Huskies qualify for state track in 20 events

Scott Swanson

It wasn’t the district title the Huskies have been aiming for, but the Sky-Em league track and field championships last week produced some sterling individual efforts.

Sweet Home finished with 11 district titles, six for the girls, and five for the boys, and a total of 20 qualifiers for the state meet this Friday and Saturday at Hayward Field at the University of Oregon.

“I walked out of there feeling good,” Coach Billy Snow said. “We got everybody through who we thought we would get through. We got everything we wanted, though you always want more.”

The girls finished second as a team to Sisters, which took advantage of its depth and home-field advantage (read: altitude) to outpace the Huskies 189-171 ½. Cottage Grove was third (118), followed by Elmira (74), Junction City (58 ½) and La Pine (45).

With their top sprinter, senior Alex Santana, hobbled by a sore hamstring, the Sweet Home boys didn’t have the firepower they expected to have in the short distances and it showed as they finished third to Cottage Grove (185) and Sisters (137 ½), with 125 ½ points. La Pine was third (84 ½), followed by Junction City (58) and Elmira (57 ½).

District champions for the Sweet Home boys were: Alex Santana in the 100; Nick Hall in the 400 and 300 hurdles; the 4×100 relay team of Santana, Hall, Alex Coakley and Chris Carpenter; and Jake Johnson in the discus.

District titlists for the girls were: Maria Kropf in the 100 and 100 hurdles; freshman Nicole Rasmussen in the 3000; Annie Whitfield in the javelin; Devyn Makin in the long jump; and the 4×100 relay team of Kropf, Makin, Whitfield and Jessika Stewart.

In addition to the district titlists, state qualifiers for the boys were the 4×400 relay team of Coakley, Carpenter, Hall and Joe Stroud; Daniel Danforth in the 3000; and Zach Jackson in the shot put and javelin. Qualifiers for the girls also included Makin in the 100, Carissa Swanson in the 800 and 1500, Olivia Johnson in the 3000; and Kaitlin Keenon in the triple jump.

“We had a few nice surprises,” Snow said. “The mile relay for the boys, and Carissa in the 800 and Kaitlin in the triple jump.”

Makin, who is making her first trip to state in an individual event after being injured last year, said she enjoyed the district competition after a season of hard work.

“The whole meet was exciting,” she said. “It was a good payoff. A lot of it is due to God, actually. I know I coudln’t have done anything without Him.”

The 4×400 relay qualification, in the last event of the meet on Saturday afternoon, came courtesy of anchor Hall, who took the baton from the Huskies’ third runner, Stroud, a good 20 meters behind Elmira’s Denzel DeLeon, who was in second place. Hall accelerated on the back stretch and caught

DeLeon at the 300-meter mark, then held on to win by 5/100 of a second.

“What a race,” Snow said. “You don’t coach heart like that. He was chewing that track up. I was thinking, ‘Wow, when’s he going to die?’”

Hall had to be carried to the medical tent after he cramped up following the run, but Snow said he put Hall in the whirlpool bath after they returned to Sweet Home and “he seems to be OK.”

Hall said when he took the baton “I was thinking whether five gummy worms and a thing of Gatorade was a good idea,” adding that coaches had told him to make sure he had some sugar in his system after a long day.

“I knew I had to get there first and I was going to do anything it took,” he said. “Realistically, I didn’t think I could catch him but when I did I had a little smile on my face. I wanted to see who had the guts to finish first.”

Hall, a junior, was named Male Track Athlete of the Meet prior to his run and Snow said it was warranted.

“To say how dominating his performance was, I did not nominate him,” Snow said. “I was kind of neutral and one of the other coaches, it was the first name he brought up and the rest just said, ‘Oh yeah.’”

Annie Whitfield had a big day on Thursday, the first day of the meet, resetting her own school record in the javelin with a throw of 142-4, bettering her previous best by nearly 5 ½ feet.

Maria Kropf, coming off an injury herself, dominated the girls 100 (12.58) and 100 hurdles, running the state’s best time and a meet record of 14.94, 2/100 of a second off her PR in the latter. She also anchored the girls 4×100 relay team to a win in 49.96. Snow said both the boys and girls excel at the event because they are efficient and have good teamwork.

“We’re sitting No. 2 in both short relays,” he said. “It is impressive to have boys and girls like that. Those four guys were not the fastest out there, but they have chemistry. It’s the same with the girls. We’re quick but they’re good.”

Santana, who anchored the boys, ran with a sore hamstring and didn’t finish the 200 in an effort to avoid re-injuring the leg, which has kept him out of the two previous state meets. He is getting treatment on the leg this week and coaches hope he will be able to possibly run the 4×400, as well as the two events he qualified in, at state.

“Getting Alex through there, given what we faced at the beginning of the week, was kind of fortunate,” Snow said. “Now we have a week to take care of him.”

Santana said he was “pretty happy” to be back in the state meet after two straight disappointments.

“It’s tough to get my past injuries out of my head,” he said, but “I’m shooting for the top three in the 100. I’m definitely praying a lot.”

He and Snow both said the day off between the preliminaries and finals turned out to be a blessing for Santana. “It helped a lot,” he said.

There were a number of pleasant surprises from the girls in the distances, the discus and the triple jump, Snow said.

Sophomore Paige Sanders ran a tough combination to finish fourth in the 3000, behind Rasmussen and Johnson, and sixth in the 800 in a five-second PR of 2:39.74.

Rasmussen, in her first district meet, trailed Johnson through most of the 3000, outkicking the senior in the last 100 meters for the district title. Swanson pushed the pace in the 800 and 1500, trailing only Sisters freshman Zoe Falk, who was running on her home track.

For the boys, Danforth, also a sophomore, did the same in the 3000, holding off a challenge from Sisters freshman Brandon Pollard, who later qualified in the 1500, to grab a state berth in 9:38.00 behind Sisters senior Taylor Steele, who won both distance events.

“Daniel ran a lifetime PR at elevation in the 1500,” Snow noted. “The Cottage Grove kids (who were expected to be heavy competitors in the distances) were kind of melting up there. By and large, it was not a good weekend in terms of distance.”

In the triple jump, though, it was a very good weekend for the Sweet Home girls.

Kaitlin Keenon put an exclamation point on her final season by finishing second and qualifying for state with a jump of 32-3 ½, a foot over her previous best. Snow said Keenon had adjusted her approach on Friday, the day off, and it paid off.

But fellow seniors Kelika Kaniaupio and Kaitlyn Long followed suit, posting big PR’s to finish fourth and ninth respectively.

“Those girls scored 15 points more than we projected,” Snow said.

Keenon, who came into the meet ranked third, said she “knew I just had to jump a little more” at district.

“I had that mindset going into it,” she said. “Then it was just good weather. The crowd was all happy. I just had a good time.”

She said she’s hoping further adjustments this week will get her some more distance and maybe a medal at state, which is her goal.

“I want to place,” she said. “I’m hoping to add another foot or two.”

Also delivering unexpected points were the girls discus throwers, led by junior Laura Mauer, who just missed qualifying for state with a third-place 4-foot PR throw of 94-8. Freshman Kaitlyn Watts scratched on a huge final throw, but still managed a fifth-place finish with 5-foot PR of 85-3 and freshman Sadie Gordon, who has not yet incorporated a spin into her throwing, was eighth with 82-3.

“Those girls placing three in discus was awesome,” Snow said.

The Sweet Home boys are coming off three straight state championships, but they are missing a key performer, Dakota Keys, who is now at the University of Oregon after winning four events last year at state and eight total over the last three years, plus three second-place finishes at state.

Snow said he expects Newport and Philomath to be the teams to beat in the girls competition at state – he predicts that Newport could score in 12 of 17 events – with Gladstone, Hidden Valley and Estacada mixing things up a bit.

“We are on the outside of the trophy race,” he said. “Estacada doesn’t have much but they’ve got two girls who could score 52 points right now. The problem is that the people who are most likely to bust them up are the people we’re going up against. That concerns us.”

On the boys side, he expects Cottage Grove, behind senior Alex Toureen, who was named boys Field Athlete of the Meet Saturday after winning the shot put, long jump and high jump and placing second in the triple jump, to be a contender, along with Crook County, Newport and Banks, which both did not get some expected qualifiers into the meet.

“What they’ve got is still really good,” he said. “This may be one of those years where it doesn’t take a lot of points.”

“We’ve got some wildcards of our own. I think our distance runners are on the fringe of scoring and Devyn is a wild card in the long jump and 100. Kaitlin showed us, ‘Hey, don’t count me out, either.’ If we can get another foot, that might bump us up into a scoring spot.”

“We’ll go down there and give it our best shot and see what we can do,” Snow said.

Hall, for whom this will be his third state meet, said he thinks it will be “a dead heat, like Alex (Santana’s) freshman year (in which the Huskies won their first state championship by one point over North Bend.)

“I honestly have no clue what to expect,” he said. “I will do what the coaches tell me. I know what I’m capable of. We’ll see if everything falls into place.”

Sky-Em District Championships

Boys Results

Stat Qualifiers and Sweet Home finishers

*State qualifier; P = Prelims Finish

Team scores: (1) Cottage Grove 185; (2) Sisters 137.5; (3) Sweet Home 125.5; (4) La Pine 84.5; (5) Junction City 58; (6) Elmira 57.5.

100 – (1) *Alex Santana (SH) 11.36; (2) *Connor Gibson (JC) 11.41; (5) Chris Carpenter (SH) 11.66; (6) Alex Coakley (SH) 11.67.

200 – (1) *Spencer Wilson (LP) 23.15; (2) *Chad Mertens (CG) 23.60; (P10) Spencer Knight (SH) 25.07.

400 – (1) *Nick Hall (SH) 50.35; (2) *Easton Curtis (Sisters) 51.26; (P12) Chace Hutchins (SH) 58.17.

800 – (1) *Easton Curtis (Sisters) 2:04.18; (2) *Austin Place (CG) 2:04.42; (6) Joe Stroud (SH) 2:15.56. (P12) Mykle Riggle (SH) 2:28.36.

1500 – (1) *Taylor Steele (Sisters) 4:12.63; (2) *Brandon Pollard (Sisters) 4:18.66; (4) Daniel Danforth (SH) 4:25.35; (10) Kyle Hummer (SH) 4:41.46; (14) Ian Wingo (SH) 5:03.54.

3000 – (1) *Taylor Steele (Sisters) 9:21.69; (2) *Daniel Danforth (SH) 9:38.00; (9) Kyle Hummer (SH) 10:24.86; (17) Justin Webb (SH) 12:01.30.

110 Hurdles – (1) *Garrett Lewellen (E) 15.71; (2) *Brandon Nash (JC) 16.09; (3) Chris Carpenter (SH) 16.38; (8) Dakota Snow (SH) 20.89.

300 Hurdles – (1) *Nick Hall (SH) 40.81; (2) *Dylan Mintonye (JC) 43.76; (6) Chace Hutchins (SH) 47.90. (P9) Ashton Stutzman (SH) 49.40.

4×100 Relay – (1) *Sweet Home (Alex Coakley, Chris Carpenter, Nick Hall, Alex Santana) 43.53; (2) *La Pine 44.52; (3) Cottage Grove 44.68; (4) Junction City 45.92; (5) Elmira 46.18; (6) Sisters 47.27.

4×400 Relay – (1) *Sisters 3:32.20; (2) *Sweet Home (Alex Coakley, Joe Stroud, Chris Carpenter, Nick Hall) 3:35.85; (3) Elmira 3:35.90; (4) La Pine 3:38.86; Cottage Grove was disqualified for false start.

Shot Put – (1) *Alex Toureen (CG) 48-9; (2) *Travis Harrison (LP) 45-3; (3) Zach Jackson (SH) 42-5 1/2; (6) Zane Jackson (SH) 39-6 3/4; (7) Alex Larsen (SH) 39-1 3/4.

Discus – (1) *Jake Johnson (SH) 135-2; (2) *Brandon Willis (CG) 126-0; (6) Patrick Long (SH) 110-7.

Javelin – (1) *Zach Borrelli (CG) 179-3; (2) *Zach Jackson (SH) 176-11; (4) Patrick Long (SH) 150-5; (9) Zach McClure (SH) 140-11.

High Jump – (1) *Alex Toureen (CG) 6-4; (2) *Brandon Nash (JC) 6-4; (6) Taylor Mauch (SH) 5-8; (9) Evan Ray (SH) 5-2.

Pole Vault – (1) *Deion Mock (LP) 14-4; (2) Dylan Seay (LP) 12-8; (5) Harvir Grewal (SH) 11-0; (8) Scottie Stockman (SH) 9-6.

Long Jump – (1) *Alex Toureen (CG) 22-2 3/4; (2) *Jeremy Desrosiers (LP) 20-0 3/4; (11) Ashton Stutzman (SH) 16-9 1/4.

Triple Jump – (1) *Dustin Hurd (CG) 41-0; (2) *Alex Toureen (CG) 40-11; (12) Taylor Mauch (SH) 36-4 1/4; (16) Matthew Long (SH) 32-9; (17) Dakota Snow (SH) 31-7 1/2.

Sky-Em District Championships

Girls Results

Top three and Sweet Home finishers

*State qualifier; P = Prelims Finish

Team scores: (1) Sisters 189; (2) Sweet Home 171.5; (3) Cottage Grove 118; (4) Elmira 74; (5) Junction City 58.5; (6) La Pine 46.

100 – (1) *Maria Kropf (SH) 12.58; (2) *Devyn Makin (SH) 12.96; (4) Jessika Stewart (SH) 13.09.

200 – (1) *Kristine Dunn (CG) 26.82; (2) *Hayley Palmer (Sisters) 27.04; (7) Maria Kropf (SH) 27.76; (8) Jessika Stewart (SH) 28.50; (P12) Courtney Kent (SH) 29.86.

400 – (1) *Kristine Dunn (CG) 57.78; (2) *Natalie Ambrose (Sisters) 59.01; (P11) Courtney Kent (SH) 1:07.79; (P12) Sabrina Davis (SH) 1:10.25; (P16) Sami Webb (SH) 1:14.69.

800 – (1) *Zoe Falk (Sisters) 2:25.49; (2) *Carissa Swanson (SH) 2:34.83; (5) Paige Sanders (SH) 2:39.74; (P11) Christina Ulmer (SH) 3:05.76.

1500 – (1) *Zoe Falk (Sisters) 5:06.58; (2) *Carissa Swanson (SH) 5:10.66; (4) Nicole Rasmussen (SH) 5:21.50; (5) Olivia Johnson (SH) 5:24.15.

3000 – (1) *Nicole Rasmussen (SH) 11:29.12; (2) *Olivia Johnson (SH) 11:31.87; (4) Paige Sanders (SH) 12:23.19.

100 Hurdles – (1) *Maria Kropf (SH) 15.09; (2) *Meesha Baldree (E) 15.98; (P9) Kaitlin Keenon (SH) 17.99.

300 Hurdles – (1) *Chelsea Reifschneider (Sisters) 48.70; (2) *Meesha Baldree (E) 50.04; (P9) Sabrina Davis (SH) 57.92; (P10) Caroline Amendola (SH) 59.25.

4×100 Relay – (1) *Sweet Home (Devyn Makin, Jessika Stewart, Annie Whitfield, Maria Kropf) 49.96; (2) Cottage Grove 50.86; (3) Sisters 51.54; (4) Junction City 52.40; (5) Elmira 53.28.

4×400 Relay – (1) Sisters 4:14.38; (2) Cottage Grove 4:20.97; (3) Sweet Home (Carissa Swanson, Courtney Kent, Nicole Rasmussen, Devyn Makin) 4:27.35; (4) Junction City 4:31.48; (5) Elmira 4:36.07; (6) La Pine 4:52.28.

Shot Put – (1) *Tricia Ingraham (CG) 32-5 1/2; (2) *Jessika McCullough (E) 32-3 1/2; (6) Annie Whitfield (SH) 27-10; (7) Laura Mauer (SH) 26-9; (15) Emily Claborn (SH) 22-4 3/4.

Discus – (1) *Jessika McCullough (E) 102-9; (2) *Ashley Agenbraod (LP) 99-4; (3) Laura Mauer (SH) 94-8; (5) Kaitlyn Watts (SH) 85-3; (8) Sadie Gordon (SH) 82-3.

Javelin – (1) *Annie Whitfield (SH) 142-4; (2) *Kelsey Shaw (JC) 130-0; ( (6) Josie David (SH) 93-6; (7) Tiffany Miller (SH) 92-8.

High Jump – (1) *Tenaya Smith (CG) 5-3; (2) *Alicia Haken (Sisters) 4-10; (3) Brandi Trewin (SH) 4-8.

Pole Vault – (1) *Sara Small (Sisters) 11-0; (2) *Hollie Arnold (CG) 10-0; (7) Kaitlin Keenon (SH) 8-0; (9-tie) Caroline Amendola (SH), Jacie Palmer (E) 7-0; (13) Sonya Corliss (SH) 6-0.

Long Jump – (1) *Devyn Makin (SH) 17-3; (2) *Zoe Falk (Sisters) 16-4 3/4; (6) Kelika Kaniaupio (SH) 15-1 1/2; (8) Meghan O’Donnell (SH) 13-6 3/4.

Triple Jump – (1) *Brittnie Haigler (LP) 32-4 1/4; (2) *Kaitlin Keenon (SH) 32-3 1/2; (4) Kelika Kaniaupio (SH) 31-0 3/4; (9) Kaitlyn Long (SH) 29-7 1/2.