Tracksters battle rugged weather


Last updated 4/19/2022 at Noon

Weather played a significant role in the way the Outlaws track and field teams experienced a busy week that included competing in two high-quality invitationals in winter-like conditions.

After being largely forced indoors for practice during last week’s snowfall, the team traveled over the snowy pass to the Philomath Invitational on Thursday, April 14, to go up against seven other teams, including some of the best in the 4A classification.

According to coaches, many of the team fell short of their best efforts at the meet under conditions that included gusty wind, hail, and plenty of rain.

“Overall we were a little flat at Philomath for some reason,” said head coach Cailen McNair. “But we did have some bright spots.”

Gracie Vohs picked up three second-place finishes, including the high jump (4 feet, 8 inches), pole vault (8 feet), and her first open 400 meters of the season (1:03.28). Hollie Lewis finished second in the 100 hurdles (18.41) and ran on the second-place 400-meter relay with Nevaeh McAfee, Ila Reid, and Lilly Sundstrom (54.45). Ella Bartlett ran a personal best in a very close 1,500, where she finished second in 5:20.25, just behind the winner.

Delaney McAfee ran a personal best in the 400 meters, where she finished fourth in 1:04.79.

For the boys Taine Martin equaled his season-best in the pole vault (11 feet) to place second as the lone Outlaw to place among the top three in an event. The young team did manage some personal bests along the way, however.

Some of the personal records included Hayden Roth in the 1,500 (4:34.21), Kaleb Briggs in the 3,000 (10:14.21), John Berg in the 400 (58:05) and 300 hurdles (49.86).

Saturday’s Summit Invitational nearly succumbed to the weather, as snow blanketed the track facility in the morning, forcing a two-hour delay in the meet. Some teams opted to head home as the weather continued to be a challenge for the entire day with snow showers and temperatures in the 30s.

The Outlaws stuck it out and came up with some solid performances according to the coaching staff.

Distance coach Sarah Thorsett said her crew had one goal for the day: “The objective for each of them was to really compete, which resulted in them taking risks and trying different tactics, which resulted in personal bests and more confidence.”

Ella Bartlett lopped 48 seconds off of her 3,000 time to place fourth in 11:26.59, while Hayden Roth lowered his best by a chunk as well to 9:53.72. Cole Jervis (4:46.74) and Erik Ryan (4:56.85) both hit a PR in the 1,500, and Kaleb Briggs (2:12.22), John Berg (2:19.29) and Colton Middlestetter (2:24.74) all established personal bests in the 800 meters.

Katie Wardsworth, the throwing coach, said, “The SHS throwers had such a successful weekend. It takes a strong athlete to compete in the conditions we had. Each of the throwers competed with such grit and heart and this meet allowed us to develop our growth and maturity.”

Two of the girls came away with lifetime bests despite the cold and slippery conditions.

Mackenzie French established her personal bests in both the discus (68 feet, 11 inches) and the javelin (62 feet, 2 inches), Lizzie McCrystal in the javelin (65 feet, 8 inches).

Dennis Dempsey said that the hurdlers and high jumpers under his tutelage continue to improve through their hard work. “The weather this week and at the meets was a real challenge, but I remain excited to see how their hard work will pay off for them when it comes time for Districts in four weeks,” he said.

The high jumpers had a hard time with the conditions at Summit as Hollie Lewis did not make height, while Taine Martin and Spencer Tisdel performed well below their best.

Lewis did, however, run a personal record in the 100 hurdles (18.35), and Carson Brown had a huge improvement in the 300 hurdles (47.44).

Martin was able to clear 11 feet in the pole vault, matching his best, and Tisdel flew to a big personal best in the triple jump with a mark of 35 feet, 8 inches.

The sprinting squad continues to gain experience and is showing improvement according to McNair.

Styopa Myagkov (28.52) and Kiara Martin (31.47) both ran personal bests in the 200 meters, and Nevaeh McAfee cracked the 14-second barrier in the 100 meters with a time of 13.84.She joined Ila Reid, Lilly Sundstrom, and Hollie Lewis in a season best in the 4 x 100 meter relay (53.90).

The Outlaws face another two-meet week as they are scheduled to compete at Crook County, along with Culver and Redmond, on Wednesday, April 20, followed by some of the team traveling to Cascade High School on Saturday, April 23, for the Meet of Champions, which features qualified athletes from the 1A/2A/3A/4A ranks.


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