News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Tracksters shine at state meet

Sisters track athletes, including a slew of seniors, made the most of having the opportunity to compete at the 4A state track meet as many Outlaws stood upon the podium, including one state champion.

Just two months ago track-and-field athletes believed there would be no meaningful culminating meet this season since the Oregon Schools Activities Association (OSAA) announced it would not be sponsoring any championship events for high school sports. But Chris Johnson, who works as the cross-country and track coach and athletic director at Siuslaw High School and serves as the 4A representative to the OSAA had different ideas. He rallied other 4A coaches, athletic directors, and colleagues to join him in hosting a state meet in Florence.

The result was a legitimate, all-volunteer, two-day state championship featuring schools from throughout the state, just like normal, at Hans Petersen Field May 21-22.

By 11:30 a.m. on the morning of the first day of competition the Outlaws had already struck gold as Ethan Hosang wrapped up his high school career with a come-from-behind victory in the 3,000 meters; he lowered his own school record to 8:44.39, but needed every inch of the track to secure the win.

Patrick Clayburn of North Valley made a strong move in the final 600 meters to gap both Hosang and Will Thorsett and appeared to be on his way to victory, but Hosang somehow found another gear and caught Clayburn in the home stretch to win by 0.6 second.

Thorsett, also a senior, set the early pace in the race, improving on his best time to finish third in 8:52.87.

The top-three order mimicked the state cross-country meet finish back on April 10.

On Saturday, Thorsett picked up another third place in the 1,500, with a personal record of 4:08.48.

Fellow senior Hayden Sharp ran a season best in the 400 to finish second in 51.88 and placed fifth in the high jump at 5 feet, 8 inches. He and Thorsett led the boys team in scoring with 12 points apiece.

Sam May, another senior, battled to third place in the 800 meters in which 0.3 separated the second to fourth place. He finished in 2:00.83.

Other state competitors included Collin Fischer in the pole vault and Taine Martin in the high jump. Neither cleared the opening height in their event.

The boys team finished in fifth place, one spot shy of a trophy, with 40 points. Hidden Valley won the team title at 77 points followed by Newport (52), Henley (47), and Philomath (46.5).

The Outlaws girls had some stellar performances as well.

Pearl Gregg, who played a lacrosse game Thursday afternoon, arrived at the meet ready to compete, and ran the third-best time in school history on her way to fourth place in the girls 3,000, where she finished fourth in 10:48.28, a personal best by a whopping 38 seconds.

The senior came back Saturday with another stellar effort, finishing third in the 1,500 in 5:03.49, an eight-second improvement. Gregg’s 11 individual points led the girls team.

“Not too bad for a first season in track,” smiled Distance Coach Sarah Thorsett. “Pearl had a great meet.”

Junior Hollie Lewis had a busy meet competing in three events. She picked up an individual fourth-place medal in the long jump, leaping 16 feet 8.5 inches. Lewis, a junior, got on the podium again with her 4x400 relay team which included freshmen Ila Reid, Lilly Sundstrom, and Gracie Vohs, which finished fourth in 4:17.87.

The same team had struggled earlier in the meet in the 4x100 relay where they finished 11th in 54.04.

Vohs came through with a personal best of 9 feet to place fifth in the pole vault to join her teammate Shelby Larson on the podium, who placed third at 9 feet 6 inches, matching her mark and place from the meet in 2019 as a sophomore.

Anya Shockley placed fifth in the girls high jump at 5 feet even to earn a medal. She finished 11th in the long jump with a mark of 15 feet 1.75 inches.

As a team, the Outlaws placed sixth to tie with Mazama High School. Hidden Valley won with 82 points, Siuslaw finished second (50), LaGrande third (47), and Cascade fourth (43).

Head Coach Jeff Larson came away from the meet satisfied, saying “Just to have the opportunity to compete was a victory and our kids really competed well, especially for all of our seniors, which will be sorely missed.”

He continued, “I found the team’s performances to be remarkable given the short six-week season.”


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