Track athletes shine at Districts
Last updated 5/18/2021 at Noon
Thirteen members of the Outlaws track-and-field program punched their tickets for the 4A state championships based on their strong performances at the Oregon West District Meet held May 14-15 at Stayton High School.
The top two finishers in each event automatically qualified for the state meet. In addition, some third place finishers will qualify as “wild-cards” once all six 4A districts results are compiled.
The state meet will be held at Siuslaw High School on May 21-22, since the Oregon School Activities Association opted to not sponsor any championship events in 2020-2021 due to COVID-19. Coaches from the 4A rallied to make the event happen on behalf of the athletes.
The two-day district meet took place in a modified format to help keep crowd numbers more manageable due to COVID-19. All field events other than the 3,000-meter race were contested on May 14 and all running events the following day.
Jumpers carried the day for the Outlaws on Friday. Hollie Lewis (16 feet, 8 inches) and Any Shockley (15, 10) finished one-two, both setting personal records to qualify in the long jump. Shockley also qualified in the high jump with a clearance of five feet. Lewis was third, based on number of misses.
Three Outlaws will be pole vaulting at state. Shelby Larson finished second at 9 feet, 4 inches, and Gracie Vohs qualified as a wildcard after clearing 8 feet, 6 inches. Collin Fischer edged his teammate Taine Martin in a jump-off after tying at 10 feet.
Hayden Sharp matched his best in the high jump to win at 6 feet, and Martin grabbed a wildcard spot for his mark of 5 feet 10 inches, where he placed third.
“It was cool that Taine made it to state after such a close call in the pole vault,” said head coach Jeff Larson.
The Outlaws made their mark in the 3,000 meters, as Ethan Hosang and Will Thorsett dictated the pace and finished in 9:05.23 and 9:05.98 respectively. Pearl Gregg gave a gutsy effort to produce a lifetime best in the 3,000 on her way to second place in 11:26.52.
Saturday started with a stellar performance by the girls 4x100-meter relay team as Ila Reid, Grace Vohs, Lilly Sundstrom, and Hollie Lewis won the event in 52.92.
The four speedsters came back at the end of the meet to qualify in the 4x400-meter relay where they placed second in 4:22.74.
“Those four showed up to compete today,” said Larson. “I am so proud of them.”
Trouble struck for the Outlaws in the girls 1,500 when the favorite, Ella Thorsett, fell to the track after starting a surge to the lead midway in the race, the result of a muscle tear above her Achilles tendon.
The Outlaws still got a state qualifier as Pearl Gregg put the hammer down and finished a strong second with a personal best by nearly 15 seconds at 5:11.89.
Will Thorsett followed suit with a runner-up finish in the boys 1,500 with a time of 4:12.71. Ethan Hosang had to scratch from the event due to an undisclosed injury.
Sam May pushed the pace from the outset of the 800 meters, but was overtaken in the final 250 meters by Brody Bushnell of Philomath and finished second in 2:00.93.
“As Jim McKay on Wide World of Sports used to say, our distance crew sort of experienced ‘the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat,’” said Assistant Coach Sarah Thorsett. “We are celebrating Sam, Pearl, Will, and Ethan going on to state and processing the disappointment for Ella and the concern about Ethan’s sore leg, but these kids are so resilient, I know they will overcome.”
Both the girls and boys teams finished third in the team standings among the seven schools in the Oregon West Conference.
Philomath took top honors for the girls and Newport claimed the team trophy for boys.
For those interested in attending the state meet it is important to understand that tickets are limited.
Tickets will be sold for each individual event at the cost of $3. Spectators will be expected to watch the event and then vacate the facility due to COVID-19 restrictions in place. Tickets are for sale online at bit.ly/siuslawtickets.