MORO – Saturday marked a historic moment for the Dufur boys and girls track teams.
Both groups captured Big Sky Conference championships in the same season, a first for the girls since 1999, while the boys last accomplished their title feat in 2007.
“The boys have a lot of seniors and upperclassmen that really work hard and set the example, week-in and week-out, so to top it off like this going into state is a big momentum swing,” said senior Cole Kortge. “All year, the girls have worked harder than anybody in the state or our league. They have performed very well, and I am very proud of them. I think last year they had three girls. They didn’t even have enough for a relay team, so to see the level of talent here accomplishing so much is super cool.”
Earlier this season, the 4x100-meter relay quartet broke a 26-year-old record and then broke it again on May 3 in Regis.
Asa Farrell added to the record-setting performances with a personal-record and district-runner-up leap of 21-feet-1.5-inches, breaking the old long jump record set in 2006 by Brandon Pullen (20-11.25).
Farrell placed first in the 100-meter race after a final time of 11.24 seconds, placing ahead of Tanner Masterson (11.39, a season-best) and Kortge (11.62), which gave all three state spots.
Friedrich Stelzer came out on top in the 1,500 (4:19.88) and 3,000 (10:18.91), and Kortge tacked on victories in the 110-meter (16.54) and 300-meter hurdles (44.13), both personal records.
Without Abraham Kilby, who tweaked his hamstring during warmups, the 4x100-meter relay team added Anthony Thomas to the trio of Kortge, Masterson and Farrell, and they combined for a 44.23 to take first place, just missing out on their school-record (44.01).
“It was amazing that he came in and did what he did,” Masterson said of Thomas. “We all expect high things from him. He was on our state-winning team last year, so I expected him to come out and run the way he always does to help us win a race. He did a great job of coming in and getting us to the top.”
In the 200, Farrell put up a personal-best 23.33 to notch top honors and Masterson was runner-up (23.38), and 4x400-meter relay quartet of Masterson, Thomas, Stelzer and Derek Frakes worked a season-best 3:45.41 for second place.
Thomas claimed second place in the 400 (53.93, a season best), and Kilby earned fourth place and a state wild card spot in the javelin, where he set a season-best distance of 146-10.
Dufur secured first place with its 139-point effort, beating out Horizon Christian (133) and Sherman (128) in a three-way battle, where one point separated all three teams through 15 of the 17 events.
Having several athletes in sprints, long-distance races and relays gives Kortge reason to believe the Rangers can make some noise.
“I am really excited,” Kortge said. “I have been dreaming about going to state and doing something big for a long time. Now that we got all these boys, we have a real shot at bringing home some hardware. No team from Dufur has ever done that before. That would be really cool.”
The Lady Rangers racked up 11 personal records, won four events and posted 14 top-5 finishes to get 107 points and a district title over Griswold (103), Condon-Wheeler (89) and Ione (80).
In eight meets leading up to district action, Dufur sophomore Kierstin White had run twice in the 100 and four times in the 200 and posted solid numbers.
Saturday, she shattered personal records in the 100 (13.47) and 200 (28.69) for first place in both events and added second place in the high jump (4-8).
“It was super-exciting. I did not expect that to happen,” White said. “I think it was definitely something that shocked myself, my family and my team a little bit. It was a great feeling to win those races and set new personal records.”
The 4x100-meter relay squad comprised of Emily Crawford, Abby Beal, Aleksei Uhalde and Kayla Bailey reeled off first place with a season-best 53.90, and Beal was first in the long jump after a personal-best 15-7.75.
Last year, White qualified for state in the high jump and now she gets her opportunity to take on the top 1A athletes in three events.
“I think the biggest difference this year is having the support from so many people and my coaches,” White said. “They helped give me the drive to do better than I did last year and to help the team as much as I can. So, that was really a big thing that has pushed me this year.”
The two-day state meet takes place Friday and Saturday on the campus of Western Oregon University in Monmouth.
MORO – Facing long odds against two of the top long relay teams in the league, Dufur and Horizon Christian, the Sherman Huskies foursome of Gill Witherspoon, Jed Harrison, Jeremy Ballesteros and Luke Martin set a season-best mark of three minutes and 44.74 seconds to take first place at the Big Sky Conference Championships Saturday in Moro.
“We have all gotten better in every meet as a 4x4 team and have had some very good times,” Martin said. “I was on the final leg and I told them to just give me a chance and by the time I get the baton, I will take us to the Promised Land. I tell you what, those three guys, Gill, Jed and Jeremy did an awesome job and gave me a chance and I got it done.”
Christiansen picked up wins in the long jump (21-feet-2-inches) and triple jump (42-0.25), Martin won the 400 (52.09, a personal record) and Tyler Jones tacked on a javelin victory with a personal-best throw of 164-0.5.
Keenan Coles is headed to state in the long jump (19-9, a season best) and triple jump (40-1, a personal record), Jones placed second in the discus (115-11), and Martin was runner-up in the high jump (6-0).
In the 4x100-meter relay, Christiansen, Ballesteros, Martin and Coles teamed up for a season-best 45.23 to lock down second place and a state berth.
Sherman scored 128 points for third place in the 11-team field.
The Sherman girls got a win and a second out of Mercedez Cardona, and seconds from Desiree Winslow and Melanie Ponke to notch 49 points and a tie for sixth in the 12-team standings.
Cardona had a personal-best 4-feet-11-inch leap in the high jump for her top finish and the sophomore qualified for state in the 100 (13.61 seconds).
Ponke, a freshman, broke her personal record in the triple jump (29-7), where she earned second place, and Winslow had a runner-up height of 7-6 in the pole vault.
Winslow, who plans to compete in track at Willamette University, has dealt with various injuries in her senior campaign, which limited the number of events entered.
“It has been a really hard season for me because I have been out for the last three weeks due to hamstring and groin injuries and my recovery is still ongoing,” Winslow said. “I’m not fully recovered yet and it affects me when I do the pole vault. It has been tough on me, mental-wise, but it has also built me up. It is hard at times, but I know that I need to fight through it to be successful.”
By extending their season an extra week going to state, Martin wants the team to appreciate the opportunity they have.
“Not only is this the last chance for the seniors, these younger athletes need to appreciate this, because nothing is given,” Martin said. “We have been preaching it to them. They know that they may not be back next year, so it is important for them not to take anything for granted. We will leave it all on the line and try to get podium in as many events as possible.”
MORO – Defending javelin state champion Madisen Davis gets a final shot at reclaiming her spot atop the 1A rankings.
Davis had a top toss of 125-feet-5.5-inches for first place, teammate Abbie Silvey won the discus with her personal-best 97-10, and five others had personal bests in SWC’s 49-point effort to notch a tie for sixth place at the Big Sky Conference Track and field Championships Saturday in Moro.
In 2018, Davis had a personal-record toss of 131-6 in the javelin and she broke that on April 9 in The Dalles (133-3).
It will not be easy to reclaim her title, but the South Wasco County senior is ready for anything and everything at the state level.
“At state, we all know that anything can happen and that anybody can throw anything, so I’m going in with the mindset of going out there and executing my form as best as I can,” Davis said. “State is such an awesome opportunity and I am looking forward to one last year of defending my title. If I come out with the best throw, then so be it.”
On the boys side, freshman Oscar Thomas rattled off a third-place throw of 148-5 and earned a state berth as a wild card.
A little more than five-feet from the No. 5-ranked javelin participant, Thomas is well within reach of earning a podium spot in his first year of high school competition.
“Well, a lot of people didn’t believe I could make it to state as a freshman, so that pushed me more and made me want it even more,” Thomas said. “Originally, my goal was to beat my brother, Michael (Cuevas), and his record in javelin. I saw the opportunity of getting to state, so I put in the work that needed done to get me there.”
MORO – The Horizon Christian boys totaled 133 points for second place and the girls posted 75 points to grab fifth place at Saturday’s Big Sky Conference Track and field Championships.
Andrew Wells had a discus win with his distance measured at 121-feet-10-inches, and teammate Kyle Brown was victorious in the pole vault after his 10-1.
Senior Alex Petshow claimed second place in the javelin (150-1), Wells added a personal-record 41-8.75 for second place in the shotput.
Rounding out the state qualifiers, Alec Coats took home fourth place in the 100 (11.66), but had a good enough time to chalk up a state wild card berth.
The HCS girls were led by Marena Decker, who had a first in the shotput (32-4, a personal record) and Valerie Bruggeman took home first place in the pole vault (9-0, a personal record).
Grace Schreiber was best in the 300-meter hurdles with her final mark of 52.91, a personal record and she also had a personal-best 18.24 for third place in the 100-meter hurdles, which vaulted her to a wild card slot.
Senior Kaitlin Wenz secured second place in the long jump (15-2.75) and she joined forces with Schreiber, Gus Decker and Bruggeman in the 4x400-meter relay, where they posted a second-place mark of 4:43.92.