Huskies win boys track title; girls second

Sweet Home’s boys won their second straight Val-Co League track and field championship Saturday and the girls placed second to Philomath after a series of surprise performances from a number of Huskies.

Four school records fell during the event, two of them in the pole vault, one on the boys side and three on the girls. But it wasn’t a slam dunk by any means.

Things got off to a bad start Saturday morning for the Sweet Home boys.

The 4×100 relay team, running the boys first race of the day, was well on its way to sure victory when anchor runner Alex Santana, who was running his second race in a month after having to sit out the majority of the season with an injury, pulled up lame with about 20 meters to go and staggered across the finish line in third place.

Santana fell to the track, immediately surrounded by anxious teammates and coaches, and was carried to the Huskies’ team headquarters, where trainer Mark Amendola and coaches worked on him.

That glitch, though, was not enough to stop the Huskies, who went on to win their second straight district title, finishing with 174 points, 11 1/2 ahead of second-place Philomath.

“Losing Alex when we did, it would have been real easy for them to say ‘My goodness, gracious.’ But the kids just picked up and kept going,” said Coach Billy Snow. “I figured we gave up 10 or 12 points. But we were able to pull it out. We had kids step up. The differences were in the lower places, kids who didn’t necessarily qualify for state. That was great.

“I was really proud of those guys, being able to step up. The first thing that happens Saturday, your big points day, is that you lose one of your studs. The guys just kept stepping up.”

District champions for the boys , who ended up with 14 state qualifiers, were the 4×400 relay team of Rob Callagan, Nick Hall, Sean Potter and Tim McDowell; Callagan in the 800; Dakotah Keys in the 110 hurdles, pole vault and javelin; Marc Callagan in the shot put; and McDowell in the high jump.

The Sweet Home girls led the competition much of Saturday, but didn’t have enough athletes in three key events as the competition wound down and Philomath took the lead to win 221-174.

“Our girls were right where they were supposed to be,” Snow said. “I can’t believe how close the final score was to what I doped out. But we didn’t get the points where we expected to.”

As with the boys, he said, the Huskies’ top athletes performed for the most part as the coaching staff expected, but “it was really the kids in the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth places that won it for us.”

District champions for the girls were Maria Kropf in the 100, 100 hurdles and long jump; the 4×100 relay team of Jessica Snow, Devyn Makin, Jessika Stewart and Kropf; Jenny Hamn in the shot put and Annie Whitfield in the javelin.

The girls wound up with 11 qualifiers, in 10 events.

They were Kropf in the 100, 100 hurdles and long jump; Stewart in the 200 and long jump; Carissa Swanson in the 1500 and 3000; the 4×100 relay; Hamn in the shot and discus; and Whitfield in the javelin.

Hamn, a senior in her first year of track, has steadily improved in both the shot and the discus through most of the season.

She said going to larger meets such as the Meet of Champions and Centennial this year helped her overcome nervousness.

“I think I’ll do pretty good,” she said of her chances at state.

The boys had state qualifiers in all but four events: Sam Macklin in the 100 and 200; Rob Callagan in the 800; Keys and Jake Comstock in the 110 hurdles; freshman Nick Hall in the 300 hurdles; Marc Callagan in the shot and discus; Keys in the javelin, pole vault and long jump; McDowell in the high jump; and the 4×400 and 4×100 relay teams.

The short relay team got in despite its third-place finish because it ran an automatic qualifying time of 44.06 for the meet.

In fact, Taft, which finished fourth in 44.38, barely missed the qualifying time of 44.21.

“That is speed,” Snow said. “That was the fastest 4×100 race I’ve seen in 25 years of coaching. I’ve seen faster teams, but not that many fast teams.”

He said what was particularly significant was that the wind, though not particularly strong, was blowing up the home stretch of the track for most of Saturday, which seemed to slow the runners in the sprints and hurdles races.

“All the races into that wind were slow,” he said. “It didn’t seem that bad, but I think, in a sense, that wind had an effect on those kids in that last 100 meters. Sam is way faster than that (11.61) and so is that (Eric) Phillips kid (of Central, who won the 100). Dakotah was slow in the (110) hurdles too.”

It was really an outstanding two-day meet for the Huskies, who wound up with the boys Athlete of the Meet in Keys, who set a new school and meet record of 15-7 in winning the pole vault and also placed first in the 110 hurdles and javelin, and second in the long jump after Philomath’s Cody Hanten squeezed by him by an inch and a quarter with a leap of 22 feet.

On the girls side, Kropf earned the Athlete of the Meet honors after breaking her own school long jump record with a leap of 17-5 on her first and only jump to win that event, and then winning the 100 (12.79), the 100 hurdles in a personal-best 15.73, and anchoring the girls 4×100 relay team to a school-record 50.25.

“That was one heck of a surprise,” Snow said. “We were looking to get the baton around, number one, and we were looking for a PR, number two, but we weren’t looking for that.”

Lead-off runner Jessica Snow and second-leg runner Makin got the Huskies off to a good start in the relay, and Stewart opened up some serious breathing room for Kropf on the third leg to give the Huskies the win, despite what Billy Snow described as some less-than-perfect handoffs on the last two legs.

“Not a whole lot of people have last two legs like we do,” Snow said. “That record they beat has been around for a while.”

The school record broken Saturday was 50.44, set by Lisa Weaver, Pam Simpson, Linda Erisman and Kelley Wright during the 1983 state meet, the last time the Husky girls won the state title.

Kropf said she was “very surprised” to pop the big one on her first jump, then just kept rolling.

“”I started to get fired up (after the jump) and then I got more excited after the relay,” she said. “I couldn’t believe it.”

The other school record was set by sophomore Kaitlin Keenon, who jumped 8-6 to break the pole vault record of 8-4 set in 1997 by Colene Brown. Keenon finished fourth in the vault.

Keys, in the boys pole vault, cleared 15-7 with plenty of air and barely missed three times at 16 feet, which would have put him at the top of all divisions in the state.

“It was pretty exciting,” he said. “Overall, I wish I could have gotten that 16. Hopefully I’ll get it at state. My goal is to get 16-6.”

The Huskies had at least one athlete in the finals in every event of the boys competition.

“We had a couple of weak ones here and there, but we scored in every event,” Snow said. “I believe we were the only team to do that.”

Snow said outstanding efforts by the boys included Rob Callagan’s win in the 800, in which he nearly PR’d while running 15 meters ahead of the closest competition for much of the race; Marc Callagan’s second-place finish in the discus; freshman Hall’s second-place finish in the 300 €“ only the sixth time he’d run the race, including the preliminary the day before, and his oh-so-close third-place finish in the 400; McDowell’s win in the high jump in a personal-best 6-3, and barely missing three times at 6-4 at the end of a long day in which he competed in three other events; and James Myers’ third-place finish in the pole vault in a personal-best 13-0, behind Newport freshman phenom Oshay Dunmore’s 13-7 jump. Dunmore also won the discus.

McDowell said he was disappointed that he failed to clear 6-4, but he’s hoping for more at state.

“If everything goes well, I’m hoping to go 6-6 or 6-7,” he said.

Snow said the tough competition this year in the Val-Co League took its toll on a couple of athletes.

“James is better than half that (state) field,” he said of Myers’ pole vault mark. “And Nick’s time in the 400 would put him right in the middle of that field at state.”

For the girls, Sami Webb turned in the fastest time of the year for a Husky in the 800, going 2:40.4 for a PR of nearly two seconds; Swanson set a 14-second PR of 11:39.2 in the 3000; Stewart’s second-place in the 200, in which she ran down the third-place finisher in the final 50 meters to qualify for state, and her PR by nearly a foot to qualify behind Kropf in the long jump; and Keenon’s PRs in the vault and in the 100 hurdles. In all, the girls had 14 personal bests on Friday and Saturday, while the boys recorded 13.

Snow said the girls made a good run on Saturday, throwing a bit of a scare into defending champs Philomath, which had more depth than the Huskies. Sweet Home was ahead 130 to 138 1/2 going into the final five events Saturday €“ the 200, 800, 300 hurdles and triple jump and the 4×400 relay.

“They were loaded in those events,” Snow said. “We didn’t have anybody in the 300 hurdles. They had the right people in the right places at the right time.

“Philomath was sweating bullets. They knew they had to load up.”

Moving on to the state meet, the boys are right in the thick of things as they defend their state title from last year.

Macklin, a senior who has been a team leader this year, said the Huskies had fun at districts and he hopes that will happen again at state. He said he’s ready to defend the state title.

“My confidence level is really high,” he said. “I’ve got one more meet left. I’m not going to satisfied until Sunday morning.”

Rob Callagan, another senior, said he’s “pretty anxious about state” and predicted he’ll have to run under 2 minutes just to make the finals. He said he believes the Huskies are a stronger boys team this year than last.

“I think this team is better than last year,” Callagan said. “I think we can score higher points and we’ve got more events covered, with better marks.”

Keys said he also believes the Huskies are better.

“I think this team’s really strong,” he said. “I think we’ll do really good.”

Snow predicted that the Huskies will see challenges from Cascade, Gladstone, Ontario and North Bend, among others.

“We’ve got a target on our backs but we have a great group of guys,” Snow said. “We’ll go down there and work hard and, hopefully, Lady Luck’s on our side.

“I would not trade my guys and girls for the rest of the field. The’re a great group.”

After trying a three-day format for the 6A-5A-4A state track and field championships last year, the Oregon School Activities Association has decided to go back to a two-day schedule. The state meet will be held this year at Hayward Field at the University of Oregon, beginning with field events at 10 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

Val-Co District Championships

Boys Team Scores: (1) Sweet Home 175; (2) Philomath 163 1/2; (3) Central 122 1/2; (4) Newport 120; (5) Taft 69.

Boys Individual Results €“ Top two plus Sweet Home finishers

All times automatic.

*Lifetime best

100 €“ (1) Eric Phillips (C) 11.53; (2) Sam Macklin (SH) 11.61; (12) Alex Coakley (SH) 12.55.

200 €“ (1) Eric Phillips (C) 22.97; (2) Sam Macklin (SH) 23.51; (11) Alex Coakley (SH) 24.95.

400 €“ (1) Tyler Thomas (P) 50.63; (2) Ryan Willoughby (T) 50.90; (3) Nick Hall (SH) 51.78*; (6) Sean Potter 54.91*.

800 €“ (1) Robert Callagan (SH) 1:58.06; (2) Tyler Thomas (T) 2:01.16; (7) Joe Stroud (SH) 2:16.74.

1500 €“ (1) Javier Orozco (C) 4:17.60; (2) Jeff Schreiner-McGraw (P) 4:18.50; (6) Casey Keys (SH) 4:33.10; (10) Byron Sanders (SH) 4:36.90; (11) Chris Thompson (SH) 4:37.50*.

3000 €“ (1) Jeff Schreiner-McGraw (P) 9:28.30; (2) Josh Seekatz (P) 9:29.20; (6) Blake Roberts (SH) 10:13.50*; (9) Byron Sanders (SH) 10:18.20; (10) Nikki Smith (SH) 10:22.50*.

110 Hurdles €“ (1) Dakotah Keys (SH) 15.48; (2) Jake Comstock (SH) 15.98; (7) James Myers (SH) 18.08.

300 Hurdles €“ (1) Frankie Hunter (N) 41.62; (2) Nick Hall (SH) 41.82*; (3) Jake Comstock (SH) 43.54*.

4×100 Relay €“ (1) Central 43.70; (2) Philomath 43.80; (3) Sweet Home (Rob Callagan, Sam Macklin, Tim McDowell, Alex Santana) 44.06; (4) Taft 44.38; (5) Newport 48.37.

4×400 Relay €“ (1) Sweet Home (Rob Callagan, Nick Hall, Sean Potter, Tim McDowell) 3:30.84; (2) Taft 3:31.76; (3) Philomath 3:32.91; (4) Central 3:35.46; (5) Newport 3:47.03.

Shot Put €“ (1) Marc Callagan (SH) 50-1; (2) Sam Fuller (T) 46-0; (10) John Connelly (SH) 35-8; (12) Josh Ward (SH) 34-1.

Discus €“ (1) Oshay Dunmore (N) 138-1; (2) Marc Callagan (SH) 130-4; (8) John Connelly (SH) 105-3*; (11) Josh Ward (SH) 83-5.

Javelin €“ (1) Dakotah Keys (SH) 194-5; (2) Kerrick Roach (P) 185-4; (4) Tim McDowell (SH) 149-0*; (12) Josh Ward (SH) 107-4.

High Jump €“ (1) Tim McDowell (SH) 6-3*; (2) Luke Whiteman (P) 6-3; (6) Alex Coakley (SH) 5-4; (7) Chad Linville (SH) 5-4.

Pole Vault €“ (1) Dakotah Keys (SH) 15-7*; (2) Oshay Dunmore (N) 13-7; (3) James Myers (SH) 13-0*; (5) Dustin Collman (SH) 12-4*.

Long Jump €“ (1) Cody Hanten (P) 22-0; (2) Dakotah Keys (SH) 21-11 3/4; (5) Sam Macklin (SH) 19-9 1/4.

Triple Jump €“ (1) Logan Stevens (P) 41-7 1/4; (2) Ricky Verlini (N) 41-3 1/2; (7) Alex Coakley (SH) 39-0 1/4*; (11) Josh Ward (SH) 34-5.

Girls Team Scores: (1) Philomath 221; (2) Sweet Home 174; (3) Newport 155; (4) Centra 75l 75; (5) Taft 17.

Girls Individual Results €“ Top two plus Sweet Home finishers

All times automatic.

*Lifetime best

100 €“ (1) Maria Kropf (SH) 12.79; (2) Alisha Rowlee (N) 13.01; (3) Jessika Stewart (SH) 13.14; (10) Natasha Perry (SH) 14.49.

200 €“ (1) Audrey Hellesto (P) 27.0; (2) Jessika Stewart (SH) 27.21; (6) Devyn Makin (SH) 28.36; (10) Natasha Perry (SH) 30.53.

400 €“ (1) Barry McLaren (P) 1:00.99; (2) Karryn Kimball (N) 1:01.64; (6) Jessica Snow (SH) 1:05.43*.

800 €“ (1) Tegan Grunwald (P) 2:30.6; (2) Rylee Marshall (P) 2:31.6; 5) Sami Webb (SH) 2:40.4*; (6) Caroline Amendola (SH) 2:43.8; (7) Mandy Binks (SH) 2:56.8*.

1500 €“ (1) Sierra Grunwald (P) 5:16.7; (2) Carissa Swanson (SH) 5:17.6; (6) Olivia Johnson (SH) 5:33.8.

3000 €“ (1) Sierra Grunwald (P) 11:33.2; (2) Carissa Swanson (SH) 11:39.2*; (4) Olivia Johnson (SH) 12:01.3; (7) Caroline Amendola (SH) 12.55.2*.

100 Hurdles €“ (1) Maria Kropf (SH) 15.73*; (2) Helena Riddell (C) 16.68; (4) Kaitlin Keenon (SH) 17.77*; (9) Brianna Wirth (SH) 21.21.

300 Hurdles €“ (1) Taylor Patterson (P) 47.39; (2) Sam Moore (N) 48.37; (9) Brianna Wirth (SH) 1:03.04.

4×100 Relay €“ (1) Sweet Home (Jessica Snow, Devyn Makin, Jessika Stewart, Maria Kropf) 50.25; (2) Philomath 50.78; (3) Central 52.65; (4) Newport 52.83; (5) Taft 58.59.

4×400 Relay €“ (1) Philomath 4:14.11; (2) Newport 4:15.80; (3) Sweet Home (Jessica Snow, Carissa Swanson, Annie Whitfield, Devyn Makin) 4:31.58; Central and Taft did not field teams.

Shot Put €“ (1) Jenny Hamn (SH) 34-9 3/4; (2) Andrea Mortenson (C) 29-9; (7) Laura Mauer (SH) 24-9; (8) Reanna Thompson (SH) 24-4 3/4*.

Discus €“ (1) Emiko Koike (N) 93-6; (2) Jenny Hamn (SH) 84.5; (8) Laura Mauer (SH) 70-6; (9) Reanna Thompson (SH) 70-0*.

Javelin €“ (1) Annie Whitfield (SH) 116-6; (2) Emiko Koike (N) 109-10; (5) Josie David (SH) 92-1*; (8) Kishya Davis (SH) 86-0*.

High Jump €“ (1) Laura Schaudt (P) 5-4; (2) Moriah Britt (N) 4-10; (6) Brandi Trewin (SH) 4-4; (8) Dawnita Justham (SH) 4-2.

Pole Vault €“ (1) Hollie Doyle (N) 10-4; (2) Joy DeVos (P) 10-0; (4) Kaitlin Keenon (SH) 8-6*; (7) Caroline Amendola (SH) 6-6; (8) Haley Voldbaek (SH) 6-0.

Long Jump €“ (1) Maria Kropf (SH) 17-5*; (2) Jessika Stewart (SH) 16-4 1/4*; (6) Devyn Makin (SH) 15-6.

Triple Jump €“ (1) Laura Schaudt (P) 33-8 3/4 (2) Sam Moore (N) 3-6 1/4; (4) Kaitlin Keenon (SH) 31-3; (6) Annie Whitfield (SH) 30-6 1/4*; (9) Haley Voldbaek (SH) 27-5 1/2*.