Eight Huskies compete at state meet

Sweet Home sent eight athletes to the state track and field meet this weekend at Hayward Field in Eugene.

For all eight athletes, this was their first trip to the state meet as competitors. None of the kids was seeded very high and only one, Jared Allen in the 300M hurdles, was expected to place (8th) according to the form charts published by the Eugene Register Guard.

We felt that our kids could compete for a place in virtually every event if they could just hit out near they current PR.

They really didn’t have to do anything superhuman or special, just compete. But at the state meet, the atmosphere is so different than anything these kids have experienced that it is hard to control their emotions and nerves. Add to that a very long day on day one and it is tough even for seasoned vets.

We had goals for our kids to try and get to the finals or to their PR and then see what would happen.


Our first event was Nicole Burnside in the shot put. Nicole’s first put was a line drive out to about 35 feet but on her second attempt, she settled down and got some height on the shot. It soared out to 37 plus and she ended up winning her flight.

In the second flight, some of the girls faltered and by the end of the comp, Nicole had finished seventh overall after not being expected to place. Nicole’s final best put of the day was a PR by about a foot. Nicole finishes as the #7 girl shot putter in school history for Sweet Home.

It was very satisfying to see Nicole go out on such a positive note after she missed a trip to state twice last year by one place.

It was interesting to note that our three seniors were the ones who had the best meet in terms of places and PRs. Those three, Nicole Burnside, Jared Allen and Keegan Burnett, did a great job of taking care of business and going out on a great note.

Rachel Gaskey qualified in the discus and earned her first trip to state. Rachel had to wait until last Saturday to throw. Her best throw of the day was 90-03 and that placed her 13th so she did not get to the finals. Had she been able to duplicate her PR of 111-04 she would have made it to finals. Rachel had a great season in a very tough league and will return as one of the top throwers in our league next year. With a state experience under her belt now, Rachel is already looking towards next year and bettering her finish.

Our two girls ended up at 38th, tied with Astoria with two points. Henley won the girls meet with 65.5 points followed by Sisters at 58, The Dalles at 47, and Newport with 35 points.


Our second senior Keegan Burnett was up early Friday in the pole vault. Going in we thought that this event was fairly wide open and that whoever was on and PRed would be in the mix for the top spots.

That turned out true with one exception. Keegan opened at 12 feet and made that easily. He picked up a miss at 12-06 before clearing that height, then made 13-00 on his first attempt.

After that, Keegan did not have any real good tries at 13-03. After going out he had to wait as others passed and then tried 13-06. Based on misses, Keegan ended up tied for 7th. The vault was won by Zeb McGarrell of Central at 14-06.

Keegan has become a good vaulter and leaves Sweet Home as the #5 vaulter in school history. Keegan also keeps up the tradition that any Sweet Home vaulter that has made it to the state meet has placed.

Also on Friday, we had three guys running on the track. First up was frosh Ryan Garrett in the 800M prelims. We knew going in that Ryan making the finals was a bit of a long shot and that he would have to run below his PR of 2.04 to get there.

Perhaps nerves or adrenaline took over but Ryan took off too hard in the first 100M and that ended up taking a bit of the snap out of his legs by the end. He settled in and ran the next 600M much better and was in position to go at the top of the home stretch.

However, the snap was just not there in his legs and Ryan came through in 2.06.46a finishing 7th in his heat, 14th overall. Ryan was the only freshman in the field and that bodes well for his future. As Ryan matures physically and mentally as an athlete, he will get a whole lot better. His season PR puts him as the #1 frosh in school history.

Our second guys on the track was senior Jared Allen in the 300M hurdles. Jared was ranked 8th coming in and we figured he should make finals, even with a lousy lane assignment on the outside.

Jared was nervous and went out a bit tentative for the first three hurdles. However on the corner he got moving and came through the line in a season PR of 41.51a which was the 7th fastest time in the prelims. That earned him lane one in the finals on Saturday.

With lane one, Jared had the rest of the runners out in front of him and he likes that set up. In Saturday’s finals, Jared went out much better and had a technically good race. His finals time of 41.20a was another lifetime PR and put him fifth. Again, like Nicole and Keegan, Jared finished up running his best ever in his last race and it was great to see him go out on such a high note.

Our other competitor on the track on Friday was John Lovik in the 3000M. John came in as the 10th seed and that’s exactly how he ended up. John had to wait until late in the day Friday to run and that is not normally how he has to prepare for a race.

John ran a solid race and was just off his season PR by about two seconds. John’s final time was 9.26.63a.

There was only one frosh and one sophomore ahead of John in the race so like Ryan, with another year under his belt, John will be a force in the state in this event over the next two years.

On Saturday, we also had two field event finals. In the first, Matt Slauson