and sophomore teammate Colton Nannini was edged out in the 800, where he had a solid time of two minutes and 14 seconds, but wound up .37 seconds out behind Sherman’s second place finisher, Tanner Sandquist (2:13.63).
An hour before the start of the 4x400-meter relay, Hayes expressed anticipation as to how his mates would fare in a highly contested matchup.
The Redside quartet of Devan Dammann, Colby Crowell, Clyde Sinclair and Colton Nannini blasted the field of six schools with a final time of 3:49.43, a tally 1.49 ahead of Ione (3:50.92).
In the shotput, freshman Ellis Rager set his good marks in the shotput with a throw of 35-02.5, Terrance Conley added a 31-10.5 and Logan Wraught was good enough for a 27-01.5.
Crowell nearly made it to state in the discus where he slugged out a throw of 119-09, but he was less than a foot behind Arlington’s Ryan Blankenship (120-07). In the same event, Ryan Garrison had decent first showing with a toss of 60-04.
Crowell ended up sixth in the javelin (136-01), Brody Myers had a long jump of 15-09.5 and Shawn Hardy-Lester ended up in 18th place with his long jump of 13-04.
Hayes had a 36-07 in the triple jump, Rager (34-10) and Myers (34-8) finished eight and ninth respectively to round out the Redside finishers.
The Redsides 43 points to end up in sixth place and the girls had a solid effort overall to notch 48 points for fifth place in the standings.
As a whole, Morelli scanned the entire group and expressed his excitement.
“It has been really cool just to see the improvements from Day 1 until now. It has been huge,” he said of the team’s effort. “With the hard work that our team has put in, I think everyone deserve everything they have been getting and going to state.”
Condon-Wheeler had a score of 99 points to grab a second consecutive Big Sky crown and Sherman picked up 87 points for second place.
Ione (73), Griswold (62), SWC (48) Horizon (40), Spray (33), Dufur (29), Arlington (26), Mitchell (10) and Echo (8) rounded out the standings.
Condon-Wheeler is sending seven individuals to state along with the 4x400-meter relay team.
Tatum Hahn hoisted district gold in the 800, and teammates Joy Kelly, Katherine Popchock and the 4x400-meter relay team of Hahn, Kelly, Popchock and Paris McCartney worked a 4:48.30 split to end up in second place to get into the state mix.
Hahn faced a field of nine in her 800-meter event and she crossed the tape in 2:38.45 in her first district track meet.
Kelly had an effective time of 12:27.03 in the 3,000 to punch her ticket and Popchock had distance of 8-03 in the pole vault to earn a trip.
Popchock almost had a slot in the triple jump with a 32-01.50, but she fell .50 feet behind Sherman’s Samantha Coons.
Hahn had the same fate as Popchock in her attempt at 400-meters, where she had a marker of 1:07.25 to end up third, 58 ticks behind Horizon’s Marlie Bloomster (1:06.67).
McCartney added a seventh in javelin at 80-01 and she had a leap of 12-04 for 10th place in the long jump.
For this long list of Redsides, it is a great chance to put South Wasco County on the map.
They owe it all to the coaching staff.
“That has been really big because they have been very patient with everyone and that has been good for us,” Morelli said. “It has been nice to have that around. I think we can go out there and represent our school very well.”