Four Huskies leave state track with six medals, near miss

Scott Swanson

Tristan Calkins won the 4A state championship in the long jump, but his most dramatic moment came at the finish line in the state 200 meter final on Saturday, May 22, at Siuslaw High School in Florence.

Calkins and Hidden Valley’s Jeremiah Noga, who is headed to Oregon State University on a football scholarship and had earlier won the 400 by nearly two seconds, came around the curve into home stretch with Noga in the lead. Calkins said later that he got slow starts in both the 200 and 100 “coming out of the blocks, because I’m such a tall guy, and we’ve had a short season. Not much block work and all that.”

But Calkins started running Noga down in the final 100 meters and they plunged across the line together, ahead of the rest of the field, in what the clock indicated was a dead tie – 22.47 each.

An officials’ review gave the victory to Noga, clocking him in 22.463 seconds, with Calkins three-thousandths of a second behind in 22.467.

“I was at the end of the race and when I looked back, a flag was actually blocking the times, so I just saw his name (above Calkins’), so I was a little disappointed,” Calkins said. “And then I heard somebody from the crowd yell, ‘You tied,’ and then I moved over a little bit and saw that the times were the same. It’s crazy.'”

He was gracious, despite ending up with the second-place medal.

“It was well-deserved on his part. He ran a race.”

Calkins, a senior, who also finished third in the 100, was one of four Huskies who medaled at the meet: senior Jessy Hart in the 200 and 400; senior Shelbey Nichol in the shot put; and sophomore Mason Lopez in the javelin.

“They all did great,” said first-year Head Coach Nathan Whitfield. “This weekend, everyone placed in an event, at least one. Most of them placed in all their events. You can’t really ask for much more than that.

Hart was second in the 400 and fifth in the 200, and Nichol was seventh in the shot for the girls.

Lopez was sixth in the javelin.

“You always hope for more, but I was really happy with what we got today and yesterday.”

The Husky boys finished 11th overall, with 26 points, behind Newport which placed second with 52 points – behind Hidden Valley (77), Philomath in fourth (46.5), Sisters in fifth (40), and Cascade in seventh (37).

The girls were 19th with 14 points, as Hidden Valley’s girls also won the state title (82 points), followed by Siuslaw in second (50), Cascade in fourth (43), Sisters sixth (33), Philomath eighth (32), and Newport 16th (18).

Calkins ran 11.39 to place third in the 100 behind Cascade’s Ashton Williams (11.19) and Mazama’s Brandon Gailey (11.21).

“My goal in the 100 was third place, which I got,” he said. “I came in ranked fourth, so I improved by one place.”

In the long jump on Friday, Calkins’ first jump of 22-05 was enough to qualify him for the final, as he scratched his next two attempts. But in the finals he was consistently over 22 feet on all three jumps – 22-4, 22-8, 22-0, his fifth a personal best.

“It was crazy competition because everybody was PR-ing,” he said. “The energy was really good.

“For me, personally, there were a lot of nerves in the long jump because I was ranked first in Oregon so there was a lot of pressure. But everybody was just in a good mood and that made competing just that much easier and everybody was PR-ing and one guy, got a PR I think over like two feet.

Calkins, who placed second in the long jump as a sophomore and who spent considerable time and effort working out during the COVID shutdown on his own, said he “just jumped better and better, and I did a lifetime PR. So it was a good. A lot of hard work put into it paid off.”

Hart, who finished seventh in the 400 at state as a sophomore, had only run the race three times this season coming into the preliminaries on Friday.

Her second-place finish, behind Hidden Valley’s Jada Hurley (59.70), who won all three individual sprints, was timed in an even minute flat – 1:00.00, which not quite what she was aiming for, she said, since she was looking to break a minute.

“I wish I had cut, like, .01 off my time, Hart said. “But that was as close to my goal as I could get so I’m happy.

“I felt really prepared and going in. I really feel like I could have just gone like a little bit faster. So I’m kind of disappointed about that. But I am really happy with my time being that close.”

Hart finished fifth in the 200 in 26.78, a personal best for her. Hidden Valley’s Hurley was first (25.45), followed by Cascade’s Emma Gates (25.58).

Hart, who said she plans to run in college, possibly at Western Oregon, said she was “a little tired from my four” when the 200 started.

“I was, like, shaking in my blocks. A little weak going in, but it’s still placing.”

She said the short season didn’t give her a chance to get in the kind of shape she had as a freshman and sophomore, particularly mentally. But that previous experience helped, she said.

” I feel like pretty good actually, just because I’ve had those two years before this. So I know what’s going on.”

Nichol was seventh in the shot with a throw of 34-7, just short of the PR of 35-3 she threw at district She fouled her first attempt on Friday, then made the finals with throws of 33-9, 34-4, and followed that up with a series of 32-8, 34-7, 32-8½.

Things didn’t go as well on Saturday in the triple jump, as she she finished 10th with a leap of 30-4¼ , her only fair jump. Her second and third attempts were scratches. The triple was only her fourth competition in a two-year span in that event. She had jumped over 31 in her two previous outings.

Nichol said she didn’t really feel pressure competing at state, because “district is where all the pressure’s on you, to make it here.”

“I feel like definitely I could have done better, but everybody has their off days,”: she said. “When I got here, I didn’t feel anything. I felt like it was just another track meet for me. But watching the girls throwing was a little intimidating. But at the same time, I was like ‘I can do that.” It was a matter of me actually doing it.

She said she “psyched myself out” in the triple jump.

Lopez was sixth in the javelin with a throw of 149-7, about six feet short of the personal best 153-5 he threw the previous week at the district meet. His series was 122-4, 140-3, 140-1, 133-7, 142-7 and 149-7.

It was his first time at a state track championships, even as a spectator, he said

“It was super cool,” he saiD. ” I was super excited to come. It was really cool watching everyone, like, do everything.”

He said he felt the meet went “pretty good” for him.

“It was a tough competition. The other guys are doing pretty good. So it made me like go harder.”

One that did very well was North Marion senior Tyler Manning, who came in seeded seventh. Manning posted a 14-foot PR to win with a throw of 182-6.

Riding that vibe, Lopez said he “ended up doing pretty good.”

“It wasn’t a PR. I threw 149 but I just think I could do a lot better in the future.”