Huskies set new marks in sweep of district track title

For the first time since 1986, Sweet Home hosted to the Capital Conference District Track Meet Friday and Saturday.

The top two athletes in each event qualify for the state meet next weekend at Hayward Field in Eugene.

“Our boys squad accomplished some history for Sweet Home and capped a great regular season with a conference championship,” Coach Billy Snow said. “The only other District title for Sweet Home was a tie with Cascade in 1983. The 168 points scored by our boys is also a Sweet Home record and tops the 109 they scored last year. We had our boys pegged at 136 points and first place going in and they just blew that out of the water.”

Along the way, Coach Snow’s Huskies won 9 of the 17 events contested, including 6 of 7 field events. They turned a close meet on paper into a rout and ended the season with no losses to any of the league teams this year.

“This has been a great group of guys.” Coach Snow said. “They handled the pressure of favorites and home field very well, had fun, and really competed well. They have been a pleasure to work with a truly unique group of young men.”

The Husky girls were not to be outdone though. Going in, Coach Snow had the girls pegged at fifth with a close shot at fourth. They obliterated that with a third place finish, moving past Molalla and Stayton due a strong team effort.

“That was probably the biggest surprise of the entire weekend,” Coach Snow said. “None of the other teams were looking for our girls to finish that high and the girls really stepped up and competed well. The thing we really have to look forward to and build on is that none of these girls graduate this year!”

It was a tremendous amount of work and pressure to host the meet, but at the same time a great challenge and a great opportunity for our program and the kids, Coach Snow said. ” Our workers did an incredible job and meet went smoothly from the first moment right up until the end. The coaches and fans from the other schools complimented us on the quality of the meet and the help.”

Coach Snow said the Huskies learned that the home field advantage is just as important in track and field as it is in other sports.

“We haven’t had that for years and we know now why we missed it,” he said. “Our kids could have been nervous or choked in front of their home crowd. Instead, they had the most incredible two days that any team that I have been associated with in 20 years has ever had. We had kids getting lifetime bests all over the place. More importantly, as we watched the kids compete, they were smiling and having a blast. It really paid off that the kids got home early on Friday, got to sleep in, and were familiar with the venue really paid off.”

Boys, Friday, Day One…

Friday opened with the 3000M boys final on the track and some stifling hot weather. A week ago the Huskies froze in the rains and ice at Stayton and now they faced some unseanable heat.

“For the distance runners, it really was an unfortunate situation,” Coach Snow said. ” They were not accustomed to the conditions and spraying them with water as they ran only did so much. However the effort was there.”

John Lovik ran 9.41.90 for fourth place overall, well off his season best of 9.22.

“I know John was disappointed but he has nothing to hang his head about,” Coach Snow said. “We always talk about controlling what we can, our attitude and effort, which he did. We cannot control the weather and just have to deal with the cards that are dealt us.”

Aaron Lovik was 11th in 11:07.52 and incredibly, given the conditions, Anthony Ertsgaard ran a season PR of 11:05.03 for 10th overall.

“In field events on the track, we got everyone who we thought would make it through the prelims and into the finals,” Coach Snow said. ” Of note, we had 3 PRs along the way. Paris Ramsey simply blasted the 100M and those who were there to watch saw history made. Paris’ time of 10.78 is the fastest ever at the 3A level and makes him the second fastest in the state this year behind Travis Ramme of Sheldon, a 4A school. Paris is a unique individual and talent. If you haven’t seen him run, you just have to and that final chance will come at the state meet next weekend.”

Kellen Petersen had a season PR of 12.09 in the 100M. The Great Dane, Jeppe Hjoerngaard, had a PR in the 200M at 24.94 and Jeremy Fisher had a PR in his prelim heat of the high hurdles at 18.21.

In the field, there were four finals on the day. In the pole vault, Robert McGarry made up for his disappointment at Districts last year by winning the vault at 13-00. Although he was off his season best of 13-08, McGarry enters the state meet with a good chance of placing in the top eight.

Mike Barnes really surprised the field, setting a PR by 1 1/2 feet to go 11-06 and take seventh. “We knew the potential was there for Mike because he had done it in practice but not a meet. Those were some big points for us,” Coach Snow said.

In the long jump, the Huskies blew away the field and surprised everyone with their jumping. Randy Nicholson has really taken this event to a different level, Coach Snow said.

“We have altered his approach the last two weeks and he finally put it all together. His winning leap of 21-08.25 is No. 2 all time in school history and puts him right in the thick of things at the state level,” Coach Snow said. ” Mike Severns has been nursing a sore hamstring for a month and a half so we had no idea if he would even be able to jump. We worked on his approach this week for the first time since early April.”

On his first jump, Severns popped a 20-04 and we had him just sit on that to see what happened with the rest of the field, Coach Snow explained. In the finals, Basilio Rudimetkin of North Marion moved ahead of Severns so the Huskies had Severns start jumping again.

On his last attempt, Severns popped a lifetime best of 20-10.5 which held up for a second place finish and a trip to state. Seth Graves, the Huskies’ third jumper, was a half inch off his PR at 19-03 but still took sixth place overall. Sweet Home ended up with 21 points in this event.

In the high jump, Mike Lummus and Seth Graves both went 5-06 which put them 10th and ninth respectively.

“They competed well and had we scored anything there it would have been more than we were counting on,” Coach Snow said.

In the discus, Matt Slauson had a near season PR of 142-01 to take the win there. Matt will enter the state meet about in the middle of the pack with that mark. Robert Rice was just off his season PR and finished 10th overall. Brad Seiber was just a couple of inches off his season best but still went 122-03 for sixth place overall.

Boys, Saturday, Day Two…

On the track, the short relay team of Seth Graves, Robert McGarry, Randy Nicholson, and Paris Ramsey started things off well with a season PR of 44.34 for the win there.

“Their handoffs were pretty good and they enter the state meet about in the middle of the pack also.

In the 1500M, the distance crew came back in some more favorable weather. John Lovik came back with a season PR 4.21.26 to place fifth overall in an event that he did not place in last year. Aaron Lovik was 10th in 4:55.67 and Anthony Ertsgaard had his second PR of the meet, 5:00.10 for 11th place.

In the 100M, Paris Ramsey easily outran the field in 10.91 to take the win. He will enter the state meet as the leader in this event. Randy Nicholson was just nipped by Travis Gapp of Cascade for second place, taking third in 11.71.

In the high hurdles, Jeremy Fisher had his second PR of the meet, going 18.15 for seventh. His time makes him the #5 sophomore in school history.

Ramsey then came back to easily win the 200M in 22.38 for his second win. He will enter the state meet as the leader in this event also.

Casey Baarson and Jeremy Fisher both placed in the 300M hurdles. Baarson has been dealing with a bad hamstring for six weeks and hadn’t run a race for ages. “We were not sure what to expect but Casey is such a great competitor,” Coach Snow said. Baarson ran 44.05 for a season PR, a fifth place finish and “some big points that we were not necessarily counting on.” Fisher ran 46.27 for eighth.

In the 1600M really, the foursome of Ian Lynn, Paris Ramsey, Ryan Garrett, and Chris Burford threw a scare into the field, especially the favorite Molalla. They were rated fifth going in but at the last exchange were pushing Molalla for second place. “Each of the guys ran great and their PR of 3:36.84 was a full four seconds faster than their entry time,” Coach Snow said.

In the field, Sweet Home continued their dominance. In the javelin, Husky throwers went 1,6,9 with PRs for each one of them.

Mike Severns completed a great meet with a huge PR of 168-11 to outdistance the rest of the field and earn a trip to state, Coach Snow said. Casey Baarson has been doing a lot of javelin work not only because he is good at it but his leg problems forced him to do so. His best of 153-04 was good for sixth. Brett Badgett made finals with his PR of 143-10. “This was a huge event for the team and a big improvement from the previous year,” Coach Snow said.

In the triple jump, we had a day of days. Again we had three PRs in three tries. Randy Nicholson won his second event with a winning leap of 40-11.25, good enough for No. 7 in school hisotry. Kellen Petersen had a great series and on his last jump, went 39-05 for a PR and the second place spot for a trip to state. Seb Strickler really surprised the entire field with a two foot PR and a finishing mark of 38-10.25 for fourth place overall. This threesome ended up scoring 23 points overall.

Finally in the shot put, we had another three for three in the PR department. Matt Slauson upped his school record to 53-10 to win the event. He will enter the state meet right with the leaders in a super tough event. Sam Rodgers hit his goal of 40 feet going 40-02 for sixth place overall, again scoring some points that we were not counting on. Malcolm Brown had a PR 37-09 to go 10th overall.

“On the day, our guys had 20 PRs in 27 tries, which is just incredible,” Coach Snow said. “They set 11 class records, seven all time records, three school records, and one state record. This type of effort and competition is unique a great accomplishment for the entire group.”

The final team score were Sweet Home, 168; Stayton and Cascade, 103; Molalla, 99; Sisters, 94.5; North Marion, 85.5

Girls, Friday, Day One

There were four finals on Day One for the girls, one on the track and three field events. “Again, as with the guys, the weather really worked against our distance runners,” Coach Snow said. “Anne Helfrich and Megan Snow were both well off their season bests but still ran the best their bodies could given the conditions. Helfrich finished sixth in 12:16.59 with Snow in 10th at 13:33.0.

In the field, the Huskies had two throwing event finals. In the javelin, Kim Lovik had a PR of 103-06 which ended up placing her fifth overall. “This was a new event for Lovik this year and she has really found her niche and will become a force in this event next season,” Coach Snow said. “Meaghan Schaefer and Amber Larsen both competed but could not crack the scoring column.”

In the shot put, Rachel Gaskey had a season PR of 35-04 which placed her second and earned her a trip to state next weekend. Her mark puts her as the No. 7 junior in school history. Krystle Streight was just off her season best but her put of 34-08 earned her third place. Meaghan Schaefer was off her season best also but finished 10th at 28-10.

In the long jump, Husky girls competed extremely well, just as the guys did. Lisa Brocard had a lifetime PR of 15-09.75 for third place overall. Her mark is number 10 in school history and would rank her No.9 with the girls going into the state meet. Unfortunately, the number one and number six jumper also are in our league. Ashley Smith, coming off a foot injury, went a near season PR of 14-10.5 for sixth place. Holly Keesecker was 10th overall with a PR of 14-00.5.

In prelims on the track, we got everyone through that we expected plus some surprises. Keesecker had her second PR on the day and qualified for the 100M finals at 14.29.

Elissa McCartin ran a PR of 2.46.71 in the 800M but just missed qualifying for the finals. In the high hurdles, Lisa Brocard (17.31) and Nicki Emmert (18.87) both had PRs and qualified for Saturday’s finals. In the 300M hurdles, Brocard and Hannah Swanson both ran good races and qualified for finals on Saturday also.

Girls, Saturday, Day Two…

In the field, the girls contested four finals events. In the pole vault, Alisha Basham had a six inch PR, going seven feet for ninth place overall. “We have worked on a bigger pole and that paid off for Alisha and she’ll go higher next season,” Coach Snow said.

In the high jump, Ashley Smith and Kari McGuyre added major points for the Huskies. Both girls were able to negotiate 4-09. McGuyre had to run the 400M just before starting this event and really toughed it out. Smith ended up fourth based on misses with McGuyre fifth.

In the discus, Rachel Gaskey earned her second trip to state, eeking out a win by two inches with a best toss of 110-06. Krystle Streight was fourth overall at 102-10 and Shaina Burnett cracked the scoring column with a best of 89-01 for seventh overall.

In the triple jump, the girls had an awesome day just as the guys had done. Lisa Brocard had a huge lifetime PR, going 33-10.5 and just missing the school record by 1/2 an inch. Again, unfortunately, her third place finish just missed a trip to state because the No. 1 and No. 2 jumpers in the state just both happen to be in our league. Otherwise, Brocard would enter as the No. 9 ranked triple jumper.

Ashley Smith had a big season PR going 32-04 in her first attempt at this event since mid April. Her mark placed her fourth on the day. Nicki Emmert had a foot PR and went 30-08 for sixth place overall. All three girls set class marks on the days.

On the track , our girls competed extremely well, The short relay team of Ashley Smith, Nicki Emmert, Holly Keesecker, and Hannah Swanson ran their season best 54.31 to place fourth overall.

In the 1500M, Megan Snow came back from a disappointment in the 3000M to run a lifetime PR of 5.36.36 for eighth place overall. Anne Helfrich was just off her season best and ran ninth in 5:42.61.

In the sprints, Holly Keesecker had another PR and ran eighth in 14.19. Hannah Swanson and Kari McGuyre both ran good races in the 400M going fourth and seventh respectively. Swanson’s 64.54 placed her fourth and McGuyre was seventh in 68.19, an improvement from last year when she did not make the finals in this event.

In the high hurdles, Brocard ran 17.35 and just got nipped at the line, finishing third in 17.35. Nicki Emmert PRed again going 18.62 for seventh overall and putting her No. 10 on the sophomore list.

In the 300M hurdles, Lisa earned her fourth third place finish of the meet going 49.24. The two girls ahead of her are again No. 1 and No. 2 in the state.

“Lisa had an incredible two days and is as tough a competitor as I have ever coached,” Coach Snow said. “It is just a heartbreaker that her events happen to be so tough in our league. Hannah Swanson ran a near season PR of 50.37 to finish sixth in 50.37.”

In the final event, the 1600M relay, Sweet Home’s foursome of Kari McGuyre, Anne Helfrich, Holly Keesecker, and Hannah Swanson ran a season PR by 4.6 seconds, going 4:30.43 to finish fifth.

“All four girls ran season PR splits and their time is faster than we ran last year at Districts,” Coach Snow said. ” It was a great run and some icing on the cake for the girls team finish.”

Our girls really stepped up to the plate this weekend and got it done, Coach Snow said. ” They exceeded any expectations that we had and surprised the field with their finish. Of all the teams, both boys and girls, their placing was the biggest surprise and upset of the form chart of the weekend.”

“On behalf of the team and the coaches, I would like to extend a big thanks to all of those individuals who have helped throughout the season to a make this year a success,” Coach Snow said. ” From concessions and gates, to timing and starting, and running field events, to the goodie bags for the athletes, each and every person who has helped has contributed to the success and of the season and helped make it special for the kids. Ken Roberts has done a tremendous amount of legwork and behind the scenes work and deserves some public kudos. I would like to name you all but would probably forget someone and then be in big trouble. But for all of you, thanks from the kids and coaches. Your work and time has contributed hugely to their success and enjoyment of the season.”

State Meet Friday and Saturday: As for the state meet, the 3A and 4A meets run together Friday and Saturday next weekend at Hayward Field in Eugene. Our kids are going to go down there and give it their best effort and see where that puts them. For those who have not seen this group of kids compete, this will be your last chance. You will not only get to cheer some Sweet Home kids on and see some great competition, but will see an awesome high school track meet in one of the best venues in the country.