Freshman Keys top district winner as Huskies qualify 8 for state

A season that began with “a ton of question marks,” as Sweet Home Track and Field Coach Billy Snow put it, ended with a distinct period and a flourish Saturday as the Huskies sent five boys and three girls to this weekend’s state meet, along with the boys 4×400 relay team.

“We just had a great weekend,” said Snow, who was even more upbeat than usual after watching his young team post PR’s in 48 of 87 events. “In track and field you always have ups and downs. We had a lot more ups than downs.

“Going in, I thought we’d get two kids (to state) for sure – Cassandra (Schumacher) in the 3000, and Dakotah (Keys) in the two hurdles and, most likely, the javelin. Beyond that, it was a crap shoot.”

If jumper Brandon Weist hadn’t been too bothered by a sore foot to compete in his specialty, the triple jump, the Huskies might have taken the boys team title.

As it was, the hosts, Newport, won the boys title with 191 points, followed by Sweet Home (155), Central (152), Philomath (118) and Taft (27).

“With a healthy Brandon and a few more things going our way, we might have been able to make a little noise here,” Snow said.

On the girls side, Newport finished first with 224 points after forfeiting points for running a distance runner in three events, which is against OSAA rules.

Philomath, a big winner on Saturday, finished with 204.5, followed by Central (117), Sweet Home (75.5) and Taft (18).

“On the girls side, we did not have enough depth,” Snow said. “We needed more bodies out there. If we could have cloned each of our kids, we could have doubled our score.”

State qualifiers for the boys were:

– Freshman Dakotah Keys, who won’t be much of a secret any more after qualifying in the 110 and 300 hurdles and in the javelin, winning the district championship in all three events.

“We’ve asked a lot of Dakotah,” Snow said. “He’s a talented kid. He was more than willing to give up the pole vault to run the first leg of the 4×400.”

– Junior Land Florek in the 400, won the district title. The boys 4×400 team then qualified when Florek, who has been bothered by a sore leg late in the season, streaked by a Philomath competitor on the anchor leg to give the Huskies second place in 3:34.89 after legs by Keys, Rob Callagan and Ramiro Santana.

– Senior Jess Keys in the high jump, also winning a district title, with a personal best of 6-00 and just missing at 6-2. Keys had a big day Friday, taking first place in the high jump with a season’s best leap of 6-0, and, Snow said, barely missing at 6-2. “He had it at 6-2,” Snow said.

Keys took third in the 3000, but still ran his personal best – by 16 seconds – to finish in 9:37.23, then followed that up Saturday with a 4:27.81 lifetime best in the 1500 for third place in that event. He also placed fourth in the triple jump, bettering his old mark by more than a foot to go 40-00. Snow said one of Keys’ attempts was actually about 42 feet, but he barely scratched on the jump.

– Weist, another senior, made it with a second-place finish in the long jump in 19-04, but that effort, followed by a fifth-place in the high jump (5-6) effectively took him out of the triple jump on Saturday because of his foot injury, Snow said;

– Callagan, a sophomore, won the district title in the 800. Callagan, along with freshman Jessica Snow in the 400, were the two Huskies who ran season’s best times in every meet this season, Billy Snow said.

State qualifiers for the girls were:

– Cassandra Schumacher, who has been the league’s second-fastest 3000 runner all season, iced a return trip to the state meet, for which she qualified last year as a junior, by taking second behind state leader Hayley Belli of Philomath.

– Junior Amanda Basham, who knocked nearly two seconds off her personal best in the 300 intermediate hurdles to finish second in 49.98 in the final. Basham was actually leading the race when she clipped a hurdle and had to chop a step, but recovered enough to snag second place.

– Senior Hannah McClaskey, who stepped up in the shot put and qualified for state with a throw of 33-08, two feet off her season’s best but enough, by 4 inches, to beat Central’s Sara Cole for a trip to Hayward Field.

There were a couple of near-misses for the Huskies, including an eye-popping performance Friday by senior KC Hanscam. Hanscam barely missed qualifying for state in the vault, but bettered his personal record by two feet, leaping 13-00 for third place and just missing the qualifying mark of 13-5 to make the trip to Eugene.

“That was probably the best day Sweet Home vaulters have ever had,” Snow said, noting that sophomore Nikki Smith finished ninth with a jump of 9-0. “(Hanscam) would have won the Valley League meet. We’ve got the number one- and three-ranked vaulters (in the state) in our league. I’ve never had a guy or girl PR by 2 feet. I knew it was coming, from what he’s shown in practice, but it was nice to see him do it.”

Junior Ashley Danielson placed third in the javelin and was running second in the 800, leading the pack through the second quarter in the race behind the leader, Mary Vaughan of Newport, before she had to drop out of the race when a sore hamstring she has been nursing cramped up.

“She would have had third at worst,” Snow said.

The boys posted 31 season’s bests out of 55 attempts. The girls had 17 PR’s in 32 events.

“Any time you can go 50 percent in PR’s, you’re doing good,” Snow said. “Some of those were in the prelims when they didn’t even have to do a PR and when I told them to go a little easier.

“Up and down the line we had kids who weren’t supposed to get to the finals get PR’s and make it.”

Those included Sabra Perry in the girls long jump; Felicia Daggett, who was on the junior varsity last year and who slipped in for eighth place in the shot; Ashley Bertucci, who was sixth in the discus and seventh in the triple jump; Brandon Elliott and Sam Macklin, who both placed in the 100 and 200; sophomore Marc Callagan and junior Marcus Delong, who placed seventh and eighth in the discus; and junior Kelsey Fisher, who placed seventh in the javelin behind teammate Nathan Whitfield in fifth.

Whitfield, a senior, who Snow said was suffering from an arm injury, barely missed a trip to state with a third-place in the shot put finals after finishing second in the prelims.

Junior Ramiro Santana, who had to sit out the start of the season with a leg injury, then was sidelined by illness for a week and a half, was second in the 800 with 200 meters to go but ran out of gas and finished fourth in 2:06.54 behind Philomath’s David Weiner (2:05.54) and Tyler Thomas (2:04.13). It was still a four-second PR over last year for Santana, and he had enough left to help the 4×400 boys team to its state berth.

On the boys side, the team going to state is big on potential for the future. Only Jess Keys and Weist are graduating and if everyone comes back, the Huskies will lose only “50-some” points from their district performance. On the girls side, departing seniors account for “40-some” points, Snow said, but if some promising youngsters from the junior high level turn out for track next spring, the Huskies could be in much better shape than they were this go-around.

“We’ve got a good crew coming back,” Snow said. “At the beginning of the year, there were a ton of question marks. The kids really pulled it together.

“This is what makes track so much fun – to see these kids do it. Sometimes I question my sanity in coaching, but with a group like this, it is really fun.”

Val-Co League State Qualifiers and District Finals Sweet Home Boys Results

(Top two finishers automatically qualify for state)

100 – (1) Bruce Burbank (Newport) 11.27; (2) Eric Phillips (Central) 11.37; (6) Brandon Elliott (SH) 11.94a; (7) Sam Macklin (SH) 11.95a.

200 – (2) Eric Phillips (C) 22.97; (2) Preston Dye (N) 23.43; (3) Land Florek 23.46a; (5) Sam Macklin (SH) 24.32a; (7) Brandon Elliott (SH) 24.52a.

400 – (1) Land Florek (SH) 52.77a; (2) Tim Deptula (C) 63.73.

800 – (1) Robert Callagan (SH) 2:02.57a; (2) Tyler Thomas (P) 2:04.13; (4) Ramiro Santana (SH) 2:06.54a.

1500 – (1) Trever Hoagland (Taft) 4:21.00; (2) Javier Orozco (C) 4:23.81; (3) Jess Keys (SH) 4:27.81a; (9) Aris Somatis (SH) 4:42.90a; (10) Dustin Collman (SH) 4:44.27a.

3000 – (3) Jess Keys 9:37.23a; (6) Aris Somatis 10:15.54a; (8) Byron Sanders 10:24.88a.

110 HH – (1) Dakotah Keys (SH) 15.44a; (2) Bruce Burbank (N) 15.81.

300 IH – (1) Dakotah Keys (SH) 41.43a; (2) Nick Smith (N) 42.60a.

4×100 Relay – (1) Newport 44.68; (2) Central 44.77; (3) Sweet Home 46.10a.

4×400 Relay – (1) Central 3:33.82; (2) Sweet Home 3:34.89a; (3) Philomath 3:35.47a.

Shot Put – (1) Kameron Ross (N) 52-03; (2) Marcus Duellar (C) 46-00; (3) Nathan Whitfield (SH) 43-05 1/4; (5) Marc Callagan (SH) 41-10 1/4; (9) Marcus Delong (SH) 36-07.

Discus – (6) Marc Callagan 105-08; (8) Marcus Delong 100-10.

Javelin – (1) Dakotah Keys (SH) 173-06; (2) Todd Miesen (N) 156-08; (5) Nathan Whitfield (SH) 146-01; (7) Kelsey Fisher (SH) 138-04.

High Jump – (1) Jess Keys 6-00; (2) Brad Coupchiak (P) 5-10; (5) Brandon Weist 5-06; (9) Robert Callagan 5-01 1/2.

Pole Vault – (3) KC Hanscam 13-00; (9) Nikki Smith 9-00.

Long Jump – (1) (2) Brandon Weist 19-04 1/2.

Triple Jump – (1) Bruce Burbank (N) 43-03; (2) Steven Pond (C) 42-00; (4) Jess Keys (SH) 40-00; (9) KC Hanscam (SH) 36-00.

Val-Co League State Qualifiers and District Finals Sweet Home Girls Results

(Top two finishers automatically qualify for state)

100 – (1) Jordan Kennedy (N) 13.20a; (2) Karryn Kimball (N) 13.55a; (6) Natasha Perry (SH) 14.39a.

200 – (1) Barry McLaren (P) 27.21a; (22) Calida Danko (P) 27.72a; (8) Natasha Perry (SH) 30.06a.

400 – (1) Barry McLaren (P) 1:00.48a; (2) Jordan Kennedy (N) 1:00.81a; (6) Jessica Snow (SH) 1:06.75a.

800 – (1) Mary Vaughan (N) 2:28.31a; (2) Yessi Alvarado (P) 2:30.00a. 1500 – (1) Hayley Belli (P) 4:58.83a; (2) Mary Vaughan 5:19.23a; (3) Cassandra Schumacher (SH) 5:22.53a; (9) Jill Mahler (SH) 5:47.98a.

3000 – (1) Hayley Belli (Philomath) 11:00.38; (2) Cassandra Schumacher (SH) 11:26.96a.

100 HH – (1) Helena Riddell (C) 16.76a; (2) Whitney Line (N) 17.01a.

300 LH – (1) Taylor Patterson (P) 48.18a; (2) Amanda Basham (SH) 49.98a.

4×100 Relay – (1) Newport 52.34a; (2) Philomath 52.76a; (3) Central 53.78a; (4) Sweet Home 55.80a.

4×400 Relay – (1) Newport 4:08.13; (2) Philomath 4:14.21; (3) Central 4:23.88; (4) Sweet Home 4:37.56a.

Shot Put – (1) Krystle Forester (Newport) 35-11.25; (2) Hannah McClaskey (SH) 33-08; (8) Felecia Daggett 25-01 3/4.

Discus – (1) Sara Cole (C) 110-09; (2) Erin Labasan (T) 102-06; (4) Hannah McClaskey (SH) 96-10; (6) Ashley Bertucci (SH) 85-10.

Javelin – (1) Sara Cole (Central) 131-04; (2) Krystle Forester (N) 119-02; (3) Ashley Danielson (SH) 106-06; (4) Hannah McClaskey (SH) 105-02.

Pole Vault – (1) Hollie Doyle (N) 9-06; (2) Mary Vaughan (N) 9-00; (4) Erika Snow (SH) 8-00.

Long Jump – (1) Barry McLaren (P) 15-01; (2) Micaela Danko (P) 14-03 3/4; (7) Sabra Perry (SH) 13-06 1/2,

Triple Jump – (1) Morgan O’Donnell (N) 31-04; (2) Micaela Danko (P) 30-10; (7) Ashley Bertucci (SH) 29-03; (9) Erika Snow (SH) 27-07.