Kragness makes his mark in Husky, state track rolls

He just wanted to get better for football, so Matt Kragness went out reluctantly for track and field.

Four years later, Kragness would put his mark in not only the SHHS record books but also the state rolls.

“I just wanted to get faster for football,” Kragness admitted. “I still like football better.”

His love of that sport also paid off as he was named first team defensive back and second team all league receiver.

Although he showed some promise his freshman and sophomore years, the tall, lean sprinter didn’t hit his stride until his junior year.

“The first two years I was just out there to get into better shape,” Kragness said. “I actually dropped a lot of time my sophomore year.”

He lowered his time in the 200M from 25.0 to 23.5 and his 100M time from 12.3 to 11.7.

“I didn’t even try running the 400M until last year when a ran a 52,” Kragness said.

He cut that time drastically at the state meet, clocking a 50.21 to set a new school record. He lowered that time even further this year, turning a 49.12 to win.

It was his 200M time however that put him in the state record books. Kragness turned a 22.16 to beat the old mark of 22.19 set by Brandon Roosevelt of Wilsonville. Last year, Kragness ran a 23.02 at state and going into this year’s big meet his season best had been 22.7.

Kragness rounded out his state showing with a 10.7 in the 100M for third place. A one-man scoring machine, Kragness was honored at the Prefontaine Classic after the state meet.

Last year, Kragness broke the Husky’s previous 400M mark of 50.8 set in 1968 by John Ellston with a 50.21 time. He lowered that even further at state at 49.12.

“I just tried to get through the preliminaries,” Kragness said. “It was a very nice day weather wise. I was trying to save my legs because I knew I had all three races.”

Kragness said he started training for the state meet about three weeks out.

“I ran all three sprints at the Meet of Champions,” Kragness said.

He mixed up his training regimen, running hills and then on the track.

“I ran a lot on the chip trail because the track is in such bad shape and my legs get sore running on it,” Kragness said.

Kragness said he gave up basketball so he could concentrate on the indoor track season with meets in Portland and Eugene during the winter.

“We went to a meet in Redmond where we had to battle snow all the way, but I’m glad we went because I ran against a guy who was eventually in my prelims at state,” Kragness said.

Kragness plans to attend LBCC and has earned a track scholarship there.

“I hope to improve my times and get my basics there,” he said. “I really want to compete a the UO.”

He plans to study engineering or business.